Using the affirmation of striving for better, not perfect, I challenge you to better your health one habit change at a time. Eating habits can be hard to change after having them ingrained in us from a very young age. However, taste and habits can absolutely be changed. Foods you never imagined eating can become your favorites with repeated, slow exposure. All it takes is mindfulness and a will to be better. I’ve come up with a list of 10 habit changes and invite you to pick just one to start. Try it for a week or a month, as long as you can, and see where you end up. Once you’ve conquered one, you can move on to another. Small steps are an easy and effective way to successfully eliminate unhealthy habits.
- Use fruit to satisfy sweet cravings. If you are a regular dessert eater, try eating fruit (with no added sugar) as your dessert instead. Being a “sweet eater” is actually a habit developed over time, is not out of one’s control, and is something that can be changed over time.
- Set aside some time to prep vegetables so that they are always easily accessible. Chop carrots, celery, cucumbers, peppers, and more so they are ready to eat when you need a snack. You can also roast vegetables ahead of time so that they are available to throw on a salad or in a bowl. Don’t let time and energy be an excuse for not eating plenty of veggies.
- Eliminate late night snacks. Late night hunger usually has more to do with being tired and less to do with being hungry. Avoid issues in the night like stomach pains and acid reflux by skipping the late night snack. I find that brushing my teeth is a good way to tell my brain and gut that I’m done eating for the day.
- Drink more water. Sometimes it can be hard to differentiate between thirst and hunger. Try drinking a glass of water every time you feel hungry. A lot of times, the water will satisfy that hunger.
- Commit to meal planning. Planning meals can eliminate stress and impulse eating. I find that I eat more vegetables when I have a plan to do so. You can use our blank meal planner to get started on your own plan or you can sign up for our newsletter to receive our filled out meal plans when we have them to share.
- Pick one meal a week to use vegetables in a way you wouldn’t normally. Maybe it’s eating a burger on salad greens instead of a bun. Maybe you try marinara over cauliflower or spaghetti squash “noodles” instead of pasta. It can be really fun to get creative and try new things. Let me know if you want more ideas on this one.
- Cut out sugary drinks and/or added sugar in drinks. There was a time when my coffee had more cream and sugar than actual coffee, and now I prefer black coffee. Lattes used to be a treat, but I no longer enjoy them. Drop those sodas and fruit juices. It might be hard at first, but you can get to a point where you don’t miss them, I promise.
- Aim for every meal to be 1/2 vegetables. That means half your total portion of food is veggies for each meal, including breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This is one of the bigger goals, but a great one. Being mindful of the MyPlate concept is helpful.
- Choose the healthier option when eating out. Be mindful of your choices when eating out and opt for the healthiest option on the menu. Additionally, avoid places that don’t have adequate healthy options or places that will be too tempting to choose unhealthy options.
- Try swapping a balanced smoothie (with lots of veggies) for your usual breakfast. Starting my day with a fruit and vegetable smoothie is the best, and I aim for more veggies than fruit. They may not taste the greatest at first, especially if you are used to a lot of added sugar, but they will grow on you and leave you feeling great.
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