Let’s start here, because as simple as it may sound, the term healthy eating has gotten very confusing lately!
What does it mean to eat healthily? Does it mean I have to cut out my favourite foods? Do I need to be doing detoxes? Juice cleanses? Do I need to eat only raw food, or go paleo or keto?
On the contrary! Healthy eating is about balance. It’s about swapping rules for experimentation and focusing on getting more of the foods that make us feel good, rather than putting all our energy into focusing on omitting any food completely.
Healthy eating is going to be different for everyone and so it’s also about mindful eating and learning to listen to what works for us.
Our bodies are clever entities – they know what we need for energy, endurance and overall performance.
If you take the time to listen to your body’s hunger cues rather than your head you’ll find it has a lot of great suggestions.
When I say balance, what I mean is, It’s important that we provide our body with all its necessary nutrients. We eat for nourishment most of the time and balance this with eating for enjoyment.
There are things that our body needs to function at its best and there are times of celebration or times when we simply want to eat for pleasure and that’s ok too!
Aim to design your meals around fresh produce, good quality natural proteins and all those healthy fats you’re giving your body exactly what it wants and needs and THAT is the ultimate way of thanking our body for what it does for us.
Variety is important too. Rather than striving for perfection, strive to get more variety! Eat an assortment of different foods from different food groups and we’re more likely to get all the nutrients that we need.
Eating the same foods all the time is boring and may not allow for getting all our nutritional requirements. Have fun and try new things!
Healthy eating is also about listening to your body’s hunger and fullness cues.
It’s about slowing down and enjoying your food and stopping before eating to ask ourselves if we’re actually hungry or whether there is another ‘need’ that is looking to be satiated.
So what’s the first step?
Starting your journey with meal planning
It’s not a complete overhaul that you need but small steps with big ripples. What small steps can you make that will have the biggest ripple effect?
Does eating breakfast make your energy better through the day? Does it lead to choosing better options? Start there! Put all your energy into becoming a breakfast guru. Don’t worry as much about the rest of the meals, just become the master of making a good start to the day. Once you’ve mastered this, choose something else.
Meal planning is a great example of a small step with a huge ripple. If you are planned and ready, healthy eating becomes so much easier!
Take some time this week to think about all the nutritious foods that you love. What breakfasts make you feel great? What lunches have been known to keep your energy even? What dinners satisfy you? Have you got some recipes that you love? Start there.
Write them down and start making a list of all the things you need to purchase to ensure that there are always great options available for you.
Keep these lists handy, once you have a bank of them, you can go back and recycle these meal ideas for weeks where you just can’t be bothered to plan.
Having a plan is key. Even in my house, if I’m not prepared, I end up choosing less nutritious options or end up getting takeaway. If the ingredients aren’t there to make a healthy porridge, you simply can’t eat it! That’s not your fault.
Planning changes things. It creates choice and makes eating balanced, nourishing meals much easier.
“Every time you eat is an opportunity to nourish yourself.”