Healthy Eating: Simple Ways to Plan, Enjoy, and Stick to a Healthy Diet
As the saying goes “Healthy eating leads to healthy living”. With “Healthy” becoming a popular buzzword these days, most of us are making a conscious choice to eat organic and clean. Eating home cooked and organic food is one way of defining healthy eating. Simple food and meal plans, cooked in healthy oils, in measured proportions, with no processed ingredients included, is how clean eating is defined. Healthy eating is an option. Taking this option or ignoring it, influences one’s healthy living quotient.
Eating right has become a serious issue with the urban population since it is a predominantly sedentary lifestyle. It would, however, be unfair to contribute this urgency only to the current lifestyle solely. The fact is we are hankering after our careers and ambitions, over-working ourselves to make our dreams a reality. We are not even aware anymore that we are losing touch with the fact that relaxation, enough time to sleep and eat are an indispensable part and parcel of living a healthy life. This is an alarming trend. Time, today has become an almost impossible aspect to schedule. Planning workouts or even a simple run has become a task. In such a situation the only way to salvage our health is by planning our diet. Planning does not imply “dieting” as mostly understood. Rather it is a scheduled way of eating while making sure that the food eaten is nutritious and hence beneficial for our health as well.
Planning a Meal :
Before a meal is planned, remember the golden rule that every medical practitioner and nutrition specialist adheres to and advice about: Eat breakfast like a king, Lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper. This is the vein of a good meal plan.
A meal plan would include:
- Breakfast ;
- Snacks; and
Expectation setting and cleansing :
Expectation setting: Before you embark upon the planning bit for meals, define your goals:
- Why are you interested in making a meal plan for; and
- What will keep you motivated?
For someone, it might be a medical condition, or an old dress one wants to fit back into, or it could be a fitness goal or it might be about confidence renewal, once more. The bottom line is never to lose sight of the goals and the motivation, to keep up with the meal plans.
Since time is a constraint, one of the ways to keep a track of what we are eating, along with the intake amount, is to stick to a meal prep. A “meal prep” is one of the most used coinage these days, which simply means meal preparation, a couple of days ahead.
The key here is to make a list of the recipes, you want to cook for the week or the next couple of days. Keep the recipes simple, ingredients healthy as per your health goals and gather the ingredients. The meals here would be for breakfast as well as for lunch.
That evening craving at the office to eat something is often the culprit that ruins a day of healthy eating. The hunger pangs that inflicts us, after a controlled portion of lunch, can be devastating. This is the time when you need to control the urge to give in to fast food. Hence, carry you portion of healthy snacks. It might be nuts like almonds, pine nuts, peanuts, cheese or yoghurt. If you are interested in salads, you may carry cucumber, carrot and beetroot sticks etc for snacks.
Believe in starting over and stick to your healthy meal plan:
One of the worst psychological set up that we commit to is the thinking that “once a diet plan goes off track (with one of the meals or the snack we are supposed to eat), we consider it a ruined day”. Almost all of the times that this occurs, it is usually an excuse we make to ourselves for cheating on the decided meal plan. Here is where we go wrong. One meal plan, gone off the track is not a ruined day. Start over but do not give in.
This is one of the crucial ways to stick to, for your healthy diet plan to stay on track. Cleanse your house, fridge and the food shelves of sugars, candies, chips and processed food. The intention for your healthy meal plan is to eat healthy, rather than target weight loss or gain. Clearing off the saturated fat and sodium-rich foods will not only help you ward off temptation but will also help you get over the craving for these foods.
A hint of a healthy Vegetarian meal prep recipe: (Total calorie: 1204)
Breakfast (264 calories)
- A cup of hung curd or non-fat yoghurt
- Half a cup of a mixture of oats and nuts
- Half a cup of strawberries
Snack (105 calories)
- 8 Walnut / Pecan halves
Lunch (330 calories)
- 1 cup of the sautéed mix of onions, tomatoes, garlic and broccoli
- 2 cups of green leafy vegetables seasoned with olive oil
Snacks (70 calories)
- 2 Oranges
- Two and a half cups of Bean & vegetables
Healthy eating is a choice. Unlike the perception that most of us have, healthy food is not necessarily bland and dull. If you pause and think about it, you will realize that most of the time a food item, a dish or a cuisine appeals to our sensory system, due to its look and presentation. Likewise, various vegetables and fruits mixed and matched together can make even the rawest organic dish look irresistibly tempting.