The year 2021 is around the corner, and the COVID-19 pandemic has markedly changed our habits: schedules, the amount of time we spend at home, stress levels, and, for many people, eating habits. For some, these changes have not been for the better. If you fall into this category, you may find it difficult to get back on track. What can you do to stop a wayward diet?
Rather than aiming for complete dietary makeovers, I recommend my clients focusing on five simple strategies to help them reach their nutritional goals.
1. Begin With Small Goals
Changing your eating habits is not an easy thing. I always advise my clients that instead of insisting on perfection, they try to change us. For example, decide that at least half of what is on your plate is healthy. Say, a hearty serving of salad with your slice of cheesy pizza or a healthy serving of roasted vegetables and brown rice with fried shrimp. If your goal is to have half or more healthy foods on your plate, it can make a big difference to your diet’s overall quality and is more sustainable in the long run than trying to be perfect.
Obviously, the more healthy options you choose, the better, but half or more is a good starting point.
2. Keep Temptations Away.
The need to mindlessly snack all day is real if you are at home more than you used to be or work in or near the kitchen. A handful of this and a little of that can quickly turn your daily diet into a mess.
Eliminate the visual temptation!
Don’t leave food on the counter. If you can’t see it, you’re less likely to grab it on impulse.
Also, try to avoid using the kitchen as your office. Set up your job or business in another place, never in your kitchen.
3. Follow A Diet.
When you eat at home more often, you can quickly lose inspiration to prepare meals. Contact your nutritionist, coach, or join one of our nutritional programs at Dr. Gala Health Coaching LLC.
Here is another easy way to prepare healthy meals without too much mental effort is to structure your meals into three parts.
- A protein: such as fish, chicken, eggs, or beans, vegetables
- A carbohydrate: such as quinoa, rice, or noodles
Once you choose an item from each category, combine them to make your meal. This formula makes it easy to prepare a salable dish quickly. For example, you can have chicken with brown rice and cauliflower, a noodle bowl containing shrimp and broccoli, soy sauce, garlic, sesame oil, or a black bean burrito with roasted peppers and onions.
To make the process even easier, and have options when you can’t go to the grocery store, keep your pantry and freezer stocked.
Canned fish, beans, and easy-to-cook grains are some staples you can add to your pantry. For your freezer, try cooked pulled chicken, edamame, and other veggies.
4. Make Your Eating Experience An Entertainment.
Instead of eating because you are bored, start cooking to avoid boredom. Now that you can’t do some of your usual activities, you may have more free time and learn how to cook new things. Experiment with new recipes, new foods, or watch some cooking shows.
If you’re like many people, you’ve probably noticed that your food repertoire is relatively narrow. “Most people rotate between 10 and 14 recipes,” according to the Department of Nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Expanding your options can help you eat more variety and make healthier food choices. Cooking them yourself can also provide a source of maintenance.
5. Use Your Creativity
To improve the nutritional quality of your recipes, make a few simple substitutions. Cooking pan? Do you intend to add a little whole wheat flour in the place of white, eat take out? Instead of your usual full-on, consider choosing an appetizer where a menu item is and then adding a salad, vegetable, or other healthy option from home to complete the meal, she says.
By making small substitutions, you can improve the nutritional content of your meals. By deciding to work with a professional to transform your eating habits, you are proactive with your own health and loved ones.