3 Simple Strategies to Help You Eat Healthier
Ever wondered how some people just seem to make healthy eating look so seamless, easy, and enjoyable, while you feel like it’s a total uphill battle?
It's not that some people are just born with magical, leafy-green-loving taste buds and you aren't. It's something much deeper than that.
Before I became pregnant with my second daughter, I was feeling pretty lousy. I was trying to manage weekly migraines and a busy work schedule. I was suffering from chronic, cystic acne, and battling bloat and other unsettling gastro-intestinal issues.
With the idea of a potential pregnancy top of mind, I knew I had to make a shift. I knew something had to change. And something inside of me just knew it had to be my food choices, first and foremost.
At first, I fell into the same cycle most women do. Restricting, counting, and keeping tabs. But something just didn't sit right with me. Around the same time, I had began my spiritual journey and was working diligently on cultivating a heightened awareness around the quality of my thoughts.
And then it hit me, creating success in shifting what you eat isn't about dieting. It's about something much deeper.
The quality of your life in all facets - health, wealth, love, career - all boils down to the quality of your thoughts.
Once I realized this, and really started examining my thoughts, I was able to release many of those old chronic symptoms and get my body into a healthy (and pregnant) state!
Here are three tips to help you increase the quality of your thoughts to support you through a health & wellness shift! If you want to make a healthy shift in your eating habits and mindset try these three tips:
1. Think Swaps Instead of Strikes
Rather than just making a list of all the things you have to strike out of your diet, think about healthy swaps instead. Swap handfuls of M&M’s for a handful of berries. Trade processed deli meat for leftover grilled chicken. Switch chips and pretzels for raw nuts and seeds.
Take a look in your pantry and refrigerator and take note of the foods you currently have that aren’t supporting your health & wellness goals. Ask yourself if there is a fruit, veggie, nut, seed, legume, whole grain or lean protein that you’d like to swap it out for.
2. Eat the Rainbow
Plants contain compounds called phytonutrients which are known to be beneficial for human health. Phytonutrients give fruits and veggies their color. Different phytonutrients show up as different colors. Beta-carotene, which is needed for eye health, shows up as orange and is found in carrots. Resveratrol gives foods like grapes a dark purple hue and acts as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. You don’t need to eat a ton of these in one sitting to enjoy their benefits. Just a few bites here and there will add up. Try to make a list of fruits and veggies that fall under each of these colors:
Dark purple / blue / black
White / tan
*Once you’ve made your list do some quick research. Find out which phytonutrient is present in each food and what it does. This will compel you even more to eat those foods, and it’s super interesting!
Try to make it a point to eat the whole rainbow each week (bonus points of you eat it each day). Each time you eat a handful of a particular color, check off the box. Think of having a few boxes under each color, rather than just a single box, and try to check off every box under every color each week.
By the way, this is a fantastic activity to bring your kids in on. They love thinking of different foods to include in the rainbow. It’s a great way for them to become more engaged in grocery shopping and meal planning. If our daughter has all the boxes checked off by Friday she gets to invite a friend to spend the night. This is also a great way to teach kiddos about the difference between real, whole food and foods that have to be dyed in order to have color. As I always say, skittles don’t count for any of your color, but a fruit salad sure does!
3. Focus on Desired Feelings
How do you want to feel??? Vibrant, energetic, strong, healthy, glowy, balanced?? Write down your buzz words that describe how you want to feel. Then create a mental image of what that looks like. Maybe it's a picture of you bee-bopping around the grocery store in tennis shoes and a ponytail looking all radiant and happy. Whatever that image is, hold on to it. Let that image and your new buzzwords support your food choices.
Ask yourself, Will this food help me to feel (insert buzzwords here) and will it help me to one day be be-bopping around in my tennis shoes?
This is so much more fun than telling yourself you can’t eat something because you want to lose 20 pounds. And it’s not that it’s just more fun to think this way. Thinking in this way is what helps you to shift your mindset from diet to lifestyle.
So next time you find yourself in a conversation - internally or with someone else - around food, wellness, and lifestyle, think about all the things you can have and all the ways you’ll feel better mentally, emotionally, and physically. Change your mindset to change your lifestyle. Educate yourself. Take small steps. Hold yourself accountable. Stick to a vision. And go for it.