Healthy Eating Plans That Work

How to Make Your Daily Healthy Eating Plan a Success Story


Healthy eating plans promise the world, but we all know developing healthy eating habits takes more than a menu. Become a success story by learning how to stick to your daily healthy eating plan.

smiling woman holding vegetables

Many of us have great intentions when it comes to improving our health through food. We recognize that what we put in our body affects our overall health, either in a positive or a negative way.

We want the health and vitality that comes from a healthy diet, along with the possible cost savings in both the short and long term, but a lot of us are overwhelmed and do not know where to start. Or perhaps we begin our healthy eating plans with a lot of enthusiasm, but our commitment to healthier eating habits falters after a short time and we find that we soon return to our old ways. So what does it take to make a daily healthy eating plan really work?

Motivation

Motivation will be your driving force to not only start a healthy eating plan, but to stick with it. The most important thing to remember is that motivation needs to come from within you. Your chances of sticking with a healthy diet are much lower if you are trying to change your ways for someone else.

Take time to really become clear on your motivation, as this will be your backbone and fuel to keep committed when times get hard or when temptation strikes to go back to your old ways. Your motivation could be to lose some unwanted pounds, to gain energy, to improve a health condition, to impact the environment through your everyday choices, or to add years to your life and have the good health to enjoy the extra years to the fullest. It could be to demonstrate to your children or others whom you love how to take care of themselves. Your example and the positive changes that they will surely see in you will inspire them more than just your words ever could.

It may help to write down your motivation for switching to healthy eating plans, or to collect pictures that remind you of your goals. Try to surround yourself with people that inspire you, whether they are people you can be in personal contact with in real life, or are friends through the internet with supportive websites or blog communities.

If you stay open-minded and alert, you will soon start to train yourself to find motivation everywhere you look. You will see it in the people who make the choices that match up to your goals. You will also be motivated by the people whose poor health or bad eating habits remind you of the road you do not want to be heading down!

Self-Discipline

It is easy to say that you want to be on the road to better health. Who wouldn’t want to be? Self-discipline is what sets apart the people who stick with changes in their daily healthy eating plans from the people who may talk a good talk, have good intentions but end up right back where they started from.

If you feel yourself starting to slip back into some less-than-healthy habits, forgive yourself, pick yourself up and shake yourself off and get right back on the path to health. An old Japanese proverb states “Fall down seven times. Get up eight”. Keep your motivation as a reminder in plain sight where you can see it often, whether it be something that you wrote down or inspiring pictures that you collected.

Something that helps to keep you disciplined is to have consciousness of your mindset. Are you thinking of these healthy eating plans as something difficult, or as an opportunity? Are you thinking you are depriving yourself of junk food, or that you are nourishing yourself with health food? Small changes in your thinking can be the difference between feeling like you begrudgingly should stick to your plan, and enthusiastically wanting to stick to your new and improved healthy eating habits.

Nutritional Knowledge

It does not take a degree in Nutrition to understand some basic concepts about healthy food menus. Begin by looking at labels. If you can pronounce all of the ingredients and can visualize what they look like in your head, you are off to a good start. Ingredients that include hyphens, numbers, colors, “artificial”, or “partially hydrogenated” should be a red flag.

Try to consume your food in as close to its natural form as you can. For example, it is a healthier choice to eat a delicious ripe pear right off of the tree than it is to eat canned pear chunks that may have been sitting on the store shelves for the past year, soaking in high-fructose corn syrup.

There are many free sources in today’s internet world that can help you learn more about good nutrition, or go to your local library to check out some books on the topic. Veg Up Workbook

Meal Planning

Thinking ahead and planning your meals can save you both time and money, and can help you make clear, intelligent choices about what you will be consuming. If you are standing in the grocery store with no healthy eating plans in mind, (especially if you are hungry!) it may be all too tempting to just grab something alluring even if it is not the healthiest choice.

By writing down your ideas for your daily healthy eating plan, you can visually see if you are consuming enough whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and good sources of protein. Planning your meals in advance can help you feel empowered over the choices that you are making for yourself. You can also see if certain ingredients come up many times throughout the week, and maybe you can buy these ingredients in bulk for a lower price.

