Give it a chance... by just making a few changes, you can embrace new habits that will help you feel more energized and ready to conquer your day.
Prep and Plan
The first eating habit you can adopt is to make a plan and prepare food in advance. It might seem a no-brainer, but stock up on fresh fruits and veggies. When you get home from the store or farmer’s market, wash and chop them right away so you can grab them for a snack or throw them in your bag for later in the day. Find other healthy snacks that you can always have on hand, so when someone shows up with donuts at the office, you’re not starving and give into temptation.
Try to cook as many meals at home as possible. Healthy meals don’t have to be boring. Eat a variety of healthy foods and add olive oil, garlic, or other spices to add flavor to vegetables. If you are planning to go out to eat, adjust your food the rest of the day by eating lower calorie/higher density foods so you can indulge guilt-free.
While it’s important to embrace new habits like reducing sugary and high fat foods, it is OK to indulge once in while. Don’t completely exclude any one type of food, especially foods you love. You’ll end up craving that food even more, and you’ll just be setting yourself up for failure.
Just remember you don’t have to change every habit all at once. Pick one thing to cut and replace it with something healthy. Once that is a habit, pick another thing. Don’t be too strict, allow yourself to make mistakes, and then get back on track.
Most processed foods are not healthy; check your packages and you may find more added sugar and fat than you realized were there. Replace processed food with whole foods like vegetables, fruit, whole grains, lean meats, and nuts. Try to incorporate protein, healthy fats, carbohydrates (not refined), fiber, and calcium into your diet for longer-lasting energy, protection against health-related problems and a healthier body overall.
If you feel tired, suffer with headaches, or wonder why you have low energy, you might be dehydrated. Drinking enough water (around eight 8-ounce glasses) everyday gives many health benefits. It will flush your body of toxins and waste, increase your energy, and even boost the number of calories you burn. Often our bodies interpret thirst as hunger, so instead of grabbing a snack, try drinking a full glass of water. If you’re a soda drinker, try sparkling water or even mixing soda with sparkling water to help you kick the habit.
Eat Small and Often
Eating smaller meals with snacks in between will help you keep your energy up all day long. It will keep your metabolism going and your blood sugar from spiking and plummeting. If you struggle with eating too-large portions at meals, try using a smaller plate or bowl. Make it a habit to stop eating when you feel satisfied, not when you feel stuffed. Plan out your meals and snacks, and make sure they have a good amount of protein and fiber.
Becoming healthier is a lifestyle change, so give yourself some grace and time to make new habits. Be conscious of the things you are putting in your body and think about how they make you feel. Once you feel better and more energized, you won't want to go back to your unhealthy habits.
Abby Drexler is a contributing writer and media specialist for 21 Amazing Days. She regularly produces content for a variety of health and wellness blogs, based around the transitional challenges which comes with managing a healthy lifestyle.