"You don't have to cook fancy or complicated, just good food from fresh ingredients" Julia Childs
Eating fresh, whole foods is one of the most important health habits you can do for yourself and your family. Incorporating locally raised meats, veggies and fruits really is worth your time, money and energy when it comes to living a healthy life. What if your eating habits are, well, lacking? You can still make positive adjustments that will lead to healthy eating habits and healthier you.
How you ask? The easy answer is to keep your changes simple and time relevant. Not that making changes is easy-peasy. In fact, many people often do the exact opposite of making it easy. They often make elaborate plans full of actions that take way more time than they have.
Additionally, people will plan foods into their life that they actually do not like. While it is fun to broaden our horizons; it is also best to set yourself up for successfully adding healthy, new habits into life by knowing what you like and enjoying it.
So let’s explain with just a little more detail why keeping your changes simple and time relevant will help. You still have a job, kiddos, meetings, animals, etc to contend with and that means food prep cannot take too much of your energy or you will not stick with it. If you suddenly start planning meals that will take an hour to prep and more time to cook, you might be able to stick with it for a day or two, or maybe on the weekends, but what happens when you get home late from work and the kids need to be at practice in a half an hour? You need quick and easy without sacrificing healthy. We have a saying here at Park County Chiropractic, go slow to go fast, and that applies to making changes to your eating habits as much as anything else.
Here a few go slow to go fast tips:
A little planning will go a long way, yet planning for a whole weeks’ worth of meals might be a bit overwhelming. Instead think about planning ahead one to two days at a time. That gives you time to make sure you have more than mac and cheese on hand without adding a whole new skill set called meal planning. Too much change all at once will lead you down a difficult to stay on path. Plan enough to ensure success.
Look at the recipes and foods that you already like and know how to make. Can you make any of these dishes without changing them? Can you slightly alter them to be healthier without much trouble like removing added sugar or add fresh ___ instead of canned? Then make those 'know how' meals for your first few weeks. If your dinners are familiar and comforting, they’ll help keep you on track. Simple is good.
*I remember one of my favorite meals when I stared making healthy changes was spaghetti. So instead of just pouring spaghetti sauce over pasta, I started to add fresh carrot, zucchini, onion, and garlic (all veggies I like) chunks to the mix. In hindsight it is not the healthiest meal compared to how I eat now; it was the simple start to adding whole foods to my life that allowed me to stick with it. That was how I kick started an improvement to my life time health journey. Simple is good.
Make a few larger meals that you can use for 'grab and go' breakfasts, lunches or a ‘got home late’ dinner over the next few days. This can be as simple as making two roast chickens instead of one on chicken night. You can add the extra chicken diced to a big salad or steam some broccoli as a side dish when you are in a hurry. Quick, easy, healthy.
Plan to be social! Look at the menus at your favorite restaurants and pre-plan what you want to order that fits your healthy eating plan. In today’s world, all you have to do is look up a restaurant’s menu online to see what is available. A few moments of planning will help you stay on track without missing all the fun. Going out with your family and friends for a meal is important to a healthy social life.
*I love a good burger so I generally ask the server if I can get a salad or steamed veggies on the side instead of not so healthy chips or fries. I found out that I actually much prefer those foods. I also noticed that I feel more energized with my friends. Eating out made simple and healthy.
Lastly, now is not the time to go crazy with new flavors or elaborate recipes. Variety might be the spice of life yet it can be what derails your healthy changes. For the first few weeks, set yourself up for success by sticking with meats, veggies, fruits and other flavors you and your family already like. After three or four weeks of getting comfortable with some simple modifications and additions, then pick one healthy, fresh new food, herb, spice, or recipe to try out. Enjoy the experiment when you are ready to go there.
Remember go slow to go fast by keeping your healthy changes simple enough to fit into your wonderfully busy life. Once you feel comfortable with these changes, be ready to take the next step in your health journey. Eat well, Enjoy your health!