Does this sound familiar? - You know what healthy eating is. You can follow what you feel is best for you for a day or a week. But inevitably, distractions and temptations creep in and make that eating pattern feel impossible to maintain.
There are a variety of factors that influence our food choices, so rest assured it’s not all your willpower. However, there are some tips that can help you remain undeterred from a healthy eating plan:
- Make a plan.
Healthy eating is all about balancing foods that are nutrient-rich with the not-as-healthy foods you love (for me ... donuts). (I know, this is easier said than done, right?)
Pro tip: have a plan.
I know, it seems like keeping a plan organized and easy-to-follow is just challenge on top of challenge. I used to feel the same way, until I found “Plan to Eat.” “Plan to Eat” is a program (with an app) that allows you to not only plan your weekly meals and snacks but also helps you to shop for groceries by creating your shopping list for you. Use the checklist of groceries as you walk the grocery store aisles; or for Instacart users, with one click, it all can be added to your Instacart cart. Another perk is having all the recipes available at your fingertips. Yes, load all those Pinterest recipes you’ve been saving for six years by simply copying + pasting the URL in. Or look through “Plan to Eat” recipes, drag and drop into the calendar, and voila – you have a plan! (With a grocery list and recipes all organized). You can even print the plans, lists and recipes like I do. This way, everyone in the house not only knows what’s on the menu but has all they need to jump in and get cooking!
- Start early.
Have you ever had 15 (maybe 100) things to do in your day and you feel overwhelmed just looking it? Where do you even begin? But then you get started, and one-by-one that list dwindles. Maybe you get tired towards the end of your list, but you think, “It’s only two more things … I’ve already done so much! What’s two more?”
All of this can occur in our health habits too. The first step can be the hardest, especially if we’re guilting ourselves about what we didn’t do the day before. We just need a win. Good news: once we have a win, however small, momentum begins to build. And when we have momentum, the habit is harder to break.
Pro tip: Start your day with a win. Maybe it’s drinking that first glass of water (Whoa! Now you’re on your way to your water goal for the day!). Or maybe it’s having bell peppers in your eggs (Great job! Already one vegetable in for the day and it’s not even 10 a.m.!) Once you get that first win, you’ll gain some momentum and can then be better positioned to have a day full of healthy food choices!
- Make the next one better.
You indulged and had the burger with fries instead of the salad that you told yourself you would eat. Don’t fret! Guilt - or the “stinking thinking” - keeps us focused on what we haven’t done and can detract from our belief that we can make healthy choices.
Pro tip: Don’t throw away the whole day because of one indulgent choice. Celebrate that you enjoyed something you love and then commit to making the next meal or snack better.