What's your excuse today for not eating well?
If you find yourself saying, "I know I need to eat better but _____" (fill in the blank), this post is for YOU. Yes, eating healthy takes practice. And yes, it requires some effort. But it's absolutely possible, even with a busy lifestyle. Trust me on this! I loooooove my chocolate, sweets, and baked goods, but I've learned to balance them as I stick to a few important things. I'll say it once, and I'll say it again: YOU CANNOT OUTWORK A BAD DIET.
Here are the top five excuses
why people don't eat well:
1. "I don't have time to cook!"
I get it, you're busy. But everyone is busy. This is when meal prep comes in handy. If you find you have some spare time when your kids go down to sleep, in the morning hours before work, or even an afternoon where things have slowed down, take the time to meal prep!! Trust me on this: meal prep saves me week after week. A lot of my recipes I've posted can be frozen and used for later times. I feel like mornings can be a busy time for me, and I always want to be sure my family gets breakfast. So, we will keep frozen muffins in the freezer for a grab-and-go item, put Kodiak pancake mix in our pancake pen so it's ready to use for a few days, or have bags filled with fruit and spinach for quick smoothies when we want those. Also, your grocery store has many items that reduce your time in the kitchen: bags of frozen fruit or veggies already cut up, prepared meats to throw in a salad, and pre-made salads/wraps that can be enjoyed on the go.
2. "It's not a priority for me."
If health is not a priority for you, what are your reasons? Sometimes it's good to evaluate what things in our life are keeping us from living a healthier lifestyle, and then make some modifications. Priorities change dramatically when illness takes place. As a nurse, I see this quite often. It's easy to take our health for granted, but we must do what we can now so that we can build up our body's defense system so it can better fight whatever comes our way. Work to make it a priority in your life. YOU ARE WORTH IT.
3. "I crave fast food and treats too much."
Intake of certain foods that contain high amounts of saturated fats, cholesterol, added sugars, and salt should be limited. However, it doesn't mean you can't ever indulge in treats. MODERATION is the key. Occasional fast-food meals and sweets in moderation are acceptable in a nutritious diet. Yes, I love homemade chocolate chip cookies! Yes, I love chocolate! Yes, I love Oreos and could eat them by the sleeve! Yes, I love Chick-Fil-A's waffle fries. Some of these things are a serious weakness of mine, and so I've learned to do a few things when those cravings hit... First, I try to keep them out of my house entirely. Keeping these "trigger foods" out of my house really seems to help... The phrase "out of sight, out of mind" really starts to play in. :) Second, when I decide to have them, I ENJOY them. As long as you are eating these things in moderation, you'll be okay. It's important to enjoy the things we love, and keep that positive relationship with food. There's too much "food-shaming" in the world or "food-guilt." Moderation, moderation, moderation. Third, if I have made other plans, and have written out my menu for the week, the thought of fast-food doesn't even cross my mind. Get out a notebook and write out your menu!
4. "I don't have enough money to afford healthy food."
Eating well costs no more than eating poorly. Chips, soda, fast food, and ice cream cost as much or more PER SERVING as nutritious foods. What helps me to not overspend, is writing out a grocery list and sticking to it! I always carry a list with me at the grocery store, and when I'm planning meals, rather than picking up "this" or "that," I stick to my list and stay within my budget. If possible, try to coordinate your meals so that if any ingredients are leftover, they can be used as rollover ingredients in the next meal.
(For an evidence-based discussion on this topic, click here.)
5. "I'll just take vitamins or supplements instead."
I'll say this once, and I'll say it again-- vitamin pills CANNOT make up for consistently poor food choices. They can help add to your healthy lifestyle, but don't use them in REPLACEMENT of healthy, whole foods. Real food, or whole food, is going to be where you'll find the vitamins and nutrients your body needs to function optimally; food coming from nature. Real foods don't have added ingredients or ingredients taken away. They are one-ingredient foods like "apple," "carrots," "spinach," etc. Stock your fridge with fresh, seasonal veggies and fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, healthy fats, and good-quality meats and animal products, and you will see changes coming your way!!