Was your New Years’ resolution to stay on track with a healthy eating plan?
Are you struggling to stick to it? I have found it is quite common for people to struggle with change in the early days. Here are some tips and tricks for helping your health plan become a lifestyle change…
Focus on swapping one unhealthy food or habit with its healthy alternative at a time so you don’t feel deprived. If you love chocolate, buy a sugar-free, dark chocolate alternative. If you love jelly lollies, make some gelatine lollies with stevia. If bread is your weakness, try different paleo bread recipes until you find one that you love. Let me know what your weakness is and I will help you find an alternative to satisfy the craving!
Planning is essential!
Write a weekly meal planner and create a shopping list from this meal planner. Only buy what’s on the list. Not only will this mean that the “naughty food” isn’t available at a time of weakness, but it can also save you a great deal of money.
After you do your fruit and vegetable shopping, pre-wash your produce so it is ready to go when you need it. You can even pre-slice everything if you are super organised!
Cook enough dinner to have leftovers the next day for lunch. This will cut down the amount of food preparation you need to do.
Recruit a friend
Have a friend join you on your health journey, so that you can motivate each other. Alternatively, if your friends or family aren’t supportive of the changes you’re making to your diet or lifestyle, it is important to focus on why you are doing this. Educate them around these reasons. If they are still reluctant to support you, then try not to take their opinions on board. In this is the case, find a tribe of like-minded people who are there to support you. This could be as easy as joining a Facebook group.
Spend one day a week pre-preparing food for the week ahead. Bake, make lunchbox snacks, make a healthy dip to snack on, cut up vegetable sticks, make chia puddings or salad jars and pop in the fridge for a breakfast or lunch on the go, boil eggs and put them in the fridge for a quick snack on the run, make breakfast granola for the week ahead (this is also a great snack), make coconut yoghurt, bake paleo biscuits for after school snacks for the kids.
Buy and use some healthy cookbooks. I love the Pete Evans Paleo series.
If you eat out a lot, try to find places that offer healthy alternatives. Most places will be able to cater to your healthy eating. A steak/chicken/grilled fish dish with a side of vegetables is always a good option. For kids, grilled fish or meat skewers and salad and chips (as an occasional treat) are one of the healthier options on the children’s menu.
Focus on the benefits
What’s the big picture for you? What will this change ultimately mean to you? Are you doing this to look better, feel better, and be a better role model for your children? If it helps you stay focused, create a goal-oriented collage – get creative and cut pictures and phrases out of magazines that represent where you want to be in your life and how you’re going to achieve this goal. Put this collage somewhere that you will see it numerous times each day. If your focus is weight loss, placing the collage on the fridge or pantry where it will be a reminder every time you eat, is a great idea. This way it will help you stay focused.
If you’re trying to lose weight and are finding it hard to stay on track, start using an online food tracker such as myfitnesspal.
Help with children’s diet
If you have children who are resistant to change, start with one thing at a time. If you want them to eat more vegetables, start by hiding vegetables in the food they love. For instance, if they love pasta, try grating carrot, celery, or zucchini into the bolognaise sauce. If they love cake or muffins, bake cakes with hidden sweet potato, beetroot, carrot, or zucchini. It is also important to offer your children unhidden vegetables regularly. Persist with this one as it will pay off in the end. Use a sticker chart with children. Every time they try a new food, they get a sticker. Once they have tried a new food every day for 10 days, they get an agreed upon reward. Keep in mind that persistence is the key to making change.
Children (and some adults) need to try a new food up to 18 times before they will start to tolerate it. Keep offering healthy options to your child, they will eventually try it. If your child won’t try what you have cooked, it is important to not make a big deal out of their reluctance, otherwise, this can easily disintegrate into a power struggle between you and your child, which benefits no one. Just pack the meal away and at the next meal time, offer another healthy meal. Hunger is a major driver to trying something new. If you or your child isn’t hungry often, there may be an iron or zinc deficiency – speak to a naturopath to assess this. I specialise in children’s health and wellbeing, so would love to help you with this.
For more help transitioning to a healthier lifestyle, or to address specific concerns, I am available for one on one consultations to assist you with your health journey.
Yours in health,
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