Budgeting

You may be surprised to learn that preparing high-quality healthy food choices can be less expensive than other fast-food or more processed options. A large bag of whole oats costs less than instant oatmeal packets, packs a lot more nutrition and makes a lot more meals than the more processed option. A giant bag of fresh fruit in season can cost less than a small bag of potato chips.

You should also check in your community to see if there is a community garden project, where you can often trade enjoyable hours working in the garden for a weekly bounty of fresh produce. Or get inspired and plant your own garden! You can plan ahead to have enough to freeze or can produce to enjoy year-round, all for the low price of some seeds!

Healthy Recipes

Sometimes it is hard to be inspired with cooking. We get so used to cooking the same dishes over and over. Or we get excited by a new food at the store, yet have no idea what to do with it when we get home.

Look to the internet for new recipes, or invest in an attractive cookbook filled with healthy food menus. Try looking a little bit outside of what is familiar to find some new and exciting food options. For example, if you enjoy Mexican food, try searching for traditional recipes from neighbors Guatemala or El Salvador. A lot of times the ingredients are similar to what you are used to with Mexican food, but the presentation or combinations are different enough to make it seem brand new. Or if you enjoy the taste of garbanzo beans in hummus, look into all of the other things that you can do with garbanzo beans (hint: there are millions of options!)

Cooking Skills

smiling chef holding healthy salad

You do not need to be a professional chef to learn how to prepare healthful meals. Even if you make an effort to learn how to prepare only new meal per week, at the end of a few months you will have a lot of experience under your belt.

Ask a friend or family member to teach you a few things in the kitchen, watch some cooking shows on television, or sign up for a cooking course. Above all, do not stress about this part. The more fun that you make cooking, the better chance you have of actually doing it. So invite some friends over, put on some music, play around with some new ingredients, and make the best of it! You will learn over time, and soon enough you will not be able to remember a time when you did not know how to cook.

Time

With some foresight, you can actually save time by making healthy eating choices. Many natural foods can, and should, be eaten in their pure state. How much more time does it take to grab an apple as opposed to a piece of pie? Many whole grains and legumes can be soaked overnight to cut down on cooking time dramatically.

Some people find it both fun and time-saving to get together to cook with friends on a weekend. Everyone invited is in charge of preparing one large meal, enough to share with the others so that all involved wind up with diverse, healthy food choices to last throughout the week that are ready to eat.

Plus, think of all of the time that you will be saving with your new and improved health. Fewer missed days at work from illness and fewer trips to the doctor mean a lot more time to go out and enjoy life!

Guidance

In today’s age of information, there is no reason why you cannot seek out any guidance that you need, whether you seek recipes, information, motivation, or inspiring contacts who will help you along the path.

Look online, meet people at your local health food store or community garden, talk to naturopathic practitioners in your area – you really do have an endless list of places to look for information and people to help you get, and stay, on track with your healthy eating plans.

Select balanced resources that look at the whole picture when it comes to healthy eating. Veg Up is a workbook that shows you how to build healthy eating habits into your daily routine over a month long period so that you learn how to do it yourself for life!

Support

Many people will probably question your switch to healthy eating habits. Do not see it is criticism. Realize if you run into people who are not so supportive, it probably means one of two things. They are either sensitive about their own eating habits that they realize may not be the best, or they are undereducated and do not know the value of healthy eating.

Regardless, for every naysayer out there, there are many people who are willing to cheer you on and want you to look and feel your best. Give your time and energy to these people, especially in the beginning.

The most important thing to realize when it comes to support is that you have all of the tools you need at your disposal. You have within yourself all of the strength, desire, and discipline to be able to create positive, long-term changes in your diet.

You deserve the rewards of all of your efforts in healthy eating, remember that. You deserve to live a long life filled with vitality. You deserve to enjoy the fit and healthy body and mind that comes with implementing good daily eating choices.

You can do this! It may seem daunting in the beginning, but be careful – once you get a taste of what great health feels like, there is no going back! No junk food can ever replace the feeling of taking charge of your health.

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