I don’t know about you, but I am a Trader Joes LOVER! I should probably look into buying stock with them as I am there at least once a week if not twice. Are you thinking, “why is Ilyse there so much? Does she have a crush on the frozen food section guy?” NOOOO…I am there a lot because I choose to eat a healthy diet!
About two weeks ago, I had a funny experience at Trader Joes. I was in the checkout line with my usual cart full of veggies like asparagus, spinach, broccoli, romaine lettuce, red pepper, tomatoes; some fishes like salmon and cod; chicken, steel cut oatmeal, Ezekiel bread, fruit, raw nuts, eggs, green tea and some other healthy items when a guy approached me in line and said, “Excuse me, are you planning on living a long life?” I, of course laughed and said, “Yes, as a matter of fact I am!” The clerk and the guy both agreed I would, by my groceries. I am sharing this story with you for two reasons: 1) it was funny and cute 2) it made me feel great for someone else to recognize that I choose to eat healthy and hopefully this motivated him to do the same.
I am asked on a daily basis (not exaggerating), what do I eat and how do I stick to a healthy diet? I love questions like these. If I can inspire and motivate you to start a healthy journey, stick with it, then you will feel great and look amazing!
Healthy eating is not about strict nutrition philosophies, staying unrealistically thin, or depriving yourself of the foods you love. Rather, it’s about feeling great, having more energy, and keeping yourself as healthy as possible– all of which can be achieved by learning some nutrition basics and using them in a way that works for you. It is actually quite simple!
We must first learn how to “eat smart!” If you learn the habits of healthy eating this will boost your energy, sharpen your memory and stabilize your mood. I listed several tips below that I use daily and work for me. Please feel free to try these out and share them with your friends and family! I would love to hear how you progress. Please comment below.
1) Set Yourself Up To Be A Winner!
Winning and success go hand in hand. To achieve this, try planning a healthy diet as a number of small, manageable steps rather than one big drastic change. If you approach the changes gradually and with commitment, you will have a healthy diet sooner than you think. Personally, I plan out my week of eating. I have been getting in the habit of cooking a bunch of foods at once and then storing them in the fridge for the week. As most of you know, I am on the go constantly, so small containers of food already prepared are super easy to throw in my bag every morning when I leave my place.
2. Simplify! Try shifting your focus with being overly concerned with counting calories or measuring portion sizes, to thinking about your diet in terms of color, variety, and freshness. I promise you will find yourself making healthier choices and it will be easier. Focus on finding foods you love and easy recipes that incorporate a few fresh ingredients. Gradually, your diet will become healthier and more delicious. I love looking at my fridge and seeing all the colorful veggies. It makes me laugh!
Start slow and make changes to your eating habits over time. Trying to make your diet healthy overnight isn’t realistic or smart. Changing everything at once usually leads to cheating or giving up on your new eating plan. It is like riding a bike for the first time. You will fall the first couple of times, but as you slowly keep riding you will grasp it. Take baby steps, like adding a salad (full of different color vegetables) to your diet once a day or switching from butter to olive oil when cooking. As your small changes become habit, you can continue to add more healthy choices to your diet.
Every change you make to improve your diet matters. You don’t have to be perfect and you don’t have to completely eliminate foods you enjoy to have a healthy diet. The long term goal is to feel good and have more energy. Trust me, we all love to splurge once in awhile and that is ok as long as you do not go over board.
3. Moderation is key!
You need a balance of carbohydrates, protein, fat, fiber, vitamins, and minerals to sustain a healthy body. Try not to think of certain foods as “off-limits.” When you ban certain foods or food groups, it is natural to want those foods more, and then feel like a failure if you give in to temptation. If you are drawn towards sweet, salty, or unhealthy foods, start by reducing portion sizes and not eating them as often. Later you may find yourself craving them less or thinking of them as only occasional indulgences. Trust me, I love my jelly bellies and chocolate covered peanut butter pretzels. The more I stick with my healthy clean diet, the less that I crave them. Then, when I do indulge in my favorite sweets, I have a couple and I am completely satisfied.
Think smaller portions. Recently, restaurant portions have gotten extremely larger. I love splitting dishes with friends. When I order a salad which are usually huge, I ask them to package half up and bring me the rest. This way it is brought to you already split so you are not tempted to overeat. Then you have another meal for the next day. I am also a huge Mexican food lover. I am the girl who loves guacamole and chips that when my meal comes to the table I am too full to eat it. So instead, I sometimes ask for fresh cut up veggies to dip into my guacamole instead of the chips. So yummy! Lastly, if you think smaller, you can eat more throughout the day. Small meals every 2-3 hours is the best way to live!
4. Fill up on colorful fruits and veggies, healthy carbs, and protein
Try to eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables every day and with every meal—the brighter the better. Colorful, deeply colored fruits and vegetables contain higher concentrations of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants—and different colors provide different benefits, so eat a variety. Aim for a minimum of five portions each day. Practice what you preach, because I know you all make sure your kids eat their veggies. Fruits and veggies are also so easy to throw in your purses and brief cases for the day.
Healthy carbs (sometimes known as good carbs) include whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables. Healthy carbs are digested slowly, helping you feel full longer and keeping blood sugar and insulin levels stable. I love a small portion of steel cut oatmeal in the morning! It gives me a ton of energy…sometimes too much.
Try different types of protein. Whether or not you are a vegetarian, trying different protein sources will open up new options for healthy mealtimes.
Some protein options: Black beans, navy beans, garbanzos, and lentils are good options.
Also, almonds, walnuts, pistachios, and pecans are great choices. I am not a fan of soy, but if you are then try tofu, soy milk, tempeh, and veggie burgers for a change.
Please try to avoid salted or sugary nuts and refried beans. Some of my favorite sources of protein are fresh fish, chicken, turkey, eggs, and steak.
HAPPY GROCERY SHOPPING! Feel free to ask me anything below…
Hope you found this helpful. Thanks for reading!