I assume you know what a nutritious diet consist of, so I won't talk about healthy nutrition. We are all aware of what's good and what's bad for us in terms of food (at least, I hope so). All we need is to be prepared.
Here are 3 tips to help you be prepared:
1- Meal Planning: this is the hardest one for people, but it pays off tremendously in the end. My husband and I spend our Sunday evenings cooking for the week (okay I cook, he keeps me company). We drink a glass of wine and have great conversations, our bonding time if you will. For about 2 hours, I cook our weekly meals. I make 3 to 4 different dishes (see below for ideas) and put them in containers. I hard boil eggs. I cook meat and fish which can be paired with a salad as a quick meal. We both bring our food with us to work. We eat real, nutritious food, and also save money!
2- Keep snacks handy: if you're hungry and you're away from home, the easiest thing to do is stop somewhere and grab food. Unfortunately, there aren't many healthy options around. Keep water with you at all times; have nuts or seeds handy (they make a quick, healthy and fulfilling snack, and don't need a fridge); and make your own trail mix, ensuring you keep a bag in your car or purse.
3- Eating out: you need to be mentally prepared for this one. There are healthy choices at most restaurants and coffee places. Not perfect choices, but at least options. Order foods that are wholesome, such as grilled and sautéed meat or fish, with vegetables, and with the least amount of sauce. No bread, no dessert, but enjoy a glass of wine if you wish. Remember, you're there to enjoy the people you're with. At the coffee shop, have a tea, coffee or any natural beverage, no food unless you brought some nuts to munch on. At the convenience store, fresh fruits and unsealed nuts or seeds are probably your only healthy options.
Here are some healthy menu planning ideas:
2 Brown Rice Cakes with almond butter, 1 apple & Green tea (this one is for people who just need a light start to their day);
1 Cup of cooked quinoa, with 1/4 cup of almond milk, chopped walnut, cinnamon & chia seeds (this is for people who have tendency to feel cold easily);
Smoothie with one avocado, an apple, 1 juice of a lemon, kale, spinach and celery with ground flax seeds (this is for people who have tendency to feel warm often);
1 omelete made of 2 eggs & 2 egg whites, chopped mushrooms & grilled asparagus, sea salt and pepper & green tea (for those who like some savory food upon waking).
Are you having a tough time changing the health habits of your significant other? Almost ten years ago, I met a great guy who is now my husband. When we met, we had the love of the outdoors in common, so our dating process was filled with kayaking, hiking, mountain biking and camping in beautiful British Columbia.
So we had the outdoors and traveling in common, which was fantastic, but when we decided to move in together, it wasn't an easy ride at first.
Because I enjoyed cooking, I was in charge of grocery shopping and meals preparation. And because he had an office job that required him to dress up, he was in charge of laundry and ironing (yes ladies: it's true, I don't do laundry!).
When we first dated, I was shocked at his fridge supplies: orange juice, milk and ketchup: that was it! He ate out every day, fast foods, hitting the Food Court at work, and a quick coffee in the morning: yikes! No fruits, no veggies! He also was allergic to dust, animal dander and every spring, had hay fever. He was covered in rashes on his legs and had one bowel movement every week (Oh my!).
So when we moved in, I decided to turn his health around. It was tough and I had to make small changes weekly because, let me tell you, I came across a lot of resistance. He used to say to his friends: "There is no food in our house", while our fridge was full. Because no junk food meant no fun to him. He used to say: "What is that? Bird food? It looks funny" at every meals during the first year.
I took it slow and Each week I changed only one thing:
Introduction to meatless dinners
Fresh Fruits salads for snacks
Almonds and dark chocolate for hiking
Tasty salads with goat cheese, walnuts, olive oil and balsamic vinegar
I never bought junk and made his lunches and breakfasts: he saved money (which he was very happy about) and in spite of the resistance, he ate it all, admittedly with some complaint at first, but soon realized his health was improving. I also added supplements and acupuncture to his regimen.
Today, he has no allergies, his skin is rash free, and has a daily bowel movement. He probably will be embarrassed I'm mentioning his daily bathroom ritual (Dr. oz opened a whole new world to us since he talked about poop). He's never sick with the flu and hasn't miss a day of work in years. He loves healthy foods and actually will request my brown rice stir fry dishes, grilled asparagus, quinoa salads and smoothies. Of course bad habits die hard. He still likes fast foods and will enjoy it once in a while, but at least not every day and keeps telling me, he owes me his health. So it's all worth it!
When you find it difficult to keep your kids or partner on a healthy path, remember that in the long run, they will thank you and appreciate the effort you made on their behalf. Just do it slowly, incrementally and with love, the reward is so worth it.
And for the record, I brought health to my hubby but he opened up a new world to me, and now I really enjoy reading the news and watching science fiction movies with him. In the past ten years, we have grown from each other and our relationship is stronger each year because of it.
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