My approach to food is consistently healthy, but in the last few weeks (holiday, Christmas, New Year) I have gradually lost my excitement for the food I put on my plate, and although I was still eating well, I wasn't enjoying the process as much. But yesterday after a fairly indulgent Sunday afternoon I literally woke up wanting greens and cauliflower and colourful nutritious food and I started making lists of the fresh and amazing foods I needed to lay my hands on. This got me to thinking, what do I do to stay on track and maintain energy for a healthy approach to food?
Here's some of the things I do, which might work for you....
1. Plan your meals
Spend time looking at your cookbooks or using the internet for inspiration. I frequently use Pinterest, YouTube and Instagram for recipe ideas, and I am constantly signing up for new healthy food blogs where I get exciting recipes straight into my email. Blogs I like are Cookie and Kate, Chocolate Covered Katie, Minimalist Baker, and To Her Core (which also has a great eBook introduction for beginners).
2. Go shopping
If you buy good food you will eat good food. For those who share a house with friends, partners, children, my advice would be to create some space that's just for you... a drawer or a shelf in your fridge and freezer, plus a cupboard or shelf where all your lovely wholefoods can live together. I love organising my pantry and having a fridge re-shuffle so that everything looks nice, as this inspires me to cook.
3. Keep a food diary and take photos
This is something I periodically dip in and out of, the diary is brilliant because it holds you accountable and in the early stages I am often really surprised at how much mindless snacking I do (sometimes eating because food is there, rather than because I am hungry, or eating an entire meals worth of calories while preparing my dinner). Taking photos of your meals encourages you to present something you feel proud to eat and generally this means more thought has gone into it and it will be healthier and portion controlled. Share your photos on facebook or other social media platforms... there's a whole community out there of people who just share "What I eat in a day" scenarios, so don't for a second think it's a crazy thing to do.... all the Hispsters are doing it.
4. Have the things you enjoy
Leading a healthy lifestyle means that its a life-long approach, not a temporary fix, so this means you will need to exercise balance and yes that means allowing less healthy meals into your life. Birthday cake, dinner parties, meals out, kids baking, champagne, chocolate, indulgence... life is to be lived, enjoyed, celebrated and food is an important part of that. Remember that one day or one meal isn't going to make you fat or change your body. Your hard work won't be undone by one day of lounging around eating cake and feeling unmotivated. But if you do that for 5 or 6 days in a row then YES it will have a detrimental impact on your health and physique. Seeing what you eat and how you exercise as a long term approach is definitely the way to happiness and success.
5. Meal Prep
I love meal prep. Little containers of joy which mean I won't have to dedicate time every day to preparing something wholesome and delicious. Meal prep doesn't mean eating the same meal day after day, what it means is preparing extra of something so you can enjoy it on more than one occasion. I tend to make a good size batch of steak mince cooked with onions, courgette, peppers, spices in a tinned tomato sauce. I portion it down, will have a couple of meals during the week and the rest goes into the freezer for another time. This can be replicated with healthy stews, soups, curries etc. Yesterday I did 'Mix n Match' meal prep method, where I steamed some kale and broccoli, roasted sweet potato with lots of spices and herbs, cooked some onions, peppers and chorizo and chicken on a tray, boiled some eggs and grated a load of carrot, courgette and beetroot. Now I have a whole array of healthy goodies ready to go and I will simply add spinach, avocado, steak, seeds, nuts, feta or whatever takes my fancy if I think my meal need something else.
6. Challenge yourself to try new food
It may seems daunting at first but it's such a liberating experience to try new foods and combinations and ingredients. I absolutely love the voyage of discovery and those "where have you been all my life?!" moments!
Good luck and have fun.
Joanna x x