First Steps to Getting Healthier
If you’ve read my book Dieting Reinvented, you know that one of my first recommendations for getting healthier is to take inventory of your meals. This means taking one to two weeks to notate everything you're eating (including those leftover snacks your kids don't eat or those two bites from your partner's plate) to get an understanding of what you're eating and where you can make improvements.
While many people think that they're eating healthy, when they lay out all of their food on paper, they too start seeing unhealthy patterns. What I usually see with new clients is a beige meal plan focused on refined carbohydrates like cereal for breakfast, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch, and potatoes, a caesar salad, and breaded chicken or fish for dinner. While there is nothing inherently wrong with these foods, your food color palate tells me a lot about whether you’re getting enough nutrients into your diet. Food is to be enjoyed, but its first function is nutrition. Food is intended to provide us with the necessary vitamins and minerals that are necessary to thrive. If you're not fueling yourself well, you'll feel and see the repercussions of a poor diet.
How do you enhance your meals and optimize nutrients?
The first step is to create a list of non-starchy vegetables (preferably not from cans) that you enjoy.
If you can’t think of five vegetables that excite you (white potatoes and corn don’t count), ask yourself if you’ve tried veggies prepared in different ways. A boiled brussel sprout is going to taste a lot different than a roasted brussel sprout with seasoning and some avocado oil. A cooked carrot will taste sweeter than a raw carrot. Carrots, cucumbers and jicama dipped in hummus are a lot more exciting than raw veggies on their own.
If you really can’t stomach the idea of vegetables, I highly recommend investing in an air fryer. An air fryer will allow you to make a variety of delicious and healthy veggies in minutes. Some of my favorite air fryer recipes are buffalo cauliflower, roasted mushrooms, roasted sweet potatoes, and bacon wrapped asparagus.
Once you’ve created a list of veggies you enjoy, carve out some time to meal plan and grocery shop. How do you want to use your favorite produce? Do you want to cut up some veggies and dip them into hummus? Maybe you want to start creating veggie filled bowls. How about a cauliflower mashed potato for your dinner side? If you take the time to write out what you want to prepare for the week, you’re more likely to stick to your plan then if you buy random produce with the hope of using it before it goes bad.
After grocery shopping, take some time to prepare your vegetables. This might include washing and peeling them or slicing them in your food processor. After I go grocery shopping, I take 30-60 minutes to slice carrots, red cabbage, bell peppers and mushrooms in our food processor for salads and bowls. With everything washed and chopped, I don’t have any excuses for not being able to put together a quick and healthy meal.
How many veggies should you eat each day?
Visualize a plate and cut it into quarters.
1-2 of those quadrants should be filled with veggies per meal.
If you’re planning a large brunch out, a side of veggies might not sound appealing with that french toast, but you can balance a starch heavy meal by eating a large salad with a variety of veggies later in the day.
Eating healthier doesn’t have to be complicated. I challenge you to take some time this week to follow the steps in this week’s blog and see if it makes a difference to how you eat and ultimately how you feel.
Want additional support? Sign up for a consult to see if we’d be a good fit to work together either virtually or in-person (San Diego).