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Year after year, January rolls around and we make healthy resolutions to become a better version of ourselves (ie…thinner, stronger, happier). This new year more than ever, food and eating are probably at the top of our resolution lists. Let’s face it, 2020 had us indulging a little more. I mean everyone became a master bread maker or mixologist…or at least tried!
Sadly, more often than not, those resolutions die out by the end of the month. Not because we don’t have good intentions, but mostly because they are simply not sustainable. For instance, exclaiming after eating a plate of home baked cookies, that you’re giving up sugar, is probably not realistic. Or if you’re like me, vowing to stop eating pasta or cheese won’t last more than 48 hours if I’m being honest.
What is realistic is vowing to make better choices when it comes to eating. Cutting out whole groups of food like cookies or pasta tends to lead us down a dark path that ends with us tiptoeing to the fridge late at night, or is that just me?
Instead of trying to deny ourselves the pleasure of food, it just means a shift in which foods give us pleasure. This begins with loading your house with delicious whole foods like fruits, veggies, nuts, and legumes. Keeping these items easily accessible will stop you from reaching for the bag of chips in the pantry.
For instance, berries are one of the healthiest fruits you can eat. Berries are high in fiber, low in calories, and have extraordinary health benefits. They are readily available year-round and perfect to snack on throughout the day. I try to place a small bowl of washed berries on the kitchen counter when working from home. As I wander into the kitchen inevitably out of habit or hunger, it’s the first thing I see. Nine times out of ten, I will grab a handful and walk right out.
When it comes to meals, planning is key! Plan to incorporate more leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli or cauliflower into your meals. Popeye was on to something! Leafy greens, like spinach, have the highest nutrient density than any other food. This translates to more nutrition per calorie than anything else we could shove in our mouths.
You may be thinking, yeah sounds good but, “how do I do this?” Luckily, we have amazing tools at our disposal like Instagram, Pinterest, and the Westlake website (shameless plug) to give us inspiration, ideas, and how-tos! This is where the planning really comes into play. Personally, I like to commit to planning three meals at a time. Trust me, if you plan out your meals for a few days, instead of a week, you’ll be more successful. Again, it is just not sustainable. Life will get in the way, as it usually does. Planning a few meals will give you the flexibility of not feeling pressured to cook every night and not wasting good food you spent money on. Plus like most of us, going to the market has become the social event of my week! Why limit it to once a week?
Filling your body with good, fresh food, that you make at home, is sustainable. These healthy eating habits will lead to having more energy, improving your sleep, mood, and ultimately better health and what we really want, weight loss.
Yes, you can still eat those cookies, in moderation, but try adding fruit instead of chocolate chips. Try making the pasta, but load it with roasted veggies and a dark leafy green salad. Can’t resist the cheese? Pair it with a sliced apple or pear. You will satisfy your cravings, but also fill up more on the good stuff. And remember, every day is a new day to make a good choice.
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