WAS one of your resolutions this year eating healthier? How's that going for you?
We all know that eating healthy is extremely hard to do, because food is delicious, tasty, scrumptious, yummy, juicy, heavenly, mouthwatering and divine, and it takes a lot of willpower to open that fridge, look at that chocolate, and close it again, without taking just one square.
But adopting a healthy diet isn't as difficult as it seems, and nutritionist Keisha Black says all it takes is a first step in eliminating some purchases off your grocery list.
“So that's the first thing — if you don't buy them you won't see them in your house to be tempted by them,” she said.
She said there's also an element of meal planning that will be necessary, as “you can't just jump into healthy eating without knowing what you're eating. If you don't plan your meals you'll fall into the trap so many others do, where they get bored or uninspired with what's at home, and order takeout,” she said.
Here are five ways she suggests for starting, and sticking to your healthy eating plan.
Do meal plans
“Get recipes for the week, and plan what you will have for breakfast, lunch and dinner,” Black said. “Even if you have kids you can make this work — kids love stir frys with noodles, for example, but the important thing is planning, so you have a chart going forward.”
In using recipes, she said, you will also know what to shop for, so you won't get distracted and shop for random items that you do not need.
Make your own version of processed foods
“An air fryer is the best investment you can make in these times — it cooks the food for you without the added fat,” Black said. “So even seemingly unhealthy foods like burgers and fries are less so, because you won't be using oil to fry them.”
Also, she said you can make your own chicken nuggets, patties and sweet potato fries and even chips, if you have the time and the interest.
“That way you will still have “fast food” for the kids, but it will be healthier than what they'd get outside,” she said.
Don't make radical changes
You'll probably have little success going cold turkey, because we all know that many vegetables don't taste good, and eating the same types of food will get monotonous after a while. So ease into the transition — for example, make a vegetable stir fry with noodles and some fish sticks, and add a fried egg on top, for a nice, Asian flair.
“You don't have to eat super healthy everyday, what's important is balance and portion control,” Black said.
Keep healthy snacks around
That 'peckish' feeling, even after a meal, will drive you to devour that chocolate bar faster than you can say diet, and so it's useful to have healthy snacks around for when that urge hits. Granola bars, raisins and cranberries, fruit cups and nuts and seeds work well in these instances, and you can have as much as you want, without feeling guilty that you're derailing your diet.
Don't force yourself to eat foods you hate
Kale is not everyone's cup of tea, and there's no shame in hating the green stuff. There's no point in forcing yourself to eat things you dislike just because they're good for you, because there are always substitutes. So Brussels sprouts not your thing? Have cauliflower or broccoli instead. Does kale taste like cardboard no matter how you try to sauté it? Have callaloo or spinach instead. Hate the taste of sardines? Have cod, mackerel or salmon instead. Life's too short to be miserable, so avoid the healthy foods you dislike, and have the ones you like instead — in abundance.