Changing your diet, whether to lose weight or just live a healthier lifestyle, is hard to do. If you have decided to take on this very popular New Year’s resolutions this year, great job! The first step to a healthier life is making the decision to change your old habits and create new ones.
Many times caregivers must change their diet if they are caring for a loved one who is on a modified diet. When your loved one’s health is on the line, it makes sense to restrict what they can consume. You want them to have the ability to live the best life they possibly can, and you’re job is to make that possible. So, why is it so hard to use this logic on ourselves?
What we eat everyday has everything to do with how we sleep and how we feel each day. Life gets so hectic most of the time, it is just easy to pick something up on the go, or eat whatever the kids are having. You’re already juggling 100 balls, why add another to the mix?
The reason is, because YOU are important. And, YOU are a priority. How you feel affects every part of your life, including your family. At Springible we always say, you can only give the one you love the best care if you are your best self.
Resolutions don’t need to be an overhaul of life that happens the moment the year changes. They should be attainable goals that you can set up a realistic plan to achieve. And, you don’t have to achieve these goals in the first week. It’s important to be patient, consistent and easy on yourself.
It also helps to research for tips, tools and support to help you along the way. Remember, you’re not in this alone!
In that spirit—if you are trying to be more mindful about your diet this year—here are five easy ways to eat healthier.
- Prepare for the Day Ahead: One of the most common times that we make impulse decisions on what to eat is when we are very hungry and have tempting, or lack of, options. If you are guilty of this, it’s time to change your habits. Preparing a healthy, delicious meal the night before for lunch tomorrow will make you less likely to splurge on a grilled cheese or snack on a few fries. Even when you are at the end of your day and feel like you can’t tackle another task, push yourself and prepare for the next day. You’ll thank yourself tomorrow.
- Evolve Your Snacks: The time between meals can lead to some heavy calorie intake if you aren’t paying attention. Often times snacks include chips, crackers, and other carb heavy items. There are plenty of healthy options to swap out that are pre-packed into snack size portions like nuts or baby carrots. Yogurt or Larabars are also a great option if you need a mid-day sweet treat.
- Clean Up Your Coffee: If you’re like me, coffee is a daily essential. I look forward to drinking it each morning, and sometimes in the afternoon for that extra boost of energy needed to get through the day. Since coffee is so strong, it’s common to add sweeteners and creamer to make it the perfect blend of “good morning” needed to take on the day. The problem with that, the unneeded calories that all of those sweeteners and creamers add. If you are drinking coffee because you like the energy boost it provides you, maybe it’s time to strip it back to the basics. Try drinking your coffee black, or with a non-dairy alternative like almond milk. Save those calories for when you’ll really need them!
- Substitute to Keep Your Favorites Alive: One of the biggest bummers about changing your diet is saying goodbye to the foods you love. Dieting doesn’t have to be flavorless though. You can keep your favorite meals alive by substitution! Have you ever tried zoodles, spiralized pasta that taste perfect with a meaty spaghetti sauce? What about Greek yogurt or an avocado instead of mayonnaise? These small substitutions will provide tons of flavor with a fraction of the calories. Check out this article on some great substitution options to try.
- Make More of the Healthy Stuff: If you are the cook in your family, changing your diet and making healthier choices may mean cooking two meals for dinner. Let’s face it, kids can be picky eaters. It may not be super easy to convince an 8-year-old that cauliflower pizza crust tastes just like the real thing. If this is the case, make double the servings when you are cooking your dinner so you will have leftovers. When you lead a busy life and manage the lives of others, food can be your last priority. Take advantage of the time you do have when you are cooking a meal and set yourself up for success the next day. Healthy leftovers can save even the worst cravings.