Marjorie is a food blogger, recipe developer, coffee lover, newbie food photographer and mom who lost 55 pounds with clean eating and Weight Watchers. Her mission is to make healthy eating enjoyable! She blogs at A Pinch of Healthy and today she’s here, sharing some of her ideas with us! Enjoy!
When people make an effort to eat healthier, many will come at it from the mindset of deprivation or suffering. They approach healthy eating as something that you need a lot of will power for. We have all hear phrases like “no pain, no gain.”
Well, I come from a different school of thought: I think that will power is SO overrated. *cue the collective gasps*
Why? Because “will power” implies suffering and misery. And not many can stay in that mindset for extended periods of time.
My approach to healthy eating makes enjoyment a priority and is all about taking baby steps to improve your food choices.
I am all about finding foods that are tasty and enjoyable…but also happen to be healthy too. In fact this is the foundation of my entire blog. I love taking tasty recipes and making tweaks to make them healthier (<-my specialty).
Today I am offering a few tips for you to eat a little healthier, while still enjoying your food.
1. Build your eating habits on the foundation of real (minimally processed) foods.
You usually cannot go wrong with “real” foods: whole grains, high quality meats, healthy oils, nuts, seeds, eggs, vegetable and fruits.
Look at the foods you eat, and identify the things that are highly processed. Then switch them out for something that is a little more wholesome. Some examples:
- Oatmeal, smoothies or eggs for breakfast instead of cold cereal or
- Whole wheat flour instead of white flour.
- A side salad or fresh fruit instead of chips.
This is not to say don’t ever eat cold cereal, white flour or chips. Just set your default mode of operation to whole foods. You want to seek out those nutritional bargains – i.e., those foods that are rich in vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber, etc…but lower in calories. And whole foods are where it’s at, y’all!
2. Avoid artificial ingredients.
I am not militant about this, but I do try to avoid artificial sweeteners, high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated fats, etc. I am not one who thinks you will spontaneously combust if you eat any of these things. But if there is a better alternative (and there usually is), I will avoid these things.
I try to go organic and local as much as possible too. I am nowhere near perfect with this! And budget, availability and practicality play a huge role. But I upgrade our food as much as possible.
I go to farmers’ markets in the spring and summer because they have lots of yummy local produce. And even Costco and WalMart are starting to carry more organic options, which can make eating organic more affordable and convenient.
3. Eat ALL the veggies.
This is somewhat covered in #1, but veggies are of specific importance because most of us do not eat enough of them.
There are SO many different styles of eating: vegetarian, Paleo, vegan, low carb, gluten free, etc. And yet I cannot think of one single style of eating that is anti-veggie. (<-Don’t you just love when we can all agree on things?!)
Vegetables are nutritional powerhouses and they give you tons of nutrition for very little caloric impact. So go crazy with the veggies y’all, especially the green ones!
Cram as many fresh vegetables in as you can possibly imagine. Try to eat them at every meal. Even breakfast! Smoothies are a great way to sneak in a serving of greens, and you can also add veggies to an egg scramble.
4.Strive for progress, not perfection. And break the rules occasionally.
I feel pretty good about my family’s eating habits. We eat pretty healthy 90% of the time. So I don’t feel bad about eating Reese’s cups at Halloween or letting my son have take-out pizza and birthday cake at a birthday party.
Life is ultimately about enjoyment, not about being perfect. So in my mind, I think you should (1) set good habits to operate from most of the time and (2) break all the rules occasionally.