By: Kelly Atyeo, B.A.Sc., M.H.Sc., P.H.Ec.
Eating healthy is an important goal for many people and for good reason too! Some benefits of eating healthy include improved energy levels, lower risk of certain diseases and conditions, boosting the immune system to prevent illness and improving mental health. Sounds good right?
Yet, many people find eating healthy to be a struggle. Almost like an unwanted task that they know they should do … but they don’t necessarily want to do.
Here are 5 eating slips that you should avoid to get you on the healthy eating track:
Frame of Mind
The power of your mind is HUGE when it comes to eating healthy. If you view healthy food and eating healthy as something you “have to do” or “you’re supposed to do” then it’s going to feel like a chore. Instead, change your perspective. Think of eating healthy and selecting healthier options as being choices that you WANT to make to contribute to your overall health and wellness. That doesn’t mean that every meal needs to include kale and broccoli – and that you can’t have a slice of cake now and then, but try to make conscious choices to include healthy options at most of your meals. Think about the foods you eat as being more than just delicious but also important vessels of fuel that supply energy and nutrients to keep your body strong! Most importantly, recognize that healthy can taste AMAZING.
Chicken is a great place to start. Not only is chicken the start of many family favourite recipes it’s packed with nutrition! Check out this Chicken and Barley Jambalaya…delicious and offering 72g of protein, 11 g of fibre, Vitamin C, B12 and B6:
Start Your Day Off Right
You’ve heard it before – breakfast is the most important meal of the day. In fact there is merit to this. Starting your day off with a breakfast that contains healthy foods helps to set the tone for how you will eat throughout the day. Research shows that people who skip breakfast are more likely to overeat and make poor food choices throughout the day.1 So – focus on a breakfast that contains a balance of protein, carbohydrates and fibre to keep you full until lunchtime.
Here’s a great grab and go option that will leave you with no excuse to skip this important meal:
Love your Lunch!
Some people take their lunch break outside of the office, some take it in a cafeteria and others go home. If you work 5 days a week, try your best to make 4 of those lunches a bagged lunch that you either bring to work or cook at home. There are many reasons why eating out at lunchtime can impact your “healthy eating” goal. This includes coworkers wanting to go to a specific restaurant that might not have many healthy options or your place of work being only close to fast food. It might also be that you end up eating larger portions when you eat out than you would if you packed your own lunch.
So – try to make healthy lunch choices using leftovers from the night before. Here’s an awesome chicken sandwich recipe that is perfect to take to the office:
Try to Slow Down Your Meals
Whether it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner, try to not rush your eating experiences. You want to ensure that you’re eating mindfully and being aware of the food that you’re eating, determining whether you’re feeling satisfied or still hungry. You should eat mindfully at every meal, however – typically breakfast and lunch tend to be quick meals, so try to not rush dinner. If you have some busy weeknights, make recipes that involve little prep so that you can spend more time enjoying the healthy food that you’ve prepared.
The below stir-fry recipe is a great option for a weeknight meal that can be made in under 30 minutes:
Avoid Feeling Guilty
Eating healthy is a lifestyle change that isn’t defined by one meal or even two…or even 100! It’s about making choices to improve your eating habits that will help improve your health for the long-term. If you have an evening out with friends and splurge on a rich meal – that’s okay! The key to get back on track is think about healthy eating as something that’s important to your life.
Zeratsky, K. (2015). Does eating a healthy breakfast help control weight? Retrieved March 30, 2016, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/expert-answers/food-and-nutrition/faq-20058449