Today I am sharing a few of the most important (in my opinion) habits you can have when trying to achieve a balanced diet. Eating a balanced diet doesn't have to be insanely hard, but sometimes finding balance feels like looking for a mystical creature. Don't complicate things! What do I mean by balance? I mean feeling good, eating mostly high nutrient foods, and enjoying treats you love on occasion. No dieting and no cutting out whole food groups!
Here are 8 simple tips. In order to not get overwhelmed, adopt one at a time!
Listen to your body. This is number one for a reason! Eating mindfully is SO important when it comes to having a healthy relationship with food. Don’t eat just because it’s a certain time of day or because you’re bored or sad or whatever else. Intuitive eating helps you to not overeat. Before you hit the pantry ask yourself… am I hungry? Do I really want this? How will I feel after I eat this? You never want to associate feelings of guilt or sadness with food! If you do, then just let it go. Beating yourself up over having something tasty will get you nowhere! As you are eating, breathe and listen to when your body is feeling full.
Stay hydrated. If you’ve ever heard that your brain can confuse thirst for hunger, it’s true! Make sure you are drinking lots of water so your body stays hydrated and you can rely on your hunger cues.
No extremes. I never recommend that my clients cut out whole food groups. If you are allergic, that is one thing, but otherwise- in my opinion- nothing should be “off limits”. Yes there are things that you’ll eat very sparingly if you’re trying to improve your health, but I think saying you “can’t have” something makes it more tempting and messes with your head!
Plan ahead. Healthy food won’t magically appear in your fridge. Trust me, I’ve tried. It takes planning in advance to have a kitchen stocked with healthy and delicious food. Figure out what you like/want to make, then hit the grocery store with a LIST! (check out the link at the bottom of this page if you need some tips, or you just want my simple menu + grocery list).
Healthy snacks. You know the time will come that you’re in a pinch and need something quick! Make sure you have a healthy snack on hand that you can throw in your bag when you are on the go.
Have a back-up plan. If you do end up being out and about and need to stop for food at the last minute, have a few places in mind that you can go for a healthy-ish meal. I love a deli sandwich from Sprouts, a burrito bowl from Chipotle, or even Chick-Fil-A if a drive thru is necessary.
Protein + Fats= full for hours. I hate the feeling of eating and being hungry an hour later. To avoid this, I make sure I have a high fat/protein breakfast. I like protein pancakes with peanut butter and chia seeds or eggs with avocado, and for an on the go option I’ll do a protein shake with PB…. I definitely don’t follow a “low carb” diet per se, but I always make sure to get plenty of fats and protein.
Just say no to meal plans. I know it's tempting to say "JUST TELL ME WHAT TO EAT", but you are an adult and you deserve to make your own choices when it comes to your food! Just like above, being told you can't have something if it's not on your meal plan makes you want it more!! Yes, I offer a healthy menu on my site (get it here), but I make it very clear that you can substitute and mix and match for your lifestyle. I will never tell anyone what to eat and when to eat it. You are the expert on your own body and your own life.