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Why is Eating Healthy So Hard?

The Healthy Experiment - Day 1photo © 2007 Andrew | more info (via: Wylio)There are many reasons why healthy eating may be a challenge for you. Slammed at work and at home? No time to prepare healthy meals? When your schedule interferes with a healthy eating plan, you are more likely to skip meals or simply pick what is convenient. If you go too long between meals, you may be ravenous and eat whatever you can get your hands on. Perhaps you are an emotional eater and turn to food for comfort. Or, you are still learning what healthy foods you do and do not like. Learning to eat healthy is a way of life and an education; give it time.

Slow Down

Once you start on the healthy eating journey, it is important to be patient with yourself and to select only one or two goals to work on at a time. Example, to get your veggies in every day. Small changes over a long period of time will equal big results. Try mindful eating. Pay attention to the tastes and textures of your food. You will notice that you will need much less food to feel satisfied and actually be able to enjoy what you are eating. 

It is also important to be mindful of your body’s hunger and fullness cues. Learning to recognize hunger cues can help you distinguish between true hunger and eating in response to emotions not related to hunger. By doing so, you can stop yourself from eating to the point of feeling uncomfortable. By eating instinctively, you are letting your body tell you what it wants and needs.

Forget Restrictive Diets

In 2007, a review of several studies on dieting from the American Psychologist concluded that people who go on a diet typically gain back more weight than they lose. The body has an amazing ability to recognize when it is not getting what it needs, so dieting will only cause powerful cravings for the foods you are restricting. Remember, eating healthy is a better way of life, NOT a diet.

Nourish Your Body

Eating healthy will provide your body with the nutrients it needs to leave you feeling satisfied; it will also give you more energy and help you manage stress. The foods that should make up the majority of your diet include fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, low-fat dairy products or dairy substitutes, whole grains, beans and healthy fats from nuts, avocado, olive oil and fish.

Healthy Eating Strategies

Up your protein intake! We suggest that you always include a protein with meals and snacks, especially at breakfast. Examples include cottage cheese, low-fat cheese, eggs, egg whites, tofu, nuts, peanut or almond butter, lean meats and yogurt. Try to include a fruit or vegetable with each meal and snack. Vary your whole-grain intake to include brown rice, bulgur, quinoa, barley, spelt and oats. Stay hydrated by drinking water throughout the day (try for a gallon!).

Prioritize Healthy Eating

Some days are so busy that planning a healthy meal can seem an overwhelming task. Even if you are limited on time, it will most likely save you time and money to prepare a healthy meal or snack at home instead of stopping at a convenience store or fast food restaurant. Or, hit the salad bar at your local supermarket. Generally, you can run in and prepare a salad just as quickly as stopping and picking up fast food.

Quick and Healthy Ideas

If you are limited on time in the morning, make some hearty oatmeal. Cook oats as normal and add cinnamon, blueberries and crushed almonds. Follow this with a quick protein shake. If you don’t have time to eat it at home, you can put it in a container and take it with you to work. For a quick and healthy snack, try mixing cottage cheese and trail mix. It can’t get any easier than that. Salads are always a quick and easy meal you can throw together for dinner. Just add vegetables, chicken or turkey, beans and low-fat cheese. Toast some whole-grain bread and spread some avocado on top.

Fast foods and processed foods will always be readily available, so finding the healthy eating strategies that work for you is essential to be able to stick to a healthy diet.

Sources: http://www.livestrong.com

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