Eight tips on eating healthier
The jury’s in, and they say that eating healthier is the best way to live a longer, more fulfilling life. Great! Now what?
If you’re like the average American, you’re likely hooked on the Standard American Diet (SAD). We all know the recipe: hot dogs, pizza, soda, the works. With this as our food base, making the switch to a healthier diet may seem like a daunting task, to say the least. I started about a year ago, but went through some hurdles before I really changed the way I ate. I’m still not anywhere close to perfect, but looking back a year ago I’ve seen massive improvements in my diet, and have felt the benefits as well. Here are some basic tips I’ve gathered that make it easier for me to eat a healthier diet.
1: Cook for yourself
The most basic and beneficial thing I did for myself was to commit to making dinner every night. This was as much a health choice as a financial one. Before I made that switch, I’d always eat out and the price adds up!
2: Plan a food schedule and buy local
Once you get into a rhythm of cooking every night, you can start planning your meals and synchronizing it with your grocery shopping on the weekend. This will help you pay more attention to the food that you’re buying, and will also save lots of money in the end. Pay attention to what fruits and vegetables are in season in your local region, and find recipes that you’d like to try. Eating local is certainly the way to go, just ask these farmers.
3: Start with what you know
Don’t jump into crazy recipes and food that you’ve never heard of. If you’ve never made or drank a raw green smoothie it can seem a little off-putting. Sometimes it’s easier to stick to meals that you know and changing them to be healthier. For instance do you love macaroni and cheese? Consider swapping macaroni for quinoa noodles, butter for coconut oil, and adding some chickpeas to the dish or a side salad or steamed veggies. Start by enhancing what you already know and you’ll find a lot more enjoyment in eating healthier meals.
4: Learn easy recipes
One of the first things I learned to make for myself was oatmeal. I started here because I saw my friend eating it and so I started reading about it, and came to find out that oatmeal is really awesome for you! So I began with oatmeal packets and then slowly started to teach myself how to make it from scratch. Turns out it’s easy to learn the basics, but takes a lot of skill to make a truly delicious bowl (secret tip: maple syrup). It was an easy recipe that started me eating something better than I was eating, and I’ve found a recipe that continues to be delicious.
5: Find a partner
Eating better is always easier when you have someone who’s invested in it with you. Sharing time cooking and eating good, healthy meals can be a very bonding time and will make achieving your goals that much more enjoyable. Consider joining online groups and sharing your experiences with others and find recipes that you’d like to try.
6: Don’t be afraid to fail
Cooking something new is always scary. A big step in my life was learning to make myself oatmeal for breakfast. When I started I messed it up over and over again, but now after having tried it so much, I make a killer bowl of oatmeal. Just because you fail doesn’t mean it’s not doable; keep trying cause it most certainly is.
7: Try everything
I’ve had the pleasure of tasting cuisine from many corners of the world, and I’m still amazed at how good they all are. All of the world’s cultures have a cuisine that have been developed over generations, and we miss out on a lot of it with our standard modern diet. Not only are the world’s cuisines diverse and delicious, they’re all generally very good for you; try them and I guarantee you’ll find new delicious foods that you didn’t know existed.
8: Learn to love herbs and spices
The world of herbs and spices can be intimidating at first, but the fact is that their nutritional and health benefits are incredible. One of my favorites is cilantro, and the more I look around the more I can see uses for it. Best of all, herbs and spices that you know and love will make even first time dishes feel familiar.
It can be a daunting task to eat better, but probably the best lesson I’ve learned in doing it is that the food that’s the healthiest for you is generally the tastiest. It certainly makes eating better an enjoyable process.
What are some tips/techniques you use? Share in the comments!
As they say here in Quebec, “a votre santé!”
Written by Josh