As a prospective dietitian and college student, nutrition is something incredibly important to me; however, DO NOT get me wrong, I am not perfect. I have always been interested in living healthy but only in the last two years have I made it a real priority.
I have noticed that though changing your health habit, like any habit, can be gruesome and tiring, I quickly became accustomed to a new way of life. This does not mean I am healthy 24/7 but I do practice moderation. I have come up with some of my own best tricks to the food side of health. I encourage you to find what works for you by setting goals you wish to achieve!
1. Being healthy is a lifestyle
First thing is first, health cannot change overnight. Health is about much more than simply eating salad every day. Health is physical, emotional, and psychological, all tied together. I care about my health, not because I want to look like someone else, but because I want to feel and look MY best. I’ve found that being healthy stems from having a healthy outlook, where your emotional and physical health truly influence one another.
2. Surround yourself with healthy options
If you go grocery shopping, stay on the outskirts of the store, where the foods are raw and fresh. Make a list before going to the store to prevent buying items that you do not actually need. If you are really serious and cook your own food, Sunday’s are a great day to food prep for the entire week. Also, eat something before going shopping to ensure that you are buying with your mind and not with your stomach. This can also mean, eat with people who are also interested in healthy options. It is much easier to maintain your goals when you have a friend doing the same.
3. Don’t deprive yourself
Being healthy is most certainly not skipping meals or depriving your body of the nutrients it needs to keep up with you and your busy schedule! Also, now that food is such a social aspect of our society, if all of your friends are going out to eat, definitely go. If you really want a scoop of ice cream, enjoy it! Try to regulate desserts and more “unhealthy” foods to only a couple of times a week. For myself, I monitor my dessert intake to 1-2 times a week and of course special occasions! I find that nighttime cravings of desserts can often be cured with a banana and peanut butter. This is one of the most misunderstood hacks to eat healthier; it’s okay to have cheat days!
4. Make it a mindset
The first step in changing your lifestyle is wanting to! Nobody else can force health on you. Now that you want to, commit to it! Once your mind is healthier, every choice that you make will be without any intention. You’ll notice that you hardly ever take an elevator instead of the stairs or eat white carbs instead of whole grains.
5. Portion Control
When eating any foods don’t forget to check out the nutritional information before accidentally eating 2-3 servings in one sitting. Especially when enjoying less nutritious foods, try to make it a priority to eat the intended serving. A great way to do this would be putting your food into a bowl or on a plate and closing the packaging up and putting it away in the pantry. Once you figure out this is one of the most important hacks to eat healthier, you’ll start feeling the difference once you follow through.
6. Taste the rainbow
Fill your plate with fruits and vegetables of all shapes and sizes! Try new foods whenever you can. Many vitamins and minerals come from colorful foods.
7. Eat breakfast
Everyone always says this but it is the best way to refuel your body after resting (you still burn calories in your sleep!) I find it best to wake up and drink 2 large glasses of water and eat breakfast soon after. You’ll notice that you are much more energized and willing to participate in your day, rather than simply going through the motions.
8. Become educated
Do some research, take a class, and understand that just because a food item says “healthy” on the wrapper does not mean it actually is. You will be amazed with how much you didn’t know before. This is one of the most important hacks to eat healthier. If you don’t know what you’re eating, you can’t expect progress.
If you keep a food diary, not only will you snack less (because you will write down EVERYTHING that you consume) but nobody wants to write down that they ate three pieces of cake. Documenting will also give you a much better idea of how many calories you are consuming. Small snacking really adds up throughout the day and mixed dishes contain way more calories than you would expect. For tracking my food, I use the MyFitnessPal App. This is one of the easiest hacks to eat healthier!
10. Every day is a new day
TRY YOUR BEST! If you pig out at a girls night or have a bad week, start each day fresh. Getting down on yourself could lead you down a dark path with food. Instead, shake it off and remember your goal. This is not easy and it is not going to be; however, it is worth it when you are confident and feeling your best! Look good, feel good, BE GOOD!