Finding the truth among the false information and fad diets can be tricky. I’m all about keeping it simple. I asked seven dietitians to share their top tip for healthy eating, and they delivered!
Do you do any of these tips already? Maybe pick one and start making a small change this week. Remember, all it takes is small sustainable changes – that’s what really leads to lifelong habits (no crash diets here!).
1. Stock up with snacks at work
Andy de Santis – Andy The RD
Bring a handful of nuts or seeds to work everyday with a piece of fruit (like an apple or banana) for an afternoon snack. So many people I see don’t plan ahead for snacks at the office which means they are either go hungry, or end up eating whatever is around (which usually is not the most nutrient dense selection).
2. Have food ready to go
Anna and Alex – The Biting Truth
Meal prep matters. How many times have you ordered take away or gone out to eat because you didn’t have food on hand? We are all busy. Work, family, friends, exercise, housework are realities for many people, however, they should never be at the expense of your health. Here are some ways to make meal prep easy:
- Keep a supply of healthy pantry ingredients and freezer staples on hand at all times.
- Keep items like microwavable brown rice pouches, cans of beans and tuna and frozen vegetables on hand so that you can easily whip up a healthy meal.
- Spending a couple of hours each weekend preparing for the week ahead (e.g. cook a batch of quinoa, boil some eggs, make a batch of hummus, roast veggies) will help to take the stress away from healthy eating when you get home late or when the unexpected happens.
3. Pick some “non-negotiables”
Aidan Muir – Ideal Nutrition
Have some form of “non-negotiables” with your nutrition that you meet every day or every week. You could aim to eat 5 serves of vegetables every single day. These non-negotiables don’t necessarily need to be viewed as rules, but they could be viewed as priorities that encourage you to rearrange other aspects of your life to try to fit them in.
One of the other successful habit I see from people who consistently eat healthily, is that they often handle things well when they go “off-track.” Usually when this happens they just enjoy the moment, then move on and go back to eating healthily, rather than using it as a reason to continue eating poorly. So if life gets in the way and you don’t achieve your non-negotiable for the day/week, just move on and try to get it next time.
4. Try “crowding”
Lyndi Cohen – The Nude Nutritionist
Most people know what they ‘should’ be eating but struggle with willpower, motivation and find they keep falling off the bandwagon. If this sounds like you, a really simple strategy to try is something I call ‘crowding’. Instead of focusing on what you’re ‘not allowed to eat’, focus on what you want to eat more of. For example, if you normally tell yourself “I’m not allowed any sugar, I’m trying to be good” then try this instead “I’m trying to eat 2 serves of fruit every day when I get a sweet craving. I am going to have a serve of yoghurt with berries”.
When most people try to eat healthily, they simply eliminate food without adding anything in. This often leaves you feeling deprived and wondering what in the world you’re allowed to eat. When you practice crowding, you add in more healthy food and naturally crowd out unhealthy options – without feeling deprived or falling off the bandwagon. It’s a simple mindset trick that works well.
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5. Wherever you are, make it work for you
Rebecca Gawthorne – Nourish Naturally
Make your environment work for you. What I mean by this is, make it easy for yourself to eat healthy by filling your fridge and pantry with healthy foods. Replace your “not-so-healthy” foods with healthy options and always have something healthy ready to eat on hand. That way, your environment is working for you, not against you; it takes will power out of the equation. And that is extremely important when you are tired or stressed!
6. Know why you’re eating healthy
Melanie McGrice – Fertility and Pregnancy Dietitian
I find many of my clients know what to eat, but they struggle to eat well, especially when everyone around them is indulging in junk foods. As with any change in life, the secret is to know your why. If you have a good reason to eat well, you’ll be more likely to do so.
One of the best reasons for women’s fertility is our egg health. Even if you’re not ready to have children yet, the food that you eat now will impact your eggs which contain the genetic material for your future babies. So, before taking a bite, ask yourself whether that food will be nourishing your eggs or doing them damage. It’s a great way to change the way that you think about food.
7. Eat with others
Stefanie Valakas – The Dietologist
Enjoy your meals with others. This is the foundation of the mediterranean dietary pattern. It’s the social connectivity surrounding food that continues to be lost in our modern society with our handheld devices taking up most of our attention! Sitting to eat with others helps you slow down the speed in which you eat, which has been associated with an ability to maintain a healthy weight.
What is your favourite from this list? What healthy habits of your own do you use?