The benefits of adopting a healthier diet are many: increased energy levels, a stronger immune system, sustainable weight loss, a reduction in bloating, reduced inflammation, less cravings and a more positive mental attitude are just a few.
95% of your serotonin is created in your gut so beyond weight loss, the most common thing you can expect from changing your diet is a more positive outlook on life, higher productivity and a fresher & clearer mind.
However, KNOWING the benefits that would come from improving your diet is one thing. Putting it into practice is another.
This is because your way of eating is a deeply engrained habit that you don't always feel you have much control over.
For example, when you go to the supermarket, do you tend to buy the same food over and over again? Are you a sucker for takeout when you are tired? Do you treat yourself to sweets when you are sad?
Those are all habits you know don't foster your desire for a fitter body & a fresher mind... but you do them anyway because you're programmed that way.
Improving your diet requires changing those habits and here are a nine hacks to make that easier!
1) Meal prep. Making healthy meals from scratch can be tedious and time consuming but if you prepare a few things in advance, it becomes much easier. Imagine opening your fridge to a whole bunch of delicious foods you have prepared in advance and can combine into amazing meals. Wouldn't that make eating healthy a lot easier than if you open your fridge to a lonely unwashed salad and a bunch of raw vegetables?
2) Make a list. Take 15-20 minutes every week to seek out some new recipes that require little time & effort to prepare. Make a shopping list based on the ingredients you´ll need and get going.
3) Develop a few new staples you enjoy and are quick to make. We all have our fallback meals for when we are short on time or can´t be bothered thinking. Mine used to be a toasted cheese & tuna sandwich. Now it varies from season to season but it´s generally a kale salad or a chickpea, tomato & vegetable "throwinthepan" kinda job in autumn/winter.
I always make sure I have all the ingredients for these things in my fridge & pantry. The latter requires a jar of chickpeas, a jar of chopped tomatoes, an onion, a leek, some vegetable stock & some hot sauce (optional) at a minimum. If I happen to have more vegetables on hand I´ll just add them to the mix.
4) Go frozen. This is a good way of always having vegetables on hand. I always have frozen organic peas in my freezer and tend to throw them in pretty much anywhere when I´m desperate for something to add.
I´ll also generally have broccoli & cauliflower florets (to make cauliflower pizza :) You´ll find the recipe for it among another 65 quick and healthy recipes on FITBODYFRESHMIND.
5) Choose pre prepped. Choose vegetables that have been washed & sliced in advance. Alternatively, wash and cut them yourself before putting them in the fridge. It takes away the hassle of doing so when you need them and reduces cooking time when you´re hungry!
I always keep a Tupperware of washed spinach & kale in my fridge so that I can add some leafy greens without any hassle to an omelet, a smoothie or a stew! If the greens are ready and clean you are more likely to eat them than if you have to go through the hassle of washing them!
6) Don´t be afraid of canned foods. Always read the ingredients and if possible buy glass jars as opposed to aluminum tinned foods. Chickpeas, black beans & chopped tomatoes are some of the things that always come in handy! Just make sure you rinse the chickpeas, lentils or beans thoroughly as otherwise they can cause bloating!
7) Don´t be afraid of dried pulses. They take a little longer to prepare because they require soaking (this is really important) but they last forever in your cupboard. I´ll often soak & cook up a big batch of brown lentils or coral lentils on the weekend and then stick it in a Tupperware so I can add them to salads, soups, curries or anything I dream up during the week.
8) Buy whole grains. Quinoa & oats last forever in your cupboard and are excellent whole grains that are packed with nutrients, have a low Glycemic Index and will make a happy addition to a breakfast, to snacks or as an easy lunch. Again, cook up a batch of quinoa on the weekend and roast some delicious vegetables and make a dressing. This is super simple and one of the things I get people to do when they do my 10 DAY REAL FOOD RESET which is included in FITBODYFRESHMIND.
9) Strive for improvement, not for perfection. Often people give up because they set the bar too high and they believe anything less than perfection is failure. It is not. The way we shop & eat is a result of deeply engrained habits.
The key is to create new habits and this doesn´t happen overnight. Find one or two new healthy recipes a week to try out and see if they could become part of your new quick & easy staple meals. This way you gradually build up a new repertoire of healthy recipes you enjoy!
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