30 Baby Steps to Better Health
Let’s be honest, changing the way you eat and essentially the way you live can be super intimidating! Don’t stress though. Healthy eating all starts with one simple better choice- one habit to improve. I’ve compiled tips that can help people in a variety of stages to improve their nutritional health. Start with one and build from there.
You’ve got this. Now go conquer!
1. If it’s not nutritious, get it out of your house! Why be so cruel and tempt yourself? Get thee hence (insert guilty pleasure here)!
2. Shop on the outer edges of the supermarket (produce, “dairy” and meat), avoid the center. The center of the grocery store contains a lot of well.. CRAP. It’s packaged, canned, processed, refined, etc.
3. Spend most of your grocery shopping in the produce section. I really do about 70% of my shopping here. It’s amazing how many awesome meals you can make out of veggies, grains and legumes!
4. Vary your vegetables. Be sure to cover the whole rainbow throughout the week. Don’t just fall for the yellows trap! Mix it up 🙂 Plus it looks prettier.
5. Try substituting veggies for noodles; for instance try putting spaghetti sauce over spinach, squash or zucchini instead of pasta.
6. Try one meat-less meal each week. This is a less overwhelming way of learning how to cook without meat.
7. Cut down on how much meat is in each meal. i.e. Use chopped, shredded, or sliced chicken instead of a whole breast per person. It will be cheaper and your body will thank you.
8. If eating meat, choose lean cuts of fish, chicken, ham and turkey. Lower your intake of red meat. Your energy levels will increase!
9. Avoid versions of meat like bacon, sausage, pepperoni, hot dogs, chicken nuggets, etc. They are so processed and made out of really gross stuff. Ew.. I don’t even like thinking about it.
10. Substitute nuts, beans or legumes in place of meat in your recipes. Garbanzo beans for ham in your stir-fry, black beans for your beef in tacos, pine nuts for your chicken in alfredo pasta, etc. It’s not as hard as you think!
11. Read labels! Focus on the ingredient list. If there are more than 3-5 ingredients, think twice. Avoid (like the plague) big paragraphs listing any ingredients that you have never heard of.
12. Avoid foods that are made with high-fructose corn syrup or hydrogenated oils.
13. Sautee your veggies in water instead of butter or oil, or better yet, steam them.
14. Choose only cold pressed oils because they are less processed.
15. Start using whole wheat for your bread, pancakes, pasta, etc.
16. Incorporate a variety of whole grains such as brown rice, oats, millet, wheat berries, quinoa, barley, etc.
17. Commit to always buying the healthier version of something; natural peanut butter, pure maple syrup, Greek yogurt, grass-fed products, coconut oil instead of vegetable oil, etc.
18. Avoid processed foods. They really have little to no nutritional value.
19. Find replacements for some of the dairy products that you enjoy (Almond milk, plant-milk based ice-cream, etc.)
20. Use nutritional yeast as butter on your popcorn, bread, etc. It can also act as substitute for cheese
21. Try making a healthy version of something that you would normally buy; pancakes, lasagna, pizza, granola bars, bread, tortillas, desserts, ice cream, etc. It’s fun and makes eating it that much more enjoyable.
22. Substitute pure honey, maple syrup, molasses, or agave nectar for refined sugar in your recipes. Avoid artificial sweeteners.
23. Pay attention to where your food comes from and how it is raised. Is it wild salmon or farm-raised? Don’t buy anything farm-raised or genetically modified.
24. Start an all-natural/organic approach. Organic is more expensive, so just start with a few items and move from there.
25. Try to eat only what is in season and buy locally. Most produce travels 1,500 miles before it gets to our grocery stores. That means that it’s picked extra early and mostly likely treated with chemicals to ripen, etc.
26. Stop by the grocery store instead of the drive-thru. Or at least choose something awesome like subway! Make it a game with your kids. What can we buy that we can make in 10 minutes that is not processed? Everyone can pick an item. Spaghetti only takes 10 minutes to make and would be a super better choice than a burger and fries.
27. Shoot of a 90/10 ratio. 90% of your diet is nutritious, 10% is not. Give yourself some room to celebrate birthdays with a special treat, etc. You can still have those treats once in a while.
28. Watch some informative movies/documentaries with your spouse and children to get them interested and on board.
29. Change your definition of success. Don’t measure by weight or inches lost. Measure it by how good you feel when you put nutritious things into your body. Each meal can be a success!
30. Absorb all the knowledge you can, so you can make the best decisions for your family. Everyone is different and has different needs. Study up!
I’d love to hear what steps you decide to start with! Leave me a comment and share the love with those who might need these healthy eating tips.