When it comes to nutrition, there is always new information out there that is contradicting and confusing. Choosing our diets is important in many ways but how do we know what is the right thing to do for ourselves? We may all have different views on what the right diet is and that’s okay, as long as we can pick something sustainable and something that is in line with our goals.
There are some common rules to follow when trying to maintain a healthy diet. Some of them might already be familiar and some may be new to practice. These are my tips for you to make your eating habits a little easier.
STOP LABELING YOUR FOODS – This is one of the top habits I wish everyone could get on board with. When we talk about our foods as good/bad, we automatically train our brains that certain foods are “off-limits”. Well, what happens when you can’t get what you want? You end up wanting it more. If we stop wasting time feeling guilty for foods that aren’t the greatest in nutrient quality, we can simply add them into our diets and move on after we eat them. Depriving ourselves of our “guilty pleasures” is one sure way to create an unhealthy relationship with those foods or a countdown to a binge day where we lose our minds and eat way more than intended.
GET RID OF “CHEAT MEALS” – Let me say this, you’re not in a relationship WITH your food therefore you cannot CHEAT on your food. Get rid of the idea of a cheat meal, throw it in the trash and forget about it. You don’t have to EARN your food, you need food always whether you worked out or not.
CLEAR OUT YOUR CABINETS – this includes your fridge and freezer as well. Take inventory of everything in your kitchen. What are some things that have been collecting dust in the cabinets? Is there anything that expired? Are there certain ingredients that you could swap for healthier ones? One of my rules is that I don’t buy a ton of foods that I know I could easily eat the entire box or bag of. I know what my foods are and if I’m craving them, I’ll get it but in a smaller package.
PLAN OUT YOUR WEEK – making a menu for the week is the easiest way to make sure that you’re making quality meals for yourself. Before you go grocery shopping, make a menu for what you’re going to be having for your breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Think of something that you can make in bulk to last a couple of days or use when needed for grab and go meals. Think of what snacks you’ve been craving and find a way to incorporate them in. Planning your week is one of the best things you can do for yourself to make sure you have healthy food choices on hand.
BE OKAY WITH THE SAME MEALS – I like variety just like mist of us but its OKAY to have the same meals. I ate the same breakfast for months and even now I’m still not tired of it. Find what you like and stick to it. Is there a dinner that you love making? Make that once a week. Taco Tuesdays, Meatless Mondays. Variety is awesome but its okay to be boring too.
READ THE LABELS – get used to looking at macronutrients on labels. Whether you count your macros or not, it’s pretty fascinating to actually look up the macros on foods you eat and the serving size. Not many people do this and it’s easy to overeat without really meaning to. Not only looking at your protein, fats, and carbs plus the serving size, but added sugars and some added ingredients is also important too. The food industry likes to trick us with “heart healthy”, “high protein”, and “organic” but don’t be afraid to question these and dig a little deeper.
PRIORITIZE UNPROCESSED, NUTRIENT DENSE FOODS – Think about the outskirts of the grocery store. If you can’t buy it in its natural form, it’s processed.
PLAN YOUR PLATE – No matter what meal we’re eating, we should try to make sure that our plates are well rounded. If you’re trying to eat a sustainable well balanced diet, think of your plate like those kids plates with the dividers. Does your plate have 4-6 ounces of a protein source, 1-2 cups of a vegetable/fruit, and a cupful of carbs? Do you have some healthy fats involved? If we look at what we’re eating and ask ourselves if what we see is helping us get closer to our goals, then we are already one step closer.
SPICE IT UP – Vegetables don’t have to be boring. They can taste awesome if we put some effort into making them taste good. Go through your spice rack inventory, throw away what you don’t use and go find some new ones. My favorite go-to are Trader Joe’s spices. You truly cannot go wrong with any of them. I also find some hidden gems at places like TJ Maxx and Marshalls as well. Rachel Ray has a spice kit at Costco that is also to die for.
If you find yourself questioning where to start, come back to this list and think about what you do daily that either moves you forward in your progress or hinders it. Try perfecting these one at a time. Take a week or two to master each task then move on to the next one. Nutrition doesn’t have to be complicated.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Coach Kaitlin Fisher
Playing sports in high school and joining the Navy shortly after has put fitness as a priority in some way for most of my life. After leaving the military and moving to Ohio I decided to turn my love into a career. I am currently enrolled at Lorain County Community College where I am earning my Sports and Fitness Management Degree. I earned my Precision Nutrition Certificate in 2019 after realizing that I could help someone change their lives just through their eating habits. My goal is to help people realize that health and fitness doesn’t have to be intimidating, that anyone can make a change at any point, and I want to be able to be the support that I needed through my own journey.