Healthy eating can seem daunting because it’s often shown or taught in terms of weekly meal plans, food prepping, new ingredients, macro tracking… and when it feels far away from where you are now, or like you have to start from scratch, it’s going to be incredibly challenging to get started because you can’t see how to get there from where you are.
But there’s a way to make it feel easy and will help you build habits that are sustainable long-term.
Instead of scrapping everything you’re currently eating and starting from zero, look at how you can make small tweaks to your current intake to improve the nutritional balance. But rather than thinking about tweaks that involve removing food, look to find where you can add stuff in.
For example, if you eat cereal and fruit for breakfast, add in some light greek yoghurt for protein and a sprinkle of seed and nut mix for healthy fats. If dinner is meat and potatoes, fill half your plate with non-starchy vegetables. If you find yourself mindlessly reaching for the chocolate for an afternoon energy boost, consciously add in an extra snack of a piece of fruit and a protein shake for extra nutrients and sustained energy, and then have a small piece of chocolate. Instead of thinking about cutting out coffee or soft-drink, how much extra water can you add in?
This helps to change your mindset from scarcity (“I have to cut out all the foods I enjoy”) to one of abundance (“Look at all this extra food I’m adding in!”). In doing so, you will no longer associate healthier eating with restriction and being deprived of your favourite foods. Therefore, your long-term habit change is going to be significantly improved because you aren’t starting out by having to make massive changes to your current lifestyle and you can see how it can be incorporated with relative ease.
Once you’ve started this process and made it a habit to eat more nutritionally balanced meals, then you can start looking at extra tweaks to your nutrition, depending on your goals. But these changes will be so much easier once you’ve already established the habit of eating more nutrient dense foods and balanced meals versus doing this right at the beginning of your journey.
So, if you want to start eating healthier but don’t want to scrap everything and start over, find ways to add in more nutrient dense foods to what you’re already eating. You can improve nutrient intake and balance, and achieve your goals, without cutting out the foods you love.