Healthy Food Habits

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This month, I’ve decided I want to blog once a week about health and fitness, and hopefully after that on a more regular basis. In the last 6 months I’ve become more conscious about what I eat (and more guilty when I’m not eating well!) and since I’m trying to make a change in my LIFESTYLE, I thought it was important to make it a bigger part of my blog too.

If I can hold myself accountable in this space for the things I do to feel better about my health and my fitness, then maybe it’ll stick a little more. Right now, I have days where I eat amazing & other days where I just can’t be bothered. I don’t diet and I’m not trying to lose weight, but I think that by simply eating WELL and making exercise a regular part of my life, I’ll just feel better about myself overall.

So today I want to take a little bit of time to analyze my food habits and see what I get right and what I get wrong.

In the last week, I did three main things to start off this new health/fitness journey of mine.

First, I became 100% aware of everything I was eating and when I was craving particular things. I know that since actually TRYING to eat better since the summer I’ve made some good changes to my day-to-day diet, but I wanted to see what I do that I don’t like and maybe don’t realize that I do.

Second, I didn’t make myself feel guilty about what I was eating every day because I really wanted to see what things I eat and how it affects my day, my mood, etc.

Third, even though I ate the way I would if I wasn’t dieting or doing anything out of the ordinary, I still tried to be conscious and make healthy decisions. I noticed that the things I ate are things that I genuinely WANTED and things that I wasn’t forcing myself into.

There are a few things that I don’t like about my current eating habits.

A) I still drink too much coffee. I think it’s because of stress and probably addiction, but my coffee intake has gone way up, which means my sugar intake has gone way up too.

B) I give in to my cravings WAY too easily. Just one more coffee? No problem. Halloween candy? Just a couple. I KNOW that it’s not good for me and I wish I had more willpower. I hate the way I feel after eating too much sugary or salty (junk) food and yet I still give in when I’m craving it.

C) I don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables. I love going to the grocery store and picking out fresh fruits and veggies for home… I actually really LOVE eating them, but for some reason I don’t do it enough. That’s not to say that I don’t eat ANY, because I do eat a lot, just not enough. Some of my favorite meals are strictly vegetarian, so why don’t I have more of them in my diet?

D) I don’t drink enough water. I’m really lucky to be one of those people that will drink water over just about ANYTHING else. The only other thing I love as much as water is milk. My problem is that I don’t like drinking in general. It’s a weird thing of mine, but I don’t even buy drinks when I go out to eat. I just don’t like to.

E) I let myself snack until too late in the evening. I know it’s bad for me to have a snack after dinner, for example, but I still indulge a little too much. It’s especially tough when I work until 10pm because I come home STARVED. The good thing is that I will usually eat something light (this week I opted for a cup of homemade chicken noodle when I got home) but I still think that I shouldn’t BE hungry past 8pm.

I think these are my five big problem areas. I notice them every day and yet I don’t take the steps to FIX them. So my goal for the next week? Be conscious of THE BIG FIVE at all times. Make an effort to indulge less, eat more fruits, drink more water & cut down on snacking.

I KNOW that it’s easier said than done. But this isn’t some kind of diet plan. It’s things that I’ve done in the past and that make me feel really good. When I snack less into the night, I feel better in the morning. When I drink less coffee, I feel less jittery and get to sleep earlier. They’re all things that should be natural in my every day life. I know this won’t happen in one week. I know I’ll cheat. I’m okay with that. But the goal is to slowly make these BIG FIVE problems slowly disappear. 

Enough about the things I’m doing wrong. What am I doing right? Well here are some foods that are now a REGULAR part of my life. I’m really happy that in the last year I was able to make these foods a regular part of my life, rather than a less healthy alternative.

Here are some of my favorite healthy foods and snacks.

– Regular unsalted, uncooked almonds dipped in laughing-cow cheese. I literally have loads of almonds and squares of low fat laughing-cow cheese in my house at ALL times. It is the perfect snack, and I usually aim for a handful of almonds and one cheese per day. Perfect replacement for chips.

– For breakfast when I’m running out the door: All-Bran cinammon/oatmeal breakfast bar with a Danone (DanActive) probiotic yogurt drink. It’s quick, easy, and only about 200 calories. I love grabbing this as I leave for school or work early in the morning, or as a snack in the afternoon.

– Gluten free (and practically calorie free) rice crackers & hummus. Another perfect snack when I’m craving salty foods, but so much healthier.

– Multi-grain or whole-grain bread. I used to think that white bread was the ONLY bread, until I realized I really didn’t like the taste. It’s so full of ingredients I can’t even pronounce, I feel a million times better now that I eat bread that is actually GOOD for me.

– 100 calorie pouches of crisps or “cookies” by Mr. Christie. I love cookies- I mean who doesn’t? But I’m so much happier now that I satisfy my craving with a little pouch of 100 calories. Obviously it’s not the same as eating a real oreo or fudgeo, but it’s a totally guilt-free snack, and tides me over until my next meal.

– A sliced up tomato with slices of bocconcini cheese on top, toppped with some salt, pepper & olive oil. It takes about 2 minutes to make and is the PERFECT lunch for me. I’m always full afterwards and it’s just SO. YUMMY.

