One of the most common New Year's resolutions is to eat healthily. Inevitably, most people fail to achieve this goal. Some are not able to achieve healthy eating because they have a distorted understanding of what "healthy" means. Others face difficulty achieving their goal because they want to eat healthily to make others happy, rather than themselves. But, healthy eating is meant to be enjoyable, and not feel like a chore or something you have to drag yourself to do. With these ten tips and reminders, eating healthily in 2022 will feel much more attainable.
Understanding That Healthy Eating Is A Lifestyle Change
The worst mistake you can make when trying to eat healthier is solely desiring your body to change. But, pursuing short-term changes to change your appearance will backfire. When trying to eat healthily, you must understand that you are making a change in your lifestyle. In other words, you are eating healthily to feel good, and you plan on doing so for the rest of your life. If you feel that you want to start eating healthy for the wrong reasons, work to change your mindset around healthy eating.
Meal prep is a lifesaver. No one has the time or patience to spend hours in the kitchen for every meal. Eating healthily as a student can seem impossible at times, but if you plan, you will face no trouble. Over the weekend, when I have more time in the kitchen to cook and experiment, I make sure to cook leftovers to eat over the week, when school keeps me busy. You may be thinking to yourself, "Doesn't that get boring?" While the idea of repeating meals in the same week is not appealing to all, there are several ways to make your leftovers taste less like leftovers. For instance, let's say you want to use your leftover salmon to make a salmon salad for lunch. Having delicious, fresh greens and vegetables, along with a source of carbs, paired with your salmon will change the flavor of your entire meal. Adding fresh vegetables to your leftovers is key to making your meal taste fresh.
Stick To Simple Meals
When your schedule gets hectic, don't hold yourself up to the expectation of making some intricate and time-consuming recipe. There is nothing wrong with simplicity. Easy and fast meals can be just as healthy as complicated meals. Remember, all you need for a balanced meal is a portion of protein, carbs, and fruits/vegetables. Something as simple as chicken, rice, and broccoli can be made into a satisfying meal.
Work With What You Have
There are times when I walk into the kitchen with an exact idea of what I am going to eat for dinner. But, as soon as I open the door to the refrigerator, I am disappointed. A handful of the ingredients needed to make my meal are unavailable. So, what do I do? Well, here's one of my biggest tips: work with what you have. No matter what variety of protein, carbs, and vegetables you have on hand, use them to make a nourishing meal. Remember, you only need a couple of ingredients to make a healthy and balanced meal.
Have Go-To Meals That You Love
Coming up with new recipes during a busy week is both unrealistic and burdensome. Having a handful of go-to meals that you genuinely enjoy eating is a huge time-saver. Some of my go-to meals include pasta with chicken and vegetables, avocado toast, loaded salads, burrito bowls, salmon with rice and broccoli, and Buddha bowls. By always having the ingredients to make these meals in your fridge, you will never find yourself struggling to come up with a lunch or dinner recipe.
Find What Works For You
Healthy eating is not the same experience for everyone. There are going to be certain types of meals that you gravitate towards, and there will be meals that do not appeal to you. In the end, it is important to find what works for you, regardless of what you see others doing. For example, I love sheet-pan dinners. I can simply throw a source of protein, carbs, and vegetables into the oven, and then step away from the kitchen until my meal is ready. A sheet-pan dinner is one of my go-to meals, and I have realized that this type of meal works best for me. But, what works for me might not work for you.
Disregard Toxic Definitions Of Healthy Eating
Thanks to the media and society, when you picture healthy eating, celery juice, and lemon water most likely pop up in your mind. But, healthy eating does not have a one-size-fits-all definition.
I equate healthy eating with happiness. If I am restricting foods that I love to fit society's definition of health, how will I be happy? The short answer is that I won't be. Of course, eating more whole foods in your diet can make you feel good and energized. However, keep in mind that your mental health is just as important as your physical health. A restrictive diet will hurt your mental health, which will, in turn, harm your physical health. Eating healthily means letting yourself enjoy the foods you love, despite what the media and society promote.
To achieve your goal of eating healthily, you have to approach this year with a positive mindset. Be patient with yourself, as it is always challenging to implement new habits. But, when you finally do, I can assure you that you will feel nothing short of amazing.