The dietary changes you’re making should not feel restrictive, overwhelming or hard to live with.
Most Australians have grown up on processed foods; I know I sure did! This may be a big change for you, so take it a step at time. Pick 1 or 2 changes to make now, and once those are in place, pick 1 or 2 more. This is the best way to make it part of a lifestyle change and something you can totally live with long-term.
Transitioning to a healthier way of eating may seem daunting so here are some tips to keep in mind:
1. Eat Vegetables At More Meals
This is an easy practice and healthy lifestyle habit to get into. Start serving up veggies at every meal to increase your greens intake. As adults we need roughly 5-7 servings of greens per day.
HOW TO: Get creative with your meal planning and sneak in more veggies by adding a cup of them in your main meals, side dishes, soups and pasta dishes. Try shredded kale or spinach in a banana smoothie or protein shake; trust me you won't even notice it.
Swap wheat pasta for zucchini noodles and substitute in spaghetti bolognese or pesto pasta. Get inspired here. Use roasted sweet potato or cauliflower instead of white rice. There are just so many creative ways to substitute veggies for overly processed foods. Add grated carrot, zucchini and shredded spinach to your baking especially muffins like these Double Chocolate Zucchini muffins by Naughty Nutrition, or these Chocolate Zucchini Muffins by Eat, Bake, Repeat.
There are literally so hundreds of ways to incorporate more nutrient dense foods into your diet if you give it some thought and think ahead. Hop on my Pinterest for inspiration.
2. Swap Sugar For Nature's Lollies
Sugar is enemy, and unfortunately, in nearly everything processed and pre-packed foods found at the shops. It is used as a thickener, additive and sweetener and does more harm than good in the body.
I get it...eliminating the sweet stuff altogether is a big ask for many, so I am here to provide some helpful ideas to crush those sweet tooth cravings with healthier options.
HOW TO: When you are having a craving for something sweet, opt for a serving of fruit to satisfy your craving. If you choose carefully, fresh fruit is an excellent and nutritionally dense option. Pick from high fibre fruits such as berries, bananas, mango and apples or pears. These all provide a satisfying sweetness but also contain dietary fibre which helps slow down the impact of fructose. the natural sugars in fruits. Paired with a protein sources like nuts, seeds, a wedge of cheese, yoghurt or protein shake, this further slows the impact on blood sugar levels and is beneficial to those with prediabetes or type two diabetes.
3. Become More Choosy
Part of a healthy lifestyle is becoming more choosy with the foods you put in your body every day. Every mouthful has the ability to nourish or detract from your health. Choose carefully.
HOW TO: Start this week by becoming more mindful and conscious of your food choices. Keeping a food diary for a few days is a great way to do this and track your choices; you can find a printable one in my New You Health Pak. Track every mouthful, yes even those mindless little nibbles off the kids' plates or while cooking. It all adds up.
When it comes to food choices, decide what you want to acheive. Is it better overall health, weight loss or going plant based? Make choices going forward with this goal in mind. If you just want to improve your health, ditch the sugar and processed foods and eat more wholesome choices. If you want to lose weight, reduce the high caloric foods you've currently been eating and swap them for more high fibre, low carb choices. Going plantbased? Start off easy and just switch 1-3 vegan meals instead of your meat favourites, experiment and see if you can make a vegetarian version. Remember, it all adds up.
If you eat meat, it’s best to choose organic, grass fed, and hormone-free so you get the maximum nutrients possible without the harmful antibiotics, hormones, etc. When it comes to produce, go for organic whenever possible especially with the dirty dozen, and make sure you are getting plenty of greens, high-fibre, colourful fruit and vegetables daily.
4. The Wholesome Pantry
Let's be honest, if all you have in your cupboards is healthy foods, you'll eat healthy food. So if you want to improve your health, take a hard look at what is stocking your shelves. (you might find this blog post helpful).
By far, the easiest way to create a more wholesome pantry is to learn to read food labels, and systematically clean out items that you know are your downfall. If you need help with this, feel welcome to book a Lifestyle Overhaul Consultation.
HOW TO: I can't recommend this more; clear out your pantry, and start over. It is so worth the time you invest doing this. As you clear out the junk from your shelves, be sure to get rid of all the products that are overly high in sodium, sugar or artificial colorings and preservatives. Cola, tomato sauce, pre-packaged snacks and biscuits, and high-sugar cereals are all likely culprits for a purge — or at least some serious reflection over how much and how often your family enjoys them. That's not to say you can't leave a few treats — but be honest with yourself, and only allow those treats that you know you can maintain control over.
Restock your pantry with wholesome, healthy food choices that are deeply nourishing and ready to eat on the go. Snacks like mixed nuts, seeds, homemade bliss balls and protein bars, or fresh fruit are good for ‘grab-n-go’. Swap out processed grains, pastas, and rice for more high-fibre options and consider using vegetables as substitutes where possible. Consider what products you can spare the time to make yourself from scratch, trust me it is worth the effort.
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5. Plan For Better Health
If you are going to add more wholesome foods into your diet, pack them with you. Never leave the house without wholesome snacks if you know you’ll be gone for more than 2-3 hours.
Remember, eating healthy food on a regular basis helps you avoid grabbing unhealthy options out of desperation while on the go. Always keep a water bottle and healthy snack option within reach.
HOW TO: I love making superfood infused snacks and meals that take seconds to create. Things like chia pudding, overnight oats and protein balls can take literally 5 minutes or less to put together, and provide a few nourishing meals or snacks perfect for time-poor people. While I am chopping veggies for dinners, I will keep some aside and create salad jars for lunch or on-the-go. These salad jars are so super simple to make and help use up leftovers while helping you get more veggies in your diet. Add in those leftover roast veggies, the brown rice or BBQ chicken from the day before.
Mason jars are such a super handy container for many purposes in the kitchen, and easily lend themselves to food storage whether its fresh meals ,or dry goods for the pantry. I swear by them to make my salad jars because they easily allow you to assemble your salad in layers so it doesn't become soggy. Always start to build your salad jar off with the liquid and wet ingredients on the bottom, then add the hard crunchy items next like nuts, large seeds, chopped carrots, celery, cucumber, peas, beans, beets, chicken and the softer items that might spoil or become soggy such as like cheese, chicken, tomatoes, chopped fruit, avocado, bean sprouts and thin leafy lettuces at the top.
You can also use mason jars to transport smoothies, create fruit yoghurt parfaits and many other easy, healthy meals. The possibilities are endless.
6. Small Shifts Add Up Quickly
Most importantly, if you want to healthy more wholesome foods, don’t be too rigid or put undue pressure on yourself. If there is one thing I can share as a Health Practitioner, it is keep thing simple. When lifestyle or diertary changes become to too hard, complicated or too big of a task, people often stumble and quit. Plan for success by making small, daily changes that you can and will keep up. Keep it simple and just keep adding in the goodness, adn swapping out the junk for more wholesome food choices.
Put it into action. ...what are you going to try from this article?
Wishing you health + happiness,
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