As you already know, I am passionate about living whole and healthy eating. I truly believe that food can have a huge impact on how we feel, our mood, our health and our energy levels. Ever since I started being more mindful about what I was feeding my body, I almost instantly noticed a difference in all aspects of my life. I felt better, looked better, had more energy and was overall a happier person. I want to dedicate this blog post to share all the tips I used to make healthy eating a habit and something I truly enjoy.
1. Think of food as something positive that can make you feel great. Choose foods that make you feel optimal and nourished. After each meal and snack, ask yourself how are you feeling? Did your meal leave you bloated, unsatisfied, on a sugar high, too full, ready for a nap ? Or do you feel ready to take on the rest of your day with energy? Try to figure out which foods make you feel amazing afterwards and which ones don’t.
2. Eat 3 meals a day and snacks if you are hungry between meals. Healthy eating definately does not mean to eat less or to restrict yourself. I am terrible at being hungry – I cannot stand the feeling so as soon as I feel hungry I grab something to eat. It is also very important for your metabolism and energy levels to eat three meals a day. For those of you who are not hungry when you wake up, I would suggest drinking a smoothie or taking overnight oats in a jar to school or work to eat later.
3. Choose unprocessed and unrefined foods in their natural state. Cook food at home and make your own granola, soft bars, trail mix, etc. In other words, try to stop buying anything that comes in a package and has lots of ingredients. It is better for your health, the environment and your budget ! Also, prefer the unrefined versions: brown rice, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat flour, brown bread, etc. The contain more fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals.
4. Make your meals and snacks complex. Try to include carbs, protein and healthy fats in all your meals and snacks. That way, you will nourish your body with all the macro nutrient needs and you will feel full for longer. Here are some complex snack options that I often eat between meals: One apple with almonds, one hard-boiled egg with carrots and hummus, a chia pudding with yogourt and fruit, a smoothie with a little bit of oats, protein powder and coconut oil, a homemade granola bar covered with almond butter, etc.
5. Drink water ! I know you have probably read this everywhere already but it is so important to stay well hydrated throughout the day. Often times when we think we are hungry we are in fact only thirsty.
6. Do not be afraid of healthy fats. I once heard a girl say that she was avoiding avocados because of their high fat content. Yes avocados do contain a lot of fat, but healthy fats that our body needs ! Healthy fats are wonderful: they provide long lasting energy, make you feel full longer and they make your skin and hair glow! Just know the difference between healthy fats from avocados, coconut oil, olive oil, fish and nuts and saturated fats from meat, dairy, creams, cookies, cakes, etc.
7. Center your meals around plants. My motto eat mostly plants means that I plan my meals and snacks around plant based foods (fruits, vegetables, grains). Usually, most meals are planned around meat. I try to put the emphasis on the veggies. I am not vegan or vegetarian but I do consider meat and dairy as extras that should be consumed a little less than veggies and fruits. Eating less meat and dairy and more vegetables is without a doubt better for the environment and also for our health.
8. Eat a large variety of foods. It is very important for our bodies that we eat a large variety of different foods from different food groups so that we fulfill all of our macro and micro nutrient needs. Yes, kale is super healthy, but if it’s the only vegetable you eat, you are probably missing out on important vitamins and minerals other veggies have to offer.
9. Relax and enjoy your food. I think it is fundamental to love the food you are eating. So try different recipes, new ingredients and don’t ever force yourself to eat food that you don’t like, even if it’s super healthy. I never eat goji berries even if they are packed with antioxidants because I don’t like the taste. Also, do treat yourself to your favorite foods even if they are not healthy!! Even if I am a bit of a health freak, I love popcorn and every time I go to the movies I have some. I also cannot resist my mom’s baking. However, if you are constantly craving sweets, try making healthy desserts (check out my sweet treats section) instead of giving into each craving.
I hope this can help some of you who are new to healthy eating. Do not hesitate to ask me if you have any questions !
All photos found on Pinterest.