I get a lot of questions on where to start with eating healthy. With the plethora of information out there, sometimes it becomes so overwhelming it just seems easier to do nothing. I’m going to try to help you drown out some of that noise and make it simple.
It can be hard to start eating healthy, it definitely doesn’t help that everyday there are new articles about how something is bad for you that someone else said was good for you, for example, the article just published by the American Heart Association on how coconut oil is bad for you – but guess what? It’s not!
The point is, there IS a lot of information out there BUT not all of it’s backed up by science, learning to sort through the crap is half of the battle.
I experimented with all kinds of diets before I found what worked for me, I was the kind of person who read an article about how juicing is good for you and without hesitation I switched to juicing. I was constantly dieting, losing and gaining weight, and starting over again every Monday. Nothing was sustainable until I realized that I needed to change the way I looked at food.
Ultimately, the goal is to change your relationship with food, allowing yourself to gain control over food instead of food controlling you.
Start simple. You don’t have to have it all together to start. If you make just one switch today, you’re one step closer to your goal!
Where do I start?
The easiest way to improve your fitness, drop weight, increase energy and improve your overall health is to start cutting processed foods from your diet. You can easily identify processed foods by reading the ingredients. If the item has a long list of ingredients or things you can’t pronounce, it’s probably processed. A few examples of ingredients in processed foods are high-fructose corn syrup, Artificial Colors, Artificial flavors, Aspartame, and Monosodium Glutamate (MSG).
This does not need to be a super strict “diet”, again, you want something that’s sustainable so start making those small changes. Also, if you completely bomb breakfast and eat 3 donuts and wash it down with some chocolate milk, that’s ok! Don’t wait until Monday to start again, your next snack or meal is your opportunity to make a better choice to nourish your body and feel better.
Finally, plan ahead. Planning is a huge part of being successful in changing your eating habits. Bring healthy snacks and keep your stomach full of nutrient dense foods. If you find yourself in a situation that you need food and didn’t plan ahead, make the best choice possible and plan better next time.
What should the majority of my diet consist of?
Eating single ingredient foods like vegetables, fruit, meats, fish, nuts and seeds, healthy grains like rice and quinoa, and legumes, if your body tolerates them (you can find this out by doing an elimination diet or doing a test like Creating Balanced Health). Your meals should ideally contain a high quality protein (like meat), a little bit of high quality fat (avocado, nuts), and a large variety of vegetables or fruit. It doesn’t have to be boring either, there are so many recipes out there that are fun AND healthy. I’ll link a few below.
At the grocery store: Stay on the perimeter, buying items in the aisles should be limited. Also, do not go to the grocery store hungry and make sure you stick to your shopping list. Finally, don’t buy “no brake foods”. No brake foods are those foods that you can’t seem to stop eating once you start.
At home: Clean out your pantry/fridge/freezer. Having junk food in the house makes it harder to stay on track. If someone in your household has junk food, put it in containers that aren’t clear and put it towards the back of the pantry. Having it out of sight helps.
At work: Bring high quality snacks to work that contain protein. The protein will help you stay full and help resist all the junk food around the office.
Hopefully this gives you a good place to start!