With the start of a new year, plenty of resolutions are made to lose weight and get healthier. I’ve been guilty of that too. But isn’t it so overwhelming?
You have information bombarding you left and right- eat this, take this supplement, get rid of all carbs… it just makes you want to pull your hair out!
But the way to start eating healthier is by taking small steps. Those tiny changes add up over time and you get better at making healthy choices.
So, where do you even begin? Here are six small, easy ways to start eating healthier that will hopefully help with good decisions later.
Note: I’m not a medical professional. Always consult your doctor about changing your diet if you have medical issues.
Add one extra fruit or vegetable per day
This may be easier than you think. Check your local grocery store’s ad for the sale produce that week and choose one to try. It could be a bag of oranges that you’ll eat for breakfast all week; or maybe fresh brussels sprouts that you’ll roast and eat with dinner.
According to Choose My Plate, adults should be getting around 2 1/2 cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruit per day. I think more is better, and I personally aim for 5-6 vegetables and 3 fruits per day- But I also live an active lifestyle. Do what feels right for you.
Switch to whole grains
Whole grain items like brown rice and whole wheat bread/tortillas have a little more fiber and protein than white rice and white bread. Fiber helps keep you full longer, which can help keep you from mindlessly eating throughout the day.
For the most part, I keep only whole wheat items in my house. I’ve never been able to tell a difference in taste, so making the switch was pretty easy for me. From tortilla shells to homemade pizza dough, we’ve got our whole grains covered!
Gradually lessen sugar intake
I’ll start by saying that- for me- there’s nothing wrong with enjoying sugar in moderation. I do think we tend to overdo it, though. Starbucks Frappuccinos, ice cream, cookies… sometimes all in the same day (No judging).
Making your own foods is a good way to lessen the sugar in your diet. If you like iced coffees, make your own cold brew and add some milk and a little stevia. I’ve actually found that I like lightly sweetened coffee better than the really sugary ones now.
Other healthier treats include yogurt instead of ice cream (I like the Oikos Triple Zero- no added sugars and extra protein) and homemade baked goods. Here are some of my favorites:
Eat one salad per week
Salads are an easy way to get in extra veggies. Now when I say “salad”, you don’t need to think of a dinky little bowl with a little shredded lettuce and 3 grape tomatoes. I’m talking a mixing bowl sized salad, with grilled chicken, romaine lettuce and spinach, cucumbers, red onion, mushrooms, some sunflower seeds… eating healthy doesn’t mean boring, it’s getting the opportunity to eat a variety of beautiful foods.
Make a meal plan every week
Meal plans are essential to eating healthy. If you don’t have a plan, your week will fall apart.
Start with dinners. Once you come up with the dinners for the week, everything else should fall into place. Make sure you account for breakfast, lunch, dinners, and snacks.
Take advantage of your slow cooker
I understand, we’re all busy. And as moms, even more so. That’s why God gave us slow cookers.
Throw a bunch of ingredients into your slow cooker, let it cook for a few hours, and come back to a delicious dinner ready to eat. It’s as simple as that. Some chicken breasts and a jar of salsa = Salsa Chicken for burritos.
Here are some of my favorite easy slow cooker recipes:
- Turkey Chili
- Mexican Burritos
- Spaghetti Sauce
- Cream Cheese Chicken Chili
- Sausage, Spinach, and White Bean Soup
Have you tried any of these ways of eating healthier? Let me know in the comments, along with any other tips you may have for those just starting out!
Jaime is a Nutrition Coach and professional writer. She enjoys cooking easy meals, running, and learning more about food.
Jaime specializes in helping women with ADHD learn to meal plan and cook healthier meals without getting overwhelmed.