Healthy eating is an overlong and unclear pursuit for many. A switch from your previously unmoderated diet to a “healthy” one may seem daunting, at first. You will find that switching from familiar flavors to incorporating foreign flavors and textures into your diet is not easy. Moreover, the options available to you may seem limited at first, and it might feel too overwhelming for you to form a habit of keeping track of your calories. But here’s the thing - you are not expected to fall in love with your new lifestyle instantly. But should be convinced of your motivations for getting on this journey, in the first place. Thereafter, you can do very many adjustments to your meals to stay motivated and make your transformation an enjoyable one.
A healthy diet gets a bad rep for being boring and flavorless - the biggest misconception there is. Sure, no one can suddenly conjure a variety of veggies that taste like meat or salads that taste like Spaghetti Bolognese. But, there are many proven ways to add flavor, crunch, spice and so much more to your food. To make healthy eating a permanent addition to your lifestyle, you must trust that it will take time to build up this habit from the ground up.
A healthy diet begins at the store. Research has shown that supermarkets and grocery stores are deliberately arranged in a scheme that steers you towards impulse buying. They rely on visual and auditory tactics to make you purchase more than you require. Avoid stocking up on junk and instead opt for a conscious shopping strategy. It is advised to have a list of whatever you need written down and stick to it completely. No matter how enticing that sale looks - you should not sway! The goal is to completely transform your refrigerator and pantries at home. You have to make your environment work for you, which means that you should aim to replace junk in the kitchen with healthier alternatives.
Plan your meals in great detail
Planning is the first step to achieving. Keeping yourself motivated and reminding yourself that your body is benefitting from eating healthy will help you stick to your health plan. Write down your goals and stick them somewhere you can regularly see them. You can put up such affirmations in and around the kitchen or the dining area of your house. This way you will not forget about them, especially in the initial days, and it will also act as a deterrent against unwanted junking out cravings.
Track your health progress (only if you want to)
Another effective step that you can implement in your routine is to keep track of your progress. Calculate how many calories you need in a day to reach your goal - down to the protein if you want! You could also keep tabs on your weight changes (if you're trying to lose or gain weight). Remember that progress is not immediate, and it takes time for the numbers to reflect the same.
Conversely, you should stay away from calorie counting and weighing yourself if you feel that it will affect you in an unhealthy manner. We do not proclaim this to be a necessary addition to your new lifestyle. The most crucial is the realization that you are finally comfortable and looking forward to every meal of your new diet.
Substitute your favorite dishes for healthier alternatives
Is your favorite meal not conventionally healthy? Are you not ready to leave it behind? In that case, you can easily substitute the unhealthy version of your favorite meal with a healthier alternative! Eating healthy does not always translate to force-eating things that you do not relish. You can easily opt for healthier versions of your favorite junk food without compromising its taste. For example, instead of the regular fast-food burger, try a homemade burger with whole wheat burger buns, fresh leafy green vegetables, and a lean meat patty. Or, if opting for a pizza, try to load it with veggies and cut back on the extra cheese.
The quickest way to find tastier and healthier dietary options is to keep searching! Experiment with different types of vegetables and grains, especially healthier ones. Who knows, maybe you have a natural liking for something that you have not even tried yet! And you do not need to limit your experimentation to newer ingredients. You could test different combinations of veggies in sandwiches and stews, or try to bake or boil things that one would usually fry or grill. Scour through online recipes and cookbooks to look for inspiration. Develop an inkling for ingredients and explore various ways to include them in your meals.
Correct your meal proportions
In your endeavor of eating healthy, do not forget to include all types of foods. Contrary to popular belief, carbs and fats are not your enemies - you need them in optimal amounts to maintain good overall health. Yes, cutting back on them does help you keep a check on your weight, but you need all food groups in appropriate amounts to lead a healthy lifestyle.
To achieve this, you could prepare healthy bowl dishes. Include meat or meat substitutes for protein, whole grains, and a good amount of fresh fruits and vegetables with some fat in the form of butter, oils, or sauces and dressings. Another excellent way of adding healthy fats to your diet is by incorporating mono or unsaturated fat food items such as hummus, peanut butter, almonds, walnuts, or pine nuts to add volume to your meals. Make sure that your plate of food always has ample amounts of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals.
Add flavor to your recipes
A quick way to jazz up your meals is to include a wide range of nourishing spices in the recipe. Cuisines like Mexican, Indian, Chinese, and Thai make great use of spices to add flavor to dishes that are also very healthy. You could follow recipes from any of these cuisines to spice up your meals, or you may create your combinations and methods through trial and error. Moreover, spices such as turmeric, pepper, cinnamon, and ginger have many health benefits.
Another way you can add flavor to your meals, especially for soups and salads, is by creating mixtures of your dressings and condiments with ingredients like vinegar, lemon juice, and even soy sauce.
A food guide to help you stay committed
Healthy eating needs guidance. You will need a second opinion from another person or the internet. You have to confirm the right ingredients, check optimal cooking temperatures for the recipe, or look up alternative recipe suggestions. However, not everyone is acquainted with an expert to guide you on your healthy eating journey. Neither is Google’s first-page search results always the most reliable. But, a Private Chef who acts as your personal diet coach, may be just what you need. The unique value of such a chef is that it is user-specific and can offer numerous options catering to an individual's food preferences. Simplifying everyday eating is just one of its benefits, but being able to take complete charge of your health goals by maximizing the potential of such an automated chef, will set you up for success.
Using these suggestions, you can gradually get accustomed to a stable and healthier lifestyle. Of course, diet is only one part of it - ample physical exercise and good mental health form integral parts of it too. However, if you do follow the above-mentioned suggestions, you will develop an innate habit of recognizing foods that are bad for you. Not only will you then naturally substitute them for healthier options but also have all the tricks up your sleeves to make these healthy alternatives taste exquisite. Your meals will never be bland or boring ever again.