One thing I work on with 1-2-1 clients is how to make healthy eating easy. Coz if you can make things easy & simple, you’re more likely to do it and keep it going. It’s all about building habits for life. That takes time and effort, making changes that you do over & over until they become second nature.
Healthy eating is not as difficult as you think. It definitely doesn’t mean cutting out everything you love and living on salad!
Here are some tips for how to make it easier for yourself to eat well.
1 – Keep things simple
Forget all the complicated dieting rules – they’re unnecessary. Focus on the basics of good old fashioned healthy eating. Instead of looking at the whole of your diet and getting overwhelmed, just focus on making individual meals well balanced. Then the rest slots into place.
I’m not a big fan of rules, but I teach my clients something I call the ‘rule of 3’. It’s more of a structure to help you get balanced meals. The idea is to include 3 different types of food at each meal. Start with something starchy like bread or potatoes. Include some fruit or veg, whatever type you like. Then have something protein-rich like beans/pulses or meat or eggs. Or you could have something from the ‘dairy’ group like yoghurt or fortified soya milk. You can find out more about the food groups & the rule of 3 in my free ‘Healthy Eating Explained’ course.
So for example a bowl of pasta in tomato sauce could be made more balanced by chucking more veg in there plus something protein-rich like chicken or lentils. Your breakfast of cornflakes & milk is almost there, just chop up some banana or sprinkle with berries to get your 3 food groups.
By getting a variety of different foods at each meals, you feel more satisfied coz you’re getting the nutrients you need. Then you’re less likely to pick & snack between meals or have cravings.
2 – Ditch aiming for perfection!
Ideally you want to be eating more home-cooked meals from scratch. When you cook from scratch, you know what’s in it. Eating mostly wholefoods; more beans & pulses, more wholegrains, more fruit & veg, means you’re more likely to get more nutrients & fibre. When you reduce the processed convenience foods, you reduce all that added salt/fat/sugar… but let’s be realistic!
Healthy eating doesn’t have to be perfect ALL the time – make it easy for yourself.
It’s OK to have occasional ready meals if you’re tired or busy. Just think about how you can make it into a healthier meal. Maybe you could have a smaller portion than you normally do and bulk out your plate with extra veg/salad on the side?
Using those convenience foods, like readymade sauces, is not the end of the world if it means you’re less likely to call for a takeaway every time you feel too tired to cook from scratch! Yes a readymade sauce will have more added fat/sugar/salt compared to your homemade version, but you can make it healthier by making the sauce go further. Add more water and/or pack in extra bean/pulses, fruit & veg so each serving gets less of the sauce and more vitamins & minerals.
3 – Plan in advance
This is such a simple, but powerful tip that can make a big difference if you work it into your routine. Spend just a few minutes at the start of the week looking at what you’re doing and plan your meals, even if it’s just the evening meals. See what you have in the house, write a shopping list to make sure you have everything you need. Get the whole household involved; choose a meal each and take it in turns to cook – kids are more likely to eat it when they’ve been involved.
Look at when you have time to batch cook in advance ready for those days when you’re more busy. Every time you cook you could try to make enough so there’s always at least one portion to put in the fridge or freezer for another day. Look at how many servings you get out of a recipe and see if you can bulk it out with extra veg to get enough for leftovers. We always have stacks of leftovers in the freezer so we end up having leftovers for tea at least a couple of nights each week!
Remember you don’t have to have a cooked meal every evening. I give you permission to have light snack-type meals if it makes it easier for you. A tin of soup with some wholegrain bread on the side followed up with fruit & yoghurt is a well balanced meal. There’s nothing wrong with having beans on toast every now and then (unless you hate it!). Chuck a pizza in the oven then have a couple of slices with some veg/salad on the side. A sandwich can be made balanced, just think about your filling and getting those 3 food groups. Even a bowl of cereal can be a balanced meal if you chuck some fruit in as well as the milk – who says it’s just for breakfast!?
It’s all about finding what works for you & your lifestyle.
It starts with being aware of what you’re doing now, knowing what your regular daily habits are. Then you can think about where you could tweak things a little. What little changes could you make to make things a little healthier? You don’t have to change everything in one go and it doesn’t have to be perfect!
Just take it step by step and get in touch for more help.
Need help to ditch dieting forever? Want to eat normally again AND lose weight healthily ..? While still enjoying the cake & chocolate? Hell yes!
I can help you ditch dieting forever, either with my 1-2-1 support. Or if you prefer to work independently, you can learn all the skills I teach my 1-2-1 clients, on my ‘No More Diets’ online course.
My Weekly Round-up! AKA; what I’ve been up to recently…
- This week’s blog post has been powered by a second coffee – eek! Normally I only have one coffee first thing then 2 or 3 cups of tea during the day. I love a bit of caffeine, but that’s my personal limit, so I need to keep an eye on that coz 2 coffees regularly is a slippery slope to ending up over-doing it!
- Been keeping up the daily walks & mini work-outs after the school-run. I’ve added in a little hula hooping with my weighted hoop. Only been doing a few moves from an exercise class I used to go to. I don’t really have the space indoors to try any of the tricks I used to do – I don’t wanna risk knocking pictures or the TV off the wall!
- Bird nerd update – woohoo it’s been a good week for seeing birds! I’ve seen kingfishers TWICE and the second time there was actually a pair. I finally saw a woodpecker in a tree only a few metres away from me. Kept hearing them squeaking on loads of walks recently, but not spotted them. Also seen grey wagtails twice this week – so gorgeous with their bright yellow bellies. The first time I watched a pair of them dancing for ages over a field. One flew right by my head! At the weekend I watched a flock of goldcrests in a bush for ages. Or as my husband calls them; wrens with ‘go faster’ stripes on their heads (look up a picture of them and see what you think!). Today I saw a jay for the first time in AGES – another of my favourites and it was really close too.
- When we’re out walking I feel really sad seeing litter, especially close to the brook. So when I saw a plastic bag last week I ended up doing an impromptu litter-pick using a stick! Then at the weekend we remembered to take the litter pickers on one of our family walks. We filled a whole bin-bag. It seems relentless, but it makes me feel better to do it rather than just get cross at humanity…
- This time of year is good for seeing loads of mushrooms. Recently my husband’s got into mushroom-spotting & I took him on a Fungi Foray for his birthday last month. Normally I’m too busy with my head in the clouds looking for birds, but on Sunday I kept noticing interesting mushrooms. Including a PURPLE mushroom – how amazing is that?! My favourite colour!