How do you approach healthy eating to promote body confidence and a better overall well being? I’ve found that almost everyone has their own personal approach. Do you eat what you enjoy, but pay attention to portions? Do you choose a popular diet and closely follow the “rules” of this diet? Or, do you go all out and limit yourself to clean foods and count your calories?
Personally, I allow myself to eat what I enjoy but limit my portions and focus on making healthy choices. I try to stop when I feel around 80% full and definitely before I have that “stuffed” feeling. At times, I will loosely track my calories using MyFitnessPal if I am making something with quite a few ingredients. I have also benefited from listening to what my body is trying to tell me and avoid foods that make me feel bloated or sluggish.
In the past, I’ve tried different diets and restrictions. It was about a year ago when I held myself to only eating the minimum 1300-1500 calories a day. I lost weight, but I felt like I was “missing out” on the things I enjoyed. And, once I met my goal, I went back to over eating high-calorie junk foods.
Now that we’re seeing the first signs of Spring, I’m hearing more people talking about going to the gym more and discussing what they’re eating to get “summer ready”. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t thinking about it, too. I’m not changing much in my diet, but I am being more cognizant of what I’m eating and how much of it I’m consuming. And, it is my goal to finally make healthy eating a lifestyle rather than a temporary change to get results.
Breakfast: I’ve never craved food first thing in the morning. During the work week, I wake up and immediately stumble to the Kuerig. Only after I have a few sips of coffee can I wake up enough to wash my face and pick out my clothes for the day. I may have a banana on my commute to work, but I normally fast until it is lunch time.
When I do have a little more time to prepare in the mornings, I love fixing a parfait for breakfast. Normally, this includes ½ cup of whole milk Greek yogurt, 4-5 fresh strawberries, 1/4th cup cranberry granola, and a drizzle of honey on top. Try it. It’s amazing. If you’re curious about calories, it comes out to around 350-400 calories.
Lunch: Lately, I’ve been feeling great throughout the day when I eat some type of protein for lunch alongside a piece of fruit or a salad. This week, it was a turkey brat eaten alongside a superfood kale salad. I’ll admit it doesn’t sound (or look) like the tastiest meal, but it may surprise you! Together, according to MyFitnessPal, these items come out to around 380-400 calories.
I’ve noticed that, if I eat heavier or carb-heavy foods, I get bogged down and a little tired at work. So, I try to keep it light at lunch and save the heavier foods for dinner.
Snack: It’s usually during my drive on my way home when I start to crave something sweet. Or salty. Or unhealthy. Really, the McDonalds located at the halfway point on my way home makes me crave everything bad. Lately, I’ve been keeping some Simply Balanced Fruit Strips or some type of peanut butter crackers in my car. These little snacks have kept me from sliding into a drive through. The fruit strips can be found at Target. They taste like Fruit Rollups, but better. And, they’re only 45 calories each!
Dinner: This is usually the meal I just can’t wait for! As soon as I leave school I am thinking about what I want to eat for dinner.
This week, I made large salads with some type of protein (chicken or a sliced veggie burger patty). Yes, my salads are also topped with croutons, sunflower seeds, and ranch; but, I exercise portion control. I believe, with things like toppings, it is especially important to read the jars and bottles to see just how much we are meant to consume. I didn’t realize how out of control my ranch dressing portions were until I read the back of the bottle!
The salad pictured was actually ordered on a trip I took to Atlanta, Georgia with friends. I wish I could have a salad like that each day! Similar to this salad, I try to include a variety of toppings (in moderation) to keep things interesting.
Of course, this plan is not set in stone for each day! If we have leftovers from eating out the night before, you can bet I’ll bring them for lunch the next day! One of my favorite things to do is to try and share food with my friends and loved ones. So, if a cinnamon roll looks like the perfect shareable snack during our Sunday coffee meetups, I’m going for it! I allow myself to have the foods I enjoy while also keeping portions in mind and incorporating healthy choices.
I want to know! How does healthy eating look for you? Do you have any tips for healthy and delicious meals?