Healthy eating is all about finding that balance between health and enjoying yourself, in a way you can maintain for life. With the right tips and support, healthy eating can actually be very simple, delicious and exciting! We’ve rounded up 10 fantastic tips from some of our amazing #teamNCN bloggers to help you along your clean eating journey.
Don’t try to do it all, just do what you can! Try eating at least a salad a day, eat some protein or throw some chia seeds on your ice cream. Eating healthy is so important but so is living your life and having a relaxed attitude towards it.
When it comes to eating healthy, people always seem to want to complicate things: eat this ratio of carbs, fats and proteins… eat 4-6 small meals a day… sweet potatoes good, white potatoes bad…no food after 7pm…1200 calories/day for weight loss…etc. With so many rules and guidelines around, it can get overwhelming.
So my #1 tip would be to keep it simple! You can do this by:
a. Focusing on fresh, whole food ingredients
b. Avoiding foods with ingredients you can’t say or understand
c. Looking for packaged foods with 10 ingredients or less, or even better- avoid packaged foods!
d. Not worrying about fancy, complex recipes- get tons of flavour with fresh and in-season foods
e. Focusing on how foods make you feel, not the nutrition label- your body has an innate wisdom about the best foods for you.
If you can tune out all the noise, look inside yourself and eat real food, you will be doing more for yourself than all the calorie-counting and nutritional-fact-reading could ever do!
When training hard, the number one way to stay healthy and on track in my nutrition plan is consistency. I eat a variation of the same thing every day during the work week. I set out a plan that was as nutrient dense as possible, which includes foods such as a big salad and protein packed smoothie every day.
I have more flux on the weekends as I am travelling, racing and training away from home, but it ensures that when I come back on Monday morning, everything is set in place. This way of eating also ensures that when I get to race day, I know what foods work best with my digestive system. With so many numbers, workouts and races swirling in my head, it is helpful to have a meal plan that is simple and easy.
For me, creating a healthy lifestyle is about making small, mindful changes. The best change that I’ve made is adding smoothies and juices to my diet. It is the optimal way to provide your body with rich nutrients and vitamins for your health! Short on time? I reach for North Coast Naturals Ultimate Daily Greens – it tastes great and it’s the most well-rounded greens out there!
Focus on eating something fresh and raw everyday. A salad, raw veggies, a fresh fruit smoothie or even just an apple. You will get a good dose of the vitamins, fiber and nutrients found in fresh raw veggies, and as a bonus they will help to naturally stifle cravings for not-so healthy snacks.
It’s a simple and easy commitment to make. Instead of promising yourself you will eat perfectly all day, just commit to eating one thing that is fresh. I find focusing on just this one small thing motivates me to make healthy choices all day.
In terms of healthy eating I believe that we should look at every morning as an internal reset, it’s a chance for us to reset our system and get ready for the day. I’m a big believer in starting the day with 12 – 16 oz of green juice as it helps to alkalize and gently detox the body first thing in the morning. It’s a perfect way to get a large does of greens into your system that is easy on digestion and highly absorbable. Not only are we left feeling energized, but our digestion is ready for the day, our cells are hydrated, our body is more alkaline: meaning less inflammation and our blood sugar is regulated.
A great combination would be kale or swiss chard, celery, cucumber, lemon, parsley with the addition of 1 green apple for a touch of sweetness. Keep in mind for blood sugar regulation, keeping the juice mainly vegetable based would be a good idea and sticking with green apple to sweeten things up. You may also note that over time, that with a green juice every day, your reliance on caffeine may decrease as well!
One of my most useful healthy eating ideas is to always cook extra of the good stuff. Making a batch of brown rice or quinoa? Baking some chicken? Cook extra so you have it on hand to toss in salads or a wrap. Chopping up veggies for a soup? Slice up more than you need and store the rest in the fridge for a quick, healthy stir fry later in the week. Having healthy components ready to go makes eating well so much easier on those busy days!
Accountability is KEY for me! We often fall into the trap of mindless eating and it’s so easy to lose track of when/how much/what we are eating from day to day! Unfortunately this is how bad habits can be developed, and they sure are hard to break! I always make sure to stay mindful of my eating routine, making sure I eat every few hours in the day to keep my blood sugars stable, my mood up, and my energy high.
I also try my best to stay mindful when I eat anything, asking myself “am I truly hungry?”, “is this food beneficial for my health”?, “how will I feel after I eat this?” – asking these questions and staying mindful helps me keep my eating in check and always leads to better choices!
Rather than focusing on foods you ‘can’t’ have (and by can’t, I mean those foods that aren’t very nutritionally dense), focus on crowding them out with delicious, wholesome foods. By consuming these things first (think fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins), you’ll feel satisfied faster and cravings for sugar and salt will start to disappear.
Simplify! Once you remove the complications of extravagant dishes and bring food prep down to it’s simplest form you’ll take the stress out of the experience and find enjoyment in the food you create. Some of my favourite dishes have the most simple and fewest ingredients. Keep your food as close to its natural form as possible.