Scratching your head when it comes to healthy eating? I’ve been there! There is no shortage of information available and sadly most of it is ill written and inaccurate. I want to share with you a few things to keep in mind as you begin this journey.
What a healthy lifestyle is NOT: A diet. A diet in its true sense of the word is simply ‘how you eat.’ Once you make that slight shift in your mind, it makes things a tad easier.
I am a FIRM believer in leading a lifestyle of moderation, not deprivation. Leading a healthy lifestyle is NOT boring and doesn’t mean you’ll never eat your favorite foods again. Who wants to live like that? Not me! My philosophy? Eat well 80% of the time and enjoy your treats 20% of the time.
While there is no one sized fits all approach, if you focus on eating WHOLE foods (i.e. not prepackaged crap) you’ll do great no matter which path you choose.
Some people benefit from the HFLC (High Fat Low Carb) approach while others follow the Paleo, Vegan or by simply ‘eating clean.’ It’s up to YOU to find what works for your body type and what you can sustain long term.
My personal style is what I refer to as clean eating with the 80/20 rule. Meaning, I eat well 80% of the time and I never deprive myself. If I want a cookie, I eat a freaking cookie.
Here a few tips to help you get started:
- Stick to the outer ring of the grocery store
- Anything Reduced/Low/Free is BAD. It’s filled with chemical junk. Eat the real thing, in the proper portion
- Easy on the dairy
- Avoid prepackaged items
- Rule of thumb: If it can go bad, it’s good for you. If it can last on shelf forever, it’s bad for you
- Buy fresh, whole foods
- Fresh over Frozen and Frozen over canned.
- Look for nitrate and antibiotic free, organic lunch meats (and grass-fed meats if your budget allows)
- If you buy packaged items the ingredient list should be SHORT and pronounceable
- If sugar is listed as one of the first 5 ingredients, put it back
- Meal planning/prep will save you $$ and time throughout your week
- Buying in bulk and portioning yourself will save money (meat, veggies, spices, nuts, oats, beans, lentils, other items in the bulk bins)
- Water is your best friend. Drink it. A lot of it. It’s free.
- Ditch the sodas and juice
- Track your intake. My personal favorite (free) app is MyFitnesspal. It’s great way to gauge your caloric and macro-nutrient intake. If you’re trying to lose weight, you HAVE to know what you’re consuming so you know how much to expend in order to lose.
- Skip the fried and battered foods
- Stick to whole grains
- Condiments should be served on the side for dipping
- READ THOSE LABELS before you buy anything
**Remember, if you’re doing a complete overhaul, start small. Baby steps are best. If you try to go all out it’s NOT going to be easy or sustainable.**