I believe we should all be able to live a healthy, balanced lifestyle without obsessing about wellness. If you think about it, the definition of healthy is actually really personal. What works for some people isn’t necessarily going to work for you. Sure, getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet and daily exercise are key components to a healthy lifestyle; but these things are not always accessible to everyone. I really think that what makes a difference are the small, repetitive actions that we take every single day. You don’t need to change your life drastically from one day to the next. Make small, baby-step changes, but stick to them. Soon enough, they will become everyday habits that will turn into lifestyle changes.
EAT REAL FOOD
It’s really simple. Just eat real food. Whole, nutrient-rich food that comes from the Earth, fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds etc. Cutting down on processed foods-anything that comes from a box or bag- and replacing them with nutritionally dense, real food will result in better overall health.
START YOUR DAY OUT RIGHT WITH A SMOOTHIE
Swap out an unhealthy, simple-carb-filled breakfast, like coffee and a muffin, and create a healthy habit that's easy to stick to…. because smoothies take five minutes to make. This way you get more vegetables in before 9 a.m. than most people get all day. Prepping and freezing fruits and veggies ahead of time makes it easy to just throw them into the blender and adding some plant milk.
There are a few keys to making your smoothie healthy enough for breakfast; be sure to add a protein like hemp seeds or a tablespoon of nut butter, and also include antioxidant and fiber-rich fruits or veggies such as berries or spinach….extra points for including superfood powders. These are two of my favorite everyday smoothies.
EASY GRAIN SUBSTITUTIONS
Try some easy substitutions like swapping out some of the processed grains like bread, pasta, traditional cold cereals, crackers, etc. in your diet for intact grains. Intact grains are grains in their purest form, like quinoa, bulgur, farro, millet, freekeh, amaranth, oats, etc., these are grains you have to cook yourself.
These grains are high in naturally occurring nutrients, and take more energy to digest. Making small substitutions like this is one more step toward a real, whole foods diet. Make a big batch of quinoa, oats or farro at the beginning of the week and keep it in the fridge to re-heat all week for making a quick lunch and dinner. Try my green grain salad!
GET MORE VEGGIES IN DAILY
No matter what fad diet du jour is, (Keto, Whole 30, high-fat/low-carb) all of them agree on one thing: vegetables are healthy and we should all be eating more of them. Most health and nutrition experts recommend at least five servings a day. However, for those who don't like vegetables, this can be a challenge. That's where learning how to make vegetables actually taste good comes in handy when trying to feed your family more veggies. Using spices such as ginger and cinnamon and aromatics like herbs and shallots complements the flavors in veggies and makes them taste amazing. This is one of the most practical ways of prepping veggies:
Roasting sheet pans full of vegetables at the beginning of the week will help you put salads, lunch or dinner together in no time. Cut them up into inch pieces and sprinkle them with salt and pepper and a bit of olive oil before roasting them in the oven at 375*F for about 20 minutes. Let them cool before storing them in the fridge for the rest of the week. You can also blend roasted veggies with vegetable broth and spices to have healthy soups ready to re-heat all week.
EAT MORE FIBER
Try to get more fiber into your diet. This happens almost automatically when you start to incorporate more fruits and veggies and less processed foods.
KEEP HEALTHY SNACKS ON HAND
Keep healthy snacks in the fridge and pantry. Wash and disinfect vegetables, fruits and herbs when you get home from shopping so they will be clean and ready when you need them. Keep sliced fruit and veggies handy in the fridge for when kids come home from school or for when you are packing lunches in the morning. Containers with hummus, trail-mix, nuts, seeds and dried fruit are also healthy snack choices.
Plan ahead! If you have veggies and grains stored in containers in the fridge you won’t have to scramble to make a healthy lunch or dinner. You will be able to put a salad or meal together fast using your healthy pre-prepped ingredients. This way, you are much more likely to stay on-track of your healthy eating habits.
Focus on building healthy habits and not on obsessing over your health!