Sticking to a healthy diet can be hard, no matter what kind of lifestyle you’re living. Of course, some situations can make it harder, or at least seem that way, but once you start taking the necessary baby steps to becoming a better version of yourself, you’ll feel healthier and love the life you lead in no time. And I’m here to help.
Below is a helpful list full of ways you can make sure you’re on the right track to maintaining a healthy, balanced diet.
1. No More Junk Food
There have been times where a pack of Oreos or a family sized bag of chips tempted me into eating the entire thing. It’s like I wanted them more because I knew that they were there. Self-discipline can be hard to master and hey, maybe you’re good at it and can fight off all temptations to splurge…but if you’re not and you’re still learning how to eat healthy and nourish your body with the right foods, then it is probably best to keep all junk food out of your kitchen. Or at least hidden by someone else in the mean time!
2. Keep Healthy Snacks Around You
An easy way or tool to stay on track is to keep healthy snacks on you at all times. Yes, I said it. At all times. If I’m in class or at work, I always make sure to bring my own snacks from home with me. It could be sliced apples with peanut butter, mixed berries, nuts, a granola or protein bar, or something that will keep me feeling full longer like a hard boiled egg. If you can get into the habit of doing this, then you’ll find it easier and easier to stay on track with your goals. Remember to keep it simple.
3. Healthy Substitutes
I know not everyone suffers from this, but having a big sweet tooth can get in the way of a lot of things. And if you really want to stick to a healthy diet, then you have to make some accommodations for it. For example, if I’m craving something really sweet, I usually turn to fruit or a small piece of dark chocolate. In small pieces, dark chocolate can actually be really good for you. One of my favorite fruits to munch on when my sweet tooth starts to kick in is frozen grapes. They’re perfectly sweet and the slight crunch the freezer adds to them after they sit in there for a little while is similar to candy.
4. Eat Before You Leave
This is probably the most simple sounding, but harder than you think. If you’re going somewhere and you know there’s going to be good food, try eating something before you go so that you’re not as tempted to eat whatever food it might be. For example, a school party. In my experience, school parties include a whole bunch of cookies, cake, pizza, soda, and other foods that can make it hard to stay on track. However, remember to not be too hard on yourself, but to be more mindful of the choices that you make.
5. Treat Yourself
This is my favorite tip. Let’s say you’re doing well on maintaining your new healthy lifestyle and your friends ask you out to dinner, to which you respond by saying yes. Order whatever you want! It’s okay to splurge every now and then. If there’s one thing I notice that a lot of people do, it is refer to their indulging or eating junk food as their “cheat meal” or “cheat day.” Instead, a nice way to put it would be to say treat meal because what exactly are you cheating your body of? As long as you’re eating healthy most of the time, there is absolutely no harm in indulging every once and a while.
6. Track Your Progress
It’s time for the fun part. Take photos of the meals and snacks that you make in order to track your progress of living a healthier lifestyle. You can even keep photos of delicious recipe ideas you saved for future reference while scrolling through Instagram. I do that alllll the time! It’s up to you to chose what you do with your photos. You can post them on your social media feed like Twitter or Instagram, your Snapchat or Instagram story, share them with your friends or family, or keep them all to yourself. I make a photo album for mine!
7. Try Prepping Meals In Advance
Meal prepping is great for people with busy schedules or those who simply just don’t feel like cooking for themselves one night. It’s not for everyone but it definitely helps a whole lot of people stay accountable and on track with their diets. If you know what you’re going to eat ahead of time and make the food beforehand, which means it is already stored, then you have to eat it! Meal prepping can only set you up for success if you allow it to.
8. Eat More Fiber
Fiber is key in any diet. It helps control blood sugar levels, reduces the risk of heart disease, lowers cholesterol levels and blood pressure, and most importantly aids in maintaining healthy digestion. Fiber can keep you feeling full for longer periods of time, so if you’re in a long meeting or class, pack snacks loaded with fiber to keep you feeling energized and full until you can eat a real meal. Examples snacks include avocados, chickpeas, oats, and pears.
9. Stay Active
Staying active and maintaining a healthy diet naturally go hand-in-hand. There are fun ways of staying active in your everyday life too! If you’re not the go to the gym to lift heavy weights or run on the treadmill type, then find other activities that will require you to keep it moving. Some examples are biking/indoor cycling, dancing, swimming, power walking, boxing, and so much more. Now those are big workouts, small ways of keeping active are important too. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, bike to work or over to your friends house, walk to the store, etc.
10. Remind Yourself What Motivated You
What is it that brought you to this point in your life of wanting to change for the better? You don’t have to remind yourself what motivated you everyday but do it often. Remind yourself why you want to become healthier in the first place. Without a motive, reaching the best version of yourself might be tricky.