If you are reading this chances are you might be struggling with being motivated to eat healthy. I get it, we are over a year into this pandemic where pants and bras have been optional with all of the lockdown’s and everything being online. It’s easy to fall into a funk or hit up your fridge more often than you would like working from home for so long.
Whatever it is you are struggling with, this article will guide you through ten ways to get motivated and inspired to start eating healthier in a way that works for you. The idea is that you begin to create a lifestyle that works for you long-term not a quick fix.
- Start by Setting Small, Attainable Goals for Yourself.
Start with one thing that you are struggling the most with or would like to change first. It could be packing or prepping healthy lunches, or snacks.
Do you need to set aside more time for cooking or meal prep?
Do you need to do a kitchen makeover? Clear out the junk and make space for the new fresh foods?
One thing that works well if you are a night time snacker is to prep ahead for healthier evening snacks. It can be easier to eat well during the day and then snack all that progress away at nighttime, being prepared helps so much.
Write out your goals and get excited and inspired to put them into action. The action part is key.
AIM FOR CONSISTENCY OVER PERFECTION.
You don’t have to set these massive goals that can seem daunting or unattainable, start small and be consistent.
- Plan Ahead.
It doesn’t sound sexy but it does ensure that you are prepared, which makes it so much easier to stick with healthy eating.
Plan out meals and snacks. Create your shopping list (you can even order from home by placing an online order this can save you time). Then pick up your fresh, healthy foods.
Schedule in time to cook so meals are ready to go. If you know you have a busy day plan simple meals or ones that can be prepped ahead like black bean burgers or spinach and feta turkey burgers.
You can meal prep some hard boiled eggs, cooked quinoa, roasted veggies, prep your veggies, or pick a meal or two to fill your fridge from simple meals.
This is what my typical week looks like:
Breakfast – smoothies, oatmeal bowls, protein pancakes, fritattas, or sweet potato toast with eggs and avocado.
Lunch – soups (prep one batch for lunches each Sunday), bowls, salads, leftovers
Dinner – Stir-fry’s, casseroles, stuffed squash, winter bowls, sweet potato pizza, healthy burgers and all things Curry.
Snacks – Chia seed crackers, crisps, homemade balls, bars, cups, nuts, seeds, fruit, veggies and hummus.
MAKE COOKING FUN SO YOU ACTUALLY WANT TO DO IT.
Grab your favourite apron, put on some tunes or listen to your favourite podcast and get cooking. Remember this is a non-negotiable meeting with yourself to invest in your health.
- Make it Easy.
If you don’t like to chop and prep buy already done for you veggies like kale slaw, broccoli slaw, frozen cauliflower rice, frozen cubed butter nut squash, spiralized zucchini, beets and sweet potato.
You can pre-prep foods to make it convenient too – make smoothie bags for easy breakfasts, bagged freezer meals or crockpot meals for busy days.
KEEP IT SIMPLE. Simplicity is key for sticking with it. How can you make this work for you?
4. Make a List of Healthy Foods You Love.
Writing them down is a reminder that healthy eating can be enjoyable and delicious.
It can be really tasty and fun if you want it to be. If there are healthy foods you don’t like, don’t eat them. Focus on what you love. If you love green beans see how you can add them into your menu for an easy snack or side.
I also love to do this with healthy dinner recipes. If you have a big list and keep adding to it, that can really help to plan meals and avoid food ruts.
5. Learn to Cook or Make Time to Cook, Prep & Nourish.
Homemade meals and snacks often have less sugar, salt, and unhealthy fats or processed ingredients. I know cooking can seem like a chore with everyone home, how can you make it fun. Can you get the kids involved with making homemade snacks?
If you find that your kitchen skills are lacking get inspired to learn how to cook with a fun-loving beginners mindset. Cooking your own food is really important because that way you know exactly what is in your food and you are making it readily available.
Try a cooking workshop or follow a free recipe online. There are SO many free resources on the internet. If that feels over whelming buy a cookbook that looks fun for you. If you can make it less daunting you are more likely to jump in.
Here is my easy to use, nutritious Cookbook you can check out and see if it’s a great fit for you.
6. Educate Yourself on Nutrition.
Nothing helps motivate more than understanding why eating healthy is so important.
If you understand that benefits of leafy greens, or that peppers are loaded with vitamin C, you might be more inclined to add them in. There are loads of free resources like podcasts, books, IG influencers (check their motivation and back ground), naturopath’s, dietitian’s, nutritionists etc.
Check out my latest podcast where I was interviewed by Conor Collin’s we chatted all about food choices and sharing ways that you can be inspired to create a healthy lifestyle that works for you.
Start to read food labels and ingredients list.
This is almost another full blog post but look at serving sizes and portions on the label.
Check out total grams of sugar and sodium – aiming for a lower number.
Check out grams of fibre and vitamins and minerals – aim for higher = more nutrient dense.
Does the food contain a healthy amount of fats, carbs and protein (macronutrients)?
