Eating healthy sucks.
There. I said it.
Well, maybe “sucks” is an exaggeration, but life is a hell of a lot more fun when you’re eating Oreos for dinner. I mean, that’s the fun of being an adult, right? Cookies for dinner.
The not fun part about being an adult? The thirty pounds that come soon after you start your nightly Oreo meal plan.
Habits are hard to break. When I first started trying to eat better, there were just so many days where stopping by McDonald’s was so much easier, and, besides, I didn’t have time to cook.
However, my health and body composition didn’t start improving until I overhauled my diet, regardless of how often I worked out. There is very little as disheartening as realizing that the hours you’ve spent at the gym have done very little because you’ve been sabotaging yourself the whole way.
I’ve compiled a list of easy small changes that anyone can make to upgrade their diet.
1. Drink more water.
“Hey, that’s not a food related tip!” It kind of is though, so work with me here.
Drinking a ton of water is the best thing you can do for yourself. It increases fat loss, it makes your skin clearer, it energizes you… The list goes on and on. There are very few things that you can change in your life that will impact your health as completely.
If you, like me, stubbornly don’t drink water, try downloading an app like Plant Nanny. I find that keeping myself accountable (and always having a water bottle close by) is the only way that I will actually keep up with it.
The best part about this tip is that drinking water is free. Break out that water bottle the organization you’ve never heard of or cared about gave you on campus, and drink on up!
2. Prep your meals for the week ahead of time.
If you follow fitness social media pages at all, you’ve probably seen intense pictures of muscle bound people surrounded by tupperware full of chicken and rice. Don’t let that scare you away from meal prepping. It can be as intense or as chill as you want it to be.
Meal prepping helps me eat healthier because I am less likely to get fast food on the way home if there is already dinner in the fridge. It makes the “I don’t want to make dinner tonight because I’m tired.” and “I don’t have time to cook.” excuses a lot harder to make.
Even if you don’t make entire meals, save yourself some time and do some of the prep work that you’ll have to do later. I like to chop up a couple bell peppers, onions, and zucchini to keep in the fridge to eat throughout the week. I eat them in scrambled eggs, stir fry, and whatever else I’m craving at the moment. This way the ingredients are convenient to just pull out and throw in a pan, but I’m not tied down to eating the same exact meal every day.
I like doing this because it prevents me from buying fresh ingredients and wasting them because I don’t use them before they go bad.
3. Only buy healthy snacks.
I am lazy.
I will not get up and buy unhealthy foods if I already have snacks in my kitchen. When I don’t buy unhealthy things, I don’t eat them. I don’t keep bags of chips in my house for “when I need a treat” because I know myself well enough to know that I will come home from class some day and eat the whole bag in a sitting.
Instead, I stock my house with things like string cheese and Fiber One bars, so that they are more convenient to grab when I’m feeling a bit snacky.
4. Add more fiber in your diet.
I’m going to channel my friend Amanda for this one. Fiber is great for you. It keeps you regular, and it fills you up so that you aren’t just eating forever. (But doesn’t that just sound nice?)
Fiber has been shown to be a key component in successful weight loss programs, and it’s really something that everyone should make sure they have enough of. There are lots of fiber rich foods these days, like breads and pastas. Try switching out your normal grains with some of these.
5. Experiment with different seasonings.
Healthy food has a reputation of being bland, but it doesn’t have to be. Play around with seasonings until you find a combination that you like. I personally put garlic powder, onion powder, and salt in almost everything. They add pizazz to even the most simple things like black beans.
Plus side is that spices are cheap and keep for a long time. Use these to make even the most basic foods taste interesting.
What are some of the tricks that you use to eat healthier?