I’ve created this post because I feel that so many people believe it’s difficult and expensive to eat healthy. I can tell you from experience – it is exactly the opposite. You can eat healthier by making some very minor changes to the way you eat throughout each day. Here are a few that you can start doing right away:
Pack More Fiber into Your Day
Fiber is the number one most important change you can make. A higher fiber diet can help decrease your chances of having colon and other cancers. Fiber also keeps you fuller longer so you don’t need to eat so much to feel satisfied.
- Whole Wheat Breads, Pastas, and Brown Rice are great sources of fiber. Switch over all of your white rice and white breads to a healthier whole grain or whole wheat option. Just make sure to check the label and make sure it has plenty of fiber.
- Beans are an essential part of anyone’s diet and are packed full of fiber. Try adding black beans to your recipes at home – they add a great texture and flavor to many dishes.
- Popcorn! Try switching over your favorite snack to some air popped popcorn. Feel free to add a touch of salt for some added flavor.
Cut out Sugar
I’m not saying to cut out all sugar because that would just be plain awful! Just cut out unnecessary sugar that you won’t miss in a few weeks time. Some sugars to cut out immediately are:
- Dips and Condiments – ketchup, barbecue sauce, mustard, ranch, etc. Substitute smashed avocado or add tomato to satiate your need for a texture change along with adding that yummy sweetness.
- Soda Pop and Sugary Drinks – juice, energy drinks, hand crafted espresso drinks, soda pop, and sweet tea. Start by switching to a flavored bubbly water that has no sugar in it – my favorite is La Croix. You can also simply add fruit to water and let is steep in your refrigerator overnight to have a delicious and healthy beverage the next day.
- Limit Fruit – obviously don’t cut out all fruit because it is a healthy food and should be a part of your daily regimen. You just don’t need to start your day with a huge bowl of fruit or a large banana. Instead, try starting with a piece of toast with hummus, spinach, and a fried egg (fried in olive oil) on top. If you have to have fruit for breakfast, try adding fresh blueberries and almonds to a cup of oatmeal. These options will keep you fuller longer too!
Make Smarter Meal Choices
Only have time to stop at your favorite fast food place for lunch or dinner? No problem!
- Look for the healthy menu options. Every fast food, fast casual, or casual dining establishment offers healthier options and they are usually marked as such.
- Substitute a whole wheat bun or brown rice when possible
- Ask to omit the condiments and add avocado instead
- Request the sauce on the side and don’t use all of it.
- Skip the dips. Avoid dipping your foods in dips or condiments such as barbecue sauce, ranch, or ketchup. These are packed full of unnecessary sugars.
- Go for grilled instead of fried.
Cook at Home When Possible
Cooking at home doesn’t have to be expensive or time consuming. You can find some awesome recipes that require very few ingredients and very little time but result in delicious and healthful meals for the whole family. Consider purchasing a healthy cookbook, like the The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook, to avoid the guess work. Check out some of my favorite easy recipes here.
- Stock up on staples. Some staples I always keep in my house are eggs, milk, shredded cheese, whole wheat bread, whole wheat tortillas, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, onions, chopped garlic, black beans, canned crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, ground turkey, frozen chicken, frozen corn, and frozen broccoli. You can make a million things with just those ingredients and a pantry of seasonings that you love.
- Invest in Seasonings. You can make just about anything taste amazing with the right seasonings. You’ll be more successful with cooking at home if you season everything well. Some of my favorites are salt, pepper, paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, cumin, marjoram, and Italian seasoning. My favorite is the Kamenstein 20-Jar Revolving Spice Tower with Free Spice Refills for 5 Years – they give you FREE refills for 5 years!
- Get yourself a slow cooker or Instant Pot. Cooking with a slow cooker or Instant Pot is the biggest time saver and can actually make cooking very enjoyable! It makes cooking healthy meals a snap and will let you try things you wouldn’t normally cook.
- Find and experiment with slow cooker recipes. I just love the “set it and forget it” recipes. You can start dinner before work or just a few hours before dinner time and have an amazingly delicious and healthy meal with leftovers for the next day! One of my favorite sites for slow cooker recipes can be found here.
- Obtain a Good Set of Pots and Pans. Having the right tools will help you feel more confident about cooking at home and will make clean up so much easier. I recommend getting non-stick that can also be washed in the dishwasher.
- Consider Signing Up For A Grocery and Recipe Subscription – Companies like Home Chef offer a service that will deliver healthful ingredients that can be thrown together in about 30 minutes to allow you to eat healthier. If you’re looking for a service that is known for organic and sustainable ingredients, try Sun Basket. For an affordable service that offers unique and fun recipes and flavors, try Blue Apron.
Use an Online Grocery Shopping Service / Make a List and Stick to it
One of the biggest mistakes I found I was making was all the impulse buying when I went grocery shopping. I would end up with a ton of snacks, sweets, and random ingredients I couldn’t use. Not to mention I would way overspend.
- Try an online grocery shopping service. Try as many free trials as you can. Most online grocery shopping services offer a free trial when you sign up. Try as many different services as you can to decide which one you like. My favorite is Instacart which offers many local stores in your area.
- Make a list and stick to it. Before you go to the store, plan out all of your meals for the week and write down every ingredient you’ll need. It helps to start this list about 3 days before you go so you don’t forget anything. Once you go shopping, don’t stray from your list! This will help you avoid all of those unnecessary, albeit delicious, snacks and treats.
Don’t Deprive Yourself
This is one of the most important aspects of making a lifestyle change. Don’t deprive yourself of the things that you want! If you do, you will most likely end up forgoing these changes all together because they may feel too difficult.
- Everything in moderation. Do you want ice cream? Chocolate? White bread? Go for it! Just have a little bit and don’t go overboard.
- Make sure you splurge a little every day. You deserve a reward so keep some yummy treats in the house that are around 150 calories such as ice cream, chocolate, kettle corn, ginger snaps, etc. This will help you stay on track and make you feel great at the end of the day.
If you can commit yourself to making just a few of these changes, you will almost certainly start to feel better and possibly lose pounds within a few weeks.
Looking for more information on leading a healthier lifestyle? Check out my book, now available on Amazon: Whole And Happy Living: Simple Steps To Improve Mind, Body and Relationships
Good luck and Happy Eating!
Disclaimer: This post is the opinion of the author. Always speak to your doctor before beginning any exercise plan or changes to your lifestyle. The information provided in this post is for entertainment purposes only and is not intended to provide medical, legal, or other professional advice. Read and/or use any of the information from this post at your own risk. Some or all of the links displayed on this site may be affiliate links.