Check out what’s in the food on the ingredients list. The longer the list typically means more processed or filler ingredients. Know what is in your food.
Add in more real whole foods these are foods that don’t have an ingredients list like grapes and cucumbers.
7. Do it with a Friend or Family Member.
Don’t get me wrong you are doing this for you, and you should be your own biggest cheerleader but support from others can go a long way when it comes to creating habit changes.
Get motivated to do it with a friend, your partner or do it for your kids. You are their greatest role model.
Having a partner in this journey can help with support, accountability and you can help keep each other on track. You can also cook and meal prep together to make it more fun. Sharing strategies together can keep you motivated.
If you don’t have anyone to do it with how can you get INSPIRED to do it for you?
If you are in a food rut look up some new fun, easy recipes. Check out my blog or cookbook, I am a big fan of easy meals that taste great. Pinterest or other favourite cookbooks or blog are another few sources of healthy eating inspiration.
Maybe you do need the accountability perhaps working with a health coach or nutritionist might be a great way to kick start your journey, ask yourself what do you need to make this change or new goal a reality?
8. Focus on Adding in the Good instead of Avoiding the Bad.
Look at all of the amazing things that you get to have, instead of thinking of all the foods that you can’t have. I typically never use the words good and bad when it comes to food because it really is neutral. Society has placed labels and emotions on certain foods. Focus on adding in more of what you want is a much healthier mindset when it comes to eating well. Add in more of what you want (what makes you feel really good). Really and truly you can have whatever you want, but how does the foods you eat make you feel?
Find foods like high fibre veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, lean protein, healthy fats like avocado, and essential omega 3 fatty acids like walnuts, chia and hemp seeds.
Think about eating to fuel your body, have energy, absorb nutrients, antioxidants, fibre, macronutrients. All of these things fuel the trillion cells that make up your body.
The goal is to eat healthy MOST OF THE TIME.
You do not need to eat perfect, begin to listen to your body. If you eat something and don’t feel good, omit it. If you overeat, learn to tune into hunger and fullness cues more. If you eat on the run practice mindful eating. If you tend to over eat at night you might not be eating enough during the day. When you look at patterns you can dial in what needs to be changed, or adjusted.
If it’s family pizza night, and you are craving pizza enjoy a slice or two of pizza guilt-free. If they want pizza and you are not feeling it you always have a choice to make something that you do want. I often do this, I always listen to what my body needs that day.
One great tip before digging in is to ask what is the intention of eating that food? Are you craving it? or did you have a crummy day and you are filling the void with food? If the intention is to fill the void ask what other ways can you self-soothe or cope without turning to food.
Keep your mindset positive when thinking about food, fuelling your body and really eating from a place of self-love.
9. Find a Healthier Alternative for Your Favourite Foods and Snacks.
This one is fairly simple and I already talked about it above but consider what is your unhealthiest meals, snacks or foods. How can you find a delicious alternative?
Aim to cut down on high sugar or processed sugary sweets. When you consume sugar your body releases dopamine which is a feel good neurotransmitter. The effect sugar has on dopamine and dopamine receptors can make it addictive and why it’s hard to to eliminate sugar from your diet. If you want more information on this topic or to see some low sugar meal plans and recipes check out my Sugar Detox Cookbook . If you have purchased this book and love it I would so appreciate a Google or Amazon review. It really helps other people know what the book is all about. https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B086PK11D7?pf_rd_r=S168V0EFAVV43A9N4HBT&pf_rd_p=05326fd5-c43e-4948-99b1-a65b129fdd73&pd_rd_r=9a6b7
Do you love ice cream but dairy gives you gas? try homemade nice cream or avocado mousse or a chocolate or berry smoothie bowl.
Love chips but hate waking up puffy? Try roasted chickpeas or chia seed crackers with hummus.
It’s totally ok to indulge in moderation, but if it’s a slippery slope for you maybe challenge yourself to avoid triggering foods for 14-21 days to set a new healthy habit.
10. Have a Positive Mindset – One unhealthy meal won’t ruin your progress unhealthy thoughts can do a lot more damage. If you do eat unhealthy or “fall off track” one bad meal won’t ruin your health goals. The thing that is more toxic is the “all or nothing” mindset of “well I already ate this so I might as well eat all of the things and start Monday”. Know that each meal is a fresh start or a clean slate to eat the way that you want to. Be prepared for when you do eat something that is not healthy, how can you enjoy it like really enjoy it and move on?
Remember that the goal is to eat healthy most of the time. AIM FOR CONSISTENCY OVER PERFECTION.
Bonus: Let go of all emotions around food. Food does not (or should not) cause shame, guilt, or any negative emotion. If food leads to negative emotions for you, investigate and get to the root of those feelings. It can help to work with a specialist, therapist or coach.
If you found this article helpful I would love to know what you think in the comment below. If you have a great tip that I missed I would love it if you could share in the comments too.
If you know someone who would love this article or information I would love it if you would share it with them.
In love and light,