One of the most common New Year’s resolutions is to eat healthy. Inevitably, most people fail to achieve this goal. Some are unable to eat healthy because they have a distorted understanding of what “healthy” means. Others find it difficult to reach their goal because they want to eat healthy to others happy rather than themselves. But, healthy eating is meant to be enjoyable and not feel like a chore or something you have to drag yourself through. With these ten tips and reminders, eating healthy in 2022 will seem much more accessible.
Understand that healthy eating is a lifestyle change
The worst mistake you can make when trying to eat healthier is only wanting your body to change. But pursuing short-term changes to change your appearance will backfire. When you try to eat healthy, you have to understand that you are making a change in your way of life. In other words, you eat healthily for feel good, and you plan to do it for the rest of your life. If you feel like you want to start healthy eating for the wrong reasons, work on changing your mindset around healthy eating.
Meal preparation is a Saviour. Nobody has the time or the patience to spend hours in the kitchen for every meal. Eating healthy as a college student can sometimes seem impossible, but if you plan ahead, you won’t have any problems. On the weekends, when I have more time in the kitchen to cook and experiment, I make sure to cook leftovers to eat during the week when school keeps me busy. You might be thinking, “Isn’t this getting boring?” While the idea of repeating meals during the same week isn’t to everyone’s liking, there are a few ways to make your leftovers taste less like leftovers. For example, suppose you want to use your leftover salmon to make a salmon salad for lunch. Having delicious, fresh green vegetables, as well as a source of carbs, paired with your salmon will change the flavor of your entire meal. Adding fresh vegetables to your leftovers is key to making your meal taste fresh.
Stick to simple meals
When your schedule gets hectic, don’t expect to make a complex and time-consuming recipe. There is nothing wrong with simplicity. Quick and easy meals can be just as healthy as complicated meals. Remember, all you need for a balanced meal is a serving of protein, carbs, and fruit/veg. Something as simple as chicken, rice, and broccoli can be turned into a satisfying meal.
Work with what you have
There are times when I walk into the kitchen with a clear idea of what I’m going to eat for dinner. But, as soon as I open the refrigerator door, I am disappointed. A handful of ingredients needed to prepare my meal are not available. So what do I do? Well, here’s one of my biggest tips: work with what you have. No matter what variety of proteins, carbs, and vegetables you have on hand, use them to make a nutritious meal. Remember that you only need a few ingredients to prepare a healthy and balanced meal.
Have meals on the go that you love
Coming up with new recipes during a busy week is both unrealistic and tedious. Having a handful of on-the-go meals that you really enjoy eating is a huge time saver. Some of my favorite meals include Chicken and Veggie Pasta, Avocado Toast, Loaded Salads, Burrito Bowls, Salmon with Rice and Broccoli, and Buddha Bowls. By always having the ingredients to prepare these meals in your refrigerator, you will never have trouble finding a recipe for lunch or dinner.
Find what works for you
Healthy eating is not the same experience for everyone. There will be certain types of meals that you will gravitate towards, and there will be meals that you will not like. Ultimately, it’s important to find what works for you, regardless of what you see others doing. For example, I to like skillet dinners. I can just throw a source of protein, carbs, and veggies into the oven and then walk away from the kitchen until my meal is ready. A dinner on a griddle is one of my favorite meals and I have found that this type of meal suits me the best. But, what works for me might not work for you.
Disregard toxic definitions of healthy eating
Thanks to the media and society, when you think of healthy eating, celery juice and lemon water most likely come to mind. But, healthy eating doesn’t have a single definition.
I equate healthy eating with happiness. If I limit the foods I like to fit the social definition of health, how will I be happy? The short answer is that I won’t. Of course, eating more whole foods in your diet can make you feel good and energized. However, keep in mind that your mental health is just as important as your physical health. A restrictive diet will harm your mental health, which, in turn, will harm your physical health. Eating healthy means allowing yourself to enjoy the foods you love, despite what the media and society promote.
To achieve your goal of healthy eating, you need to approach this year with a positive mindset. Be patient with yourself, because it’s always hard to form new habits. But, when you finally do, I can assure you that you will feel nothing short of amazing.