Sometimes starting something new can be completely overwhelming and you may not know where to even start. Heck, that’s how I felt about starting this blog – I was clueless! After some general research, I found the tools I needed to get going. The same can be said about those wanting to change their lives and begin to eat healthier. If it’s not something you have really paid attention to before, going about “eating healthy” can be completely confusing and overwhelming. There are SO many quick fix diets out there, each with its own set of rules that last for 15-30-90 days then you’re done. Unfortunately these quick fixes don’t address your needs to achieve lasting change. I’ve seen so many friends hop from diet to diet trying to figure it out and try the latest and greatest diet fix. I promise eating healthy doesn’t have to be that hard or restrictive.
Now hear me out on this. I will admit that in the past I have jumped on diet bandwagons and not a single one gave me lasting results. I was hungry (like real hangry if we’re being honest) and I often binged later on all the food I wasn’t allowed to have. There was ZERO balance in my food life. I’ve also gone super extreme and measured every single macro and spent hours in the kitchen prepping food. This worked but it wasn’t something I could sustain as a busy mom working full time. I believe that going back to the basics is exactly what most people need when it comes to learning how to eat healthy.
You don’t need to create complicated healthy recipes.
I spent hours and hours pouring over Pinterest trying to find healthy recipes. I then spent tons of money in the store and more time cooking all these complicated healthy meals. I was burned out and went back to my fast food and got lazy. When I realized this wasn’t working for me, I started to simplify my meals.
2. Go back to basics – protein, carbs and fats (that’s it!)
At its core, eating clean and healthy food is about simplicity. A piece of chicken, a side of green veggies and a carb like brown rice or quinoa is a balanced and tasty meal. Throw in some low sodium seasonings and you’re set! Heck, you can even add some low fat cheese. There are so many days where I just grab a few items and take them to work with me and throw it together. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve eaten a can of tuna with 2 slices of Ezkiel bread and mustard. It’s delish and filling! This meal doesn’t involve any prep other than putting it together when I’m ready to eat it and that takes just a couple minutes! So don’t feel like you have get fancy and focus on your basics- lean meats, veggies (sans butter and tons of salt) and healthy cards like sweet potatoes, brown rice, sprouted grains, oatmeal etc.
3. Have snacks on hand – aka avoid HANGRY status
A lot of times people fall off the healthy train when they find they are starving and have nothing but unhealthy foods at hand. Raise your hand if you’ve reach for that bag of sugary trail mix or potato chips when you were starving. We’ve all done it but if you can make sure your pantry is stocked with healthy, good snacks, you’ll set your self up for success. I always make sure I have almonds, cottage cheese, tortilla chips (watch the fat) and salsa on hand. I also have a HUGE bag of Optimum Nutrition protein powder so I can make up a shake instantly. Protein does a great job of making you fuller longer.
4. Drink your water!
I cannot stress how important staying hydrated is! Back in the day, I drank ZERO water because my parents had a well (yes we lived in the sticks) and I hated the taste of well water. This meant I grew up preferring soda and basically not drinking water unless I was playing sports. Proper hydration is crucial to your body’s functions so keep a water bottle with you all day and fill it up! I suggest aiming for a gallon of water a day. You may start peeing a lot but you will be less bloated and start to feel great!
So if you’re unsure of where to begin with clean eating, here is my suggested food list:
- Chicken breast
- Turkey breast
- Lean ground beef, turkey or bison
- Oatmeal (my morning staple with protein powder mixed in)
- Brown rice
- Potato or sweet potato
- Ezekiel bread
- Tortillas and tortilla chips
- Brussel sprouts
- Spring mix
- Bell pepper
- Green beans or snap peas
- Coconut oil
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Peanut butter
- Nuts (almonds or cashews)
- Unsweetened vanilla almond milk
- Protein powder (Optimum Nutrition from Costco)
- Low sugar protein bars (watch sugar alcohols because they can cause you to bloat.)
- Rice Chex cereal
- Low fat cottage cheese
- Black beans
- Low fat cheese
Here is a recent haul from the Dekalb Farmer’s Market- the best farmer’s market in the whole dang country!
I hope this post was informative and helpful to someone! My goal for this blog is to share information on topics that interest me and nutrition and working out are some of my favorite things. Please feel free to comment below if you like what you see, have questions or have ideas for other posts!
Keep it simple!