People tell me all the time, “I want to eat healthy, but I have to figure out how to start eating healthy first. And I feel so lost”. Although I am not an “expert” at nutrition, I have spent years figuring out how to start eating healthy. After my vast food allergy diagnosis, I had to take out a BUNCH of foods that I normally ate regularly. Many of the options I had were healthy, raw, and vegan/ vegetarian. It was about this time that I started experimenting with how to start eating healthy. It took a while for me to really figure it out, but eventually I was eating healthy without even realizing it! These are my tips to help you discover how to start eating healthy!
The first tip to help you in how to start eating healthy is to shop healthy. Cooking healthy can only happen when you stock your kitchen with healthy foods. So, make sure that you go shopping for healthy foods. Go around the perimeter of the store first. This should be the majority of your shopping. This is where you will find whole grains, natural foods, healthy produce, dairy, etc. Then you can go into the inside of the store for a minor part of your shopping with pastas, herbs, nut butters, cereals, and bars.
Eat Produce at Snack Time
When I started my journey into fitness and personal training, one of the most important habits I had to change was my snacking. Snacking doesn’t necessarily have to be bad. But, what we eat during this time does matter. Do you eat healthy snacks? Or do you forego healthy snacks for a quick fix? When you are trying to learn how to start eating healthy, change your snacking habits! Let produce be the BASE of your snacks. This helps you get in your daily servings of fruits and veggies, but it also helps with calorie consumption. You can add healthy fats such as cheese, yogurt, and nut butters, as well as whole grains (toast, crackers, half a bagel) in as well. But focus on the produce first. Pair your fruits and veggies with other healthy foods and your snacking will help you reach your health goals.
Drink Water as Your Main Drink
This is common advice, and it’s crucial for two reasons. The first is that it’s necessary to hydrate, even if we don’t feel like. The second reason is that drinks other than water usually are high in calories and sugars. These calories can add up quickly when we’re not paying attention. Drink water and keep water with you throughout the day. A general rule is to drink half of your body weight (in ounces) of water each day. This is a great tip when learning how to start eating healthy because sometimes you eat when what you really need is water. Drinking more water can also help you feel full and ditch excess sugar you are consuming!
Examine Your Portion Sizes
When you learn how to start eating healthy, you realize that portion size matters! Portion sizes can be one of the simplest tricks to eating healthy. I say this because most Americans don’t realize that they eat more than one serving size at a time. You don’t have to skip out on the carbs or the meat in your diet, but you can probably cut down. You’ll still get your fill, but you’ll be eating a healthy amount of calories. This will help you not to overeat, which is one of the main culprits of weight gain in our culture!
Don’t Starve Yourself
Although it’s not good to overeat, starving yourself isn’t the best way to start eating healthy either! Starving yourself can actually harm your metabolism, by causing it to go into survival mode. When I learned that food is my friend, I learned how to start eating healthy in a way that was practical. Eating healthy does not mean starving, because your body naturally needs food and nutrition. If you’re eating for weight loss, you will have to learn how to start eating healthy in a way that fuels your body, but also cuts down on calories. If you are eating for muscle gain, or body maintenance, you will have to learn how to balance your ratios of food.
When you are learning how to start eating healthy, you’ll learn that the quality of your food is really important. If all you are eating is junk, it’s not going to be a positive impact. Nutrition is learning how to start eating healthy by mixing the right kinds of foods, with the right amounts. Learn to consume naturally healthy foods. Produce, dairy, and whole grains will be your biggest friend. Your body will appreciate these healthy foods over a low-fat, reduced calorie processed diet!
Allow Wiggle Room
This may not be the most scientific advice, but I think it’s very important to have a balanced lifestyle. When you’re figuring out how to start eating healthy, you may be tempted to eat salad 24/7. But honestly, who wants that much salad?! Trust me, I DO NOT. And, I know from experience with my clients, that most of the time, going cold turkey is not going to create lasting health habits. So, you want to figure out how to start eating healthy? Follow the 80/20 rule! Eat whole, natural, nutritious, healthy foods 80 percent of the time. Then, allow treats 20 percent of the time. This is a reasonable goal that won’t leave you deprived, and will also motivate you to eat healthy.
If you’re on the path to figure out how to start eating healthy, look at these tips and decide which ones you can immediately implement. Then, you can build up to all 7 over time. Learning how to eat healthy is a process. You won’t be perfect-no one is, and you will have to learn what works for you. But, making small, manageable changes will lead you to a healthier lifestyle over time!
I would love to hear your thoughts on this blog post in the comments below. What do you think of these tips? Will these help you figure out how to start eating healthy?