 I know that *technically* some of the foods above (those things right out of a box) aren’t the HEALTHIEST thing I could be eating, but trust me they are way better compared to some of the habits I used to have. Big food brands are trying really hard to incorporate healthier choices in grocery stores, so even though it’s *instant* satisfaction I don’t think that’s necessarily bad. These are just SOME of the little things I make an effort to eat to cut out the things that could be WORSE. I don’t thing indulging a little bit is bad, especially when it’s in a 100 calorie pouch. That’s enough for me, and I’m happy with that.

THAT being said, there are still a lot of things I want to change about the way I eat. If I’ve learned ONE thing it’s that I always feel fantastic after a good, healthy meal.

What are your problem areas in food? What are your guilty food pleasures? 

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14 responses »

  1. The coffee thing is tough. I used to drink my coffee black when I first lost weight after college but I just don’t enjoy it as much so I add a bit of cream now.

    I bet you would see a big difference in your energy levels if you tried to cut your coffee intake back. I was at about 4 to 6 cups a day at the beginning of this year and felt like CRAP and then gave it up for all of April and now I’m back to about 1-3 cups (usually only 1 but some days are just ONE OF THOSE DAYS!) and I feel so much better. I don’t get jittery or anxious anymore!

    Fruits and veggies is hard for me sometimes too. My favourite tips are to chop them up and have them on hand and ready to go and then I eat them with hummus or ranch dip. I also love adding veggies to things like pasta, spinach to smoothies etc.

    I think these are some great goals you’ve set for yourself. Good luck!

    • My “norm” for coffee is 1-2, but for me 3 is really excessive. I debated cutting out of my diet entirely for a certain amount of time like you, but I’m not 100% decided on that yet.

      I really like your idea of just having some healthy food handy & ready to go- that’s the easiest way to ensure it gets eaten around here. I’m going to have to make some time to do that. Thanks for the tips!

  2. Of course I read this when I’m eating a totally unhealthy unbalanced meal. My biggest problem is that I hate spending time buying and prepping food – even pulling out a can opener feels like too much sometimes (like tonight…). I’ve been trying to make Subway my quick and easy meal option again – because it’s one way for me to get some veggies into my body.

    I think it’s great that you found healthy snacking alternatives and have made them a regular part of your life.

    • I’m the exact same way as you are when it comes to spending time prepping a meal. I just hate doing it! It’s so time consuming when I could be doing other, more interesting things. I think it’s just a habit we have to pick up.. And eventually it’ll become second nature. Either that, or I’m going to need to marry one heck of a cook hehe 🙂

  3. Oh, Melissa, I can relate to so many things that you brought up… I drink way too much coffee, too (well, which is milk with a bit of coffee), I just don’t like to drink in general (which is why I drink absolutely not enough water during the day) and I give in to my cravings, too – mainly because I am at a healthy weight and don’t need to diet, but come on! I should still be able to say “no” sometimes.

    I’ve been trying to be more conscious of my diet, and I am thrilled to see that you’re doing the same thing… let’s motivate each other 🙂

    • That’s exactly it! I’m at a reasonably healthy weight so I feel like giving in to small cravings isn’t a big deal… But I bet it adds up quickly. I just want to FEEL good and to do that I need to be able to say no. It’s something we should definitely work on, and of COURSE we should motivate each other!! 🙂

  4. I can SO relate to a lot of what you’re saying here, although I *wish* I was one of those people who LOVED water. I don’t.

    My problem doesn’t lie with coffee, it lies with soda. I’m trying to get off it and I’m not buying any more 12-packs anymore because I know if I don’t have it in the house, my intake decreases dramatically. (Imagine that!) I also know I need to have at least one little treat in the house to keep my cravings at bay and me happy. And even though I blogged about not being a big ice cream lover, I think having that over something easier to nibble on is more helpful for me.

    I’ve been struggling a lot lately with my healthy eating and I think you just gave me the inspiration I needed to kick start my healthy lifestyle back into gear!

    • If I inspired you a little to get yourself back into some healthy habits, then this was a successful post! It’s nice knowing you’re not alone in trying to accomplish these kinds of things. One of the many reasons I love blogger friends! 🙂

  5. A great post Melissa and well done on your NaBloPoMo progress so far. How to kill two birds with one stone. When I wanted to quit drinking cola, I put myself on a 40 day and night ban, as you know from my blog I’ve done a couple of these food bans. When I did the cola ban I finished it and now only drink cola once in a blue moon (normally if I’m really tired and need an energy boost.) But to help break the habit, it helps to replace it with another. I changed my habit by replacing cola with water. Maybe you could try something similar with coffee? Food for thought

    • I’m seriously debating doing something like that- replacing coffee with… tea? I remember I did it last year, so it’s something to look into this year too. For now I’m trying to cut my coffee intake each day, but maybe I’ll give it all up for a while. Definitely something to consider.

  6. Pingback: Dear cravings: I hate you. « Press Play.

  7. I stopped buying soft drinks about a year ago (unless I go to the movies) and that made a big difference I think. However, my snack weaknesses are chips. Salt & Vinegar Pringles seriously are banned from my eye sight!

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