Want to eat healthy but don’t always feel like it? Here are tips to help!
Hi there! It’s Hannah again, Teri’s assistant at A Foodie Stays Fit. I’m honored to be writing another guest post, and I’m really excited about this post’s topic: eating healthy when you don’t want to. Teri and I joke all the time that I’m the guinea pig when it comes to testing to see if her healthy recipes actually taste good. Teri is someone who regularly drinks green smoothies, and most healthy recipe naturally taste great to her. Not so much for me, so I’m the one who makes sure the recipes she shares tastes good for those who don’t necessarily love eating healthy!!
Eating Healthy When You Don’t Want To
Anyone who knows me well may laugh that I’m the one who’s writing this post. At school, I’m known for making a small salad and then finishing off my meal with a bowl of Lucky Charms. However, I did grow up with parents who really value healthy habits, including meals. We eat family dinners as often as we can, and my mom has always made recipes with healthy alternatives. (Fun fact: Teri and I actually met through my mom since they run together!)
Thankfully I’ve grown a lot in the world of healthy eating. Since going to college and no longer playing high school sports, I’ve realized how much eating well matters. Obviously, this isn’t news to you. Healthy eating is a habit the whole world is getting behind. And so while the world accelerates forward with non-dairy creamers and avocado toast, I’m starting to catch up.
Here are a few ways that I’ve learned how to eat healthy when I don’t want to.
But first, I think it’s important to note that I am a huge advocate of enjoying ALL foods ;). I love dessert daily (maybe not the best idea, but that’s just how I feel), and I also love grabbing food with friends, no matter where they want to eat.
In fact, I have an entire Instagram account devoted to food and drinks that I love called Hannah Holding Things. Here are some favorite posts of mine.
See what I’m working on there? 😉
Like I said, I love ALL foods. Here are some of my tips for making sure to get the right balance in your life.
Eating Healthy When You Don’t Want To
ADD Something Healthy to Your Day, Don’t Take Something Away
This has been the #1 way that I’ve taught myself to eat more greens. I don’t typically like salad, but I knew that it was one of the easiest ways to get healthy greens in my day. I’ve started making a salad for lunch everyday, and I don’t really mind. The deal I made with myself was: If you want something else for lunch, make a small salad first, eat that, and then eat the other thing you wanted. This way, I end up feeling full after the salad and then only want a small portion of whatever else I had planned. I still have the yummy lunch treat I envisioned, but I had to eat the salad first. If you HATE salad, choose something you enjoy! You won’t stick with a habit if you’re miserable.
BTW, did you know Teri has a “how to build better salads” e-book? I’ve found it so helpful!
Switch to Brown Rice
This is a trick my mom uses. I LOVE rice, y’all. I mean, I truly love it. And I prefer white jasmine rice over any other kind, but my mom rarely uses white rice while cooking. She sticks primarily to brown rice. She’s taught me that brown rice has actual nutrient value. Rice itself is essentially just carbs, but brown rice is a whole grain, so it contains a fibrous bran and a nutritious germ, which are removed from white rice. So, if you like rice with your dinner, making the switch to brown rice is an easy way to choose a healthier alternative. Maybe you aren’t a rice person at all, but there’s likely something you love that you could find an alternative for.
Notice the Benefits to Your Healthy Eating
It’s much easier to continue choosing healthy foods when I notice a difference. The quickest indicator that I need more greens or healthier foods in general, is my skin. I’ve struggled with my skin for most of my life, and one of the most effective things for keeping it clear is eating clean and drinking water. It’s so simple that it actually makes me mad, haha! I also notice my digestive system feels better when I’m eating healthy foods – shocker. (Teri has a post with 12 healthy habits for clear skin and sure enough diet and water are on her list!!)
Try New Recipes
If you’re struggling to eat clean, you might need to switch up your menu. A few weeks ago I was in a recipe rut. I felt like I had exhausted the things we had in our pantry, which left me feeling uninspired (one of the easiest ways to slip out of a good habit). Spending 10 minutes on Pinterest was exactly what I needed to feel excited about some new recipes. I especially love Half Baked Harvest and The Defined Dish. And Teri has a ton of healthy recipes too! Even if the recipes I notice aren’t “healthy” recipes, you can always find ways to switch things out. As long as you’re excited about what you’re making, you’ll be more likely to stick to the things that make you feel good.
Notice How Your Workouts Feel
If you workout regularly, you’ll notice a HUGE difference in how you feel when you’ve eaten well the day before. I think this goes without saying, but it’s worth stating. You might not feel like salmon and a sweet potato for dinner, but you’ll thank yourself during your run if you chose that over Lucky Charms or fast food. To win the battle in your mind, take mental notes of how great you feel when you’re more energized and what you ate leading up to that. I’ve even made a note on my phone after a strong run that I could go back and read when I was uninspired to eat clean. Do whatever it takes!
Stay Ahead of Your Hunger
I’m much quicker to snack on unhealthy foods when I let myself get to the point of “hanger” (hunger/anger). If I wait until I’m cranky, there’s a slim chance that I’ll choose a healthy option. The easiest way to beat this is to make sure you have healthy snack available. I keep cashews in my car, and I generally have an RX bar in my backpack. These help me stay ahead of my hunger so that I don’t get desperate.
If you’re a devotee to healthy foods, these tips probably seem obvious, but if you’re looking for tangible ways to inspire healthy eating in your life like me, I hope these help. My mom says there’s a ton of power in “deciding a thing”. Make the decision and let your yes be yes. Be true to your word, just like you would be to a friend.