The importance of a healthy diet has been hammered into our heads so many times, many of us might have forgotten the utter importance of truly heeding this advice; it sounds cliché and we dismiss it; or we tell ourselves that we must change our eating habits, but do not take action. Like most efforts at significant, lasting change, the best results will come with gradual change until the way we want to be just naturally morphs into the way we actually are. You have it in you to become a healthy eater; so, make a vow to start moving towards that new you today.
As a vegetarian, I find myself absolutely loving all types of foods that most non-vegetarians would probably not even touch. But, once I stopped eating meat, I became more open to experimenting with different types of foods that I myself probably never would have touched either before my transition. There are so many delicious foods out there that are also healthy—the two concepts are not mutually exclusive. If you want to get more fruits, vegetables and other healthy items into your diet, make a vow that you will try a new food every day for the next week or two weeks; you may end up loving something you never thought you would, like the meat-like soy food tempeh, a tropical fruit smoothie made with papaya and mango, or vegan cookies.
Set a Specific Goal
Intentions are great—they send a message that you want to make positive change; but without a solid plan in place, they will remain in the realm of thought. In order to incorporate more healthy foods into your diet, you must set specific goals to help you achieve that. Vow to eat at least two types of vegetables with every meal this week or have fruit instead of ice cream or cake for dessert at least three nights. If your breakfast choices have some room for improvement, sit down and make a list of food you would rather eat ,and then go out and buy them.
Pair Up Vegetables with Some Heartier Items
As much as I love healthy foods, I have never been big on plain vegetables, especially when they are raw; people think vegetarians live off salad, but I am actually not a big fan. But, eating these foods in their pure form is very healthy and when paired with some heartier items, can make a great snack or meal. You can spruce up those carrots or red pepper slices with some delicious hummus, tahini or a low-fat dressing. I love to add some bulk to salads by throwing in some healthy fats in the form of olives and nuts, a sprinkling of cheese and some chickpeas, which are a great source of vegetarian protein and fiber.
Get Clear on Your ‘’Why’’
This last tip is a bit ‘’self-help’’ like, but highly relevant to the topic at hand; we need to get our minds right to get our diets right. If changing eating habits was so simple, everyone would do it. But, we have a lot of stuff going on upstairs that sabotages our efforts; throw in some good old fashioned laziness, and we have a recipe for failure. If you are thinking about changing your eating habits, there has to be a reason why. Something inside you prompted this desire. Maybe you need to lose weight or you just want to feel healthier. No matter what the reasons, get clear on them and go deep. Ask yourself why you want those things and whatever answer you get, ask yourself why you want that. If you want to lose weight ask yourself why? If the answer is to be able to do more with your kids, why do you want to do more with your kids? Once you uncover the core values, you will have a much easier time sticking to the plan.
Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who enjoys blogging about all things diet and cooking; she recommends checking out Hamilton Beach recipes for some great heart-healthy meals and snacks.