How to Start Eating Healthy

Sep 5, 2013


Making healthy changes isn't always easy. Add in the stress of jobs and family and plans and it can be even harder. When I moved into my own apartment after college, Michael was always over and we eventually began grocery shopping for two. It was around that time that we really began to take a look at what we were eating and became educated on what was going into and onto our bodies.

It hasn't been an easy or quick process, and the more we've learned, the more tweaks and changes we've made along the way. Looking back to our first year of marriage, there were a few simple steps we took at first that really made a big difference.

1. Read the labels. It's amazing how many artificial ingredients are FDA-approved to be in the food on your grocery store shelf. From MSG to GMOs and everything in between, our modern day foods are full of chemicals, preservatives, and artificial ingredients. Educate yourself on each ingredient and its affect on your body. Odds are, if you can't pronounce it, it probably doesn't belong in your body. Also, companies have gotten smart and learned to label their foods somewhat deceptively, using alternate names for those well-known "no-no" chemicals. Stay smart and educate yourself!

2. Have more food in your fridge than your pantry. When I was in college, my pantry was full. I had boxed macaroni, chips, pasta, and other processed foods whose expiration dates probably would still be good today. And along with that long shelf life comes not-so-good preservatives. My fridge was bare, aside from a half gallon of milk and some cheese. When you start to introduce real, chemical-free, whole food in your life, that pantry-fridge stock inverts. I realized that the foods that are healthy for me have a shelf life. There were veggies, fruits, meat, and dairy- fresh and hardly requiring any ingredients lists. This also means that when I shop at the grocery store, I shop the outer edges, produce to meat to dairy to the health-food section, and don't have a need to hit any of the middle aisles.

3. Stay organized. This one is probably the biggest factor in eating healthy. If I didn't prepare ahead of time, the drive-thru was my go-to for any meal. If I had nothing at home, I'd resort to eating out, which wasn't good on my body or my wallet. When I started to notice the biggest difference in our eating habits was when we planned out our menu for the week, including lunch and breakfast, and shopped accordingly. This usually meant that I spent some time after getting home from the grocery store prepping our food for the week, cutting up fruits and veggies. I found that this extra twenty minutes was well worth it if it meant that we were armed with healthy meals for the week or easy grab and go snacks.

I often hear people complain that eating healthy takes so much more work and time, and that it's much easier to just grab happy meals on the way home. In some ways, that's true. But once you get familiar with whole foods and how you like to prepare them, the process gets easier. Finding recipes that you love is important, too, as I've found that flavor is key to beating boredom with meals!

 If you think about the effects of these so-called "easy" foods, many of them leading to hormone disruption, disorders, emotional problems, disease, obesity, and cancer, hopefully you'll realize, like I did, that the effort it takes to eat healthy and the benefits it brings far outweigh the tiny bit of time you saved eating something more convenient, but more dangerous, for your body. Don't get me wrong- I'm definitely not perfect at this and there are times when we give in to our old habits. This is still a work in progress for us, but the better we eat, the better we feel, and that's great motivation to continue bettering ourselves.

Do you struggle with eating healthy? Have you found anything that makes it easier?

Today is day three of Blogtember! You can find me linked here!

16 comments:

  1. I love eating fresh fruits and veggies--and that note about noticing whether your fridge or your pantry is where you store most of the food is a very good one! Sticking to raw ingredients is, in my opinion, the best way to get tasty, healthy food!

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  2. Now that I've moved from an Asian country to Europe, I find eating fresh so much more difficult. But it's worth it; you really can't tell what strange and unhealthy ingredients are thrown into that canned item!

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    1. Wow, I guess I took for granted being able to run to the grocery store and grab produce! I hope you find something soon! But you're right- the ingredients lists are a joke these days!

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  3. Hi from Blogtember :) #3 is the hardest for me - I have wanted to / thought about / planned on making a weekly meal plan, but just have never done it. Maybe this weekend will be the weekend I buckle down and make a meal plan :) We try to eat foods that are as close as we can get them to their original state, and try to stay away from foods with ingredients that I can't pronounce :)

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  4. I love that you are sharing being healthy with more people. Nutrition has been a big part of my life and I read loads of well researched books on it. I have been vegan since 2008 and went whole foods plant-based not long after reading The China Study. It has benefited my health in more ways than I would have ever expected.

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  5. Very true about the fridge/pantry ratio! I'd never thought of it like that.

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  6. love this post! trying to become a lot healthier & these are such good tips!! New follower:)

    http://arielle-ellesentries.blogspot.com/

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  7. Reading the labels is HUGE! As soon as I started paying attention to that stuff, I started eating so much healthier! Like, Peanut butter should not have hydrogenated oils. GROSS!

    Great post!I didn't even think to go this way with the prompt for today!

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    1. Tell me about it! Even the stuff you'd think would be somewhat healthy for you, like some nut butters, have all kinds of crud in them! It's so important to be aware! :)

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  8. I am trying to feed my family more vegetables, and not just potatoes with meals. I've also been having fruit for everyone for breakfast. It takes a little work, but I know that it is better for them!!

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  9. These are great tips. I've been struggling with this lately as life has been super stressful and crazy. Some days it just seems easier to grab something through the drive thru or go out to eat then for me to spend time in the kitchen. This gives me a great way to get back on track.

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  10. I completely agree that it's hard to get started but once you get started it's a lot easier. I think that the hardest part for me is coming up with a variety of meals and not just sticking to the same few things. It really helps to have a wide variety of stuff that you like when you are trying to eat healthy :)

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    1. I agree! You know, I used to be the pickiest eater! But slowly as I've forced myself to try new things, and not just once but cooked in different ways, I've found that my taste buds have followed suit and opened up a whole new area of possibility! I hope you find some great recipes and give it a shot!

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    2. Thanks! You are completely right about cooking things in different ways. The amount of ways that you can prepare vegetables is amazing :)

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  11. I love this! Getting started is the hardest part.

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  12. LOVE this!!! I started eating healthy this year, and it has been so freeing! I love the energy and the variety it offers! Keep posting natural.. glad I found your blog!!
    -Katie

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