When it comes to healthy eating, many people like to over-complicate things by setting unrealistic expectations for themselves. This oftentimes leads to discouragement which eventually leads to failure. Why do you think this is? well for one, I feel that we as a society have a skewed idea about what clean eating should look like. I believe that is partly based on what we see in tv ads, magazines, movies, etc… I know for me personally, making the switch to a healthy lifestyle was challenging at first. I would often spend grueling hours preparing healthy meals and making sure every calorie was accounted for. This got exhausting after a while especially when I ran out of new appealing healthy recipes to try. As time went on, I realized that it was much easier to eat a bowl of oatmeal after coming home from the gym at 8:00pm than spend 2 hours preparing, cooking, and cleaning up.
After a while, I just started to accept that there would be many nights where I would just want to come home, take care of my Son, have a bowl of cereal and go straight to bed. I became ok with this. In fact, I preferred this for a while as it became less stressful for me especially on the really rough days when I just didn’t feel like doing anything. I’m also very lucky to have a self sufficient Husband who helps me out on days like that by preparing his own meals (sometimes mine as well). If you’re reading this honey, I love you! (ok enough with the cheesiness here, sorry).
Let’s face it, we’re all busy and after a long day at work, we don’t always have the time or energy to devote to chopping up and measuring ingredients.When we begin to learn the basics of eating healthy and start making better choices throughout the day, it becomes less of a chore and more of an acquired lifestyle instead. If weight loss is your goal, it’s important to stay away from refined sugar and incorporate plenty of fruits and veggies instead. This doesn’t mean that you cannot enjoy your favorite dessert from time-to-time, it simply means that you should do so in moderation. When we choose nutritious and healthy foods, the weight begins to shed naturally with very little effort, given that we remain somewhat active as well.
I have compiled a list of tips for healthy eating for the lazy (like me).
- Choose 1-3 staple meals and just eat them regularly. For me, it’s usually veggie patties, canned fish such as sardines/tuna, and quinoa. Of course, I don’t usually eat them plain but like to add things like corn, black beans, avocados and other items to help spruce them up. I get creative when I actually do feel like it but for the most part, I like to have foods that are easy to prepare.
- Try to incorporate one salad a day with lunch and dinner. To make things even easier, get the prepackaged mixed greens and some cherry tomatoes and just make your own home made salad dressing using minimal ingredients such as oil and vinegar.
- Avoid counting calories. It’s OK to have a general idea of the calorie content for certain foods but avoiding excessive calorie counting or just stop it all together. It can be time consuming, overwhelming, and extremely discouraging.
- Drink a lot of water. I know, you hear this A LOT. But that’s because it’s true. Studies show that drinking water can help with weight loss by suppressing hunger and speeding up our metabolism. To make this easy, buy a big jug , fill it up, and keep sipping it throughout the day.
- Get a slow cooker. Buying my Crockpot this year was by far one of the best decisions I’ve made. I couldn’t believe how long I went before owning one! I like that I can literally throw a bunch of ingredients in there (there are a ton of healthy crock pot recipes you can turn to by the way), turn it on, and have it ready in a few hours. I oftentimes do this Sunday night so that by the time I wake up Monday morning, the food is already cooked ready to be packed for lunch for both my Hubby and I. Best of all, there’s usually a ton of leftovers depending on how much I add which makes for great lunches/dinners for the next few days. This saves me a ton of time.
- Replace at least one meal with a smoothie. I like to use pre-cut frozen fruit for this since it saves me prep time. Smoothies and juices are excellent ways to get your daily fruit & veggie serving recommendation met. Best of all, they’re quick to make and the possibility of recipes is really endless. I like to add peanut butter to my smoothies especially in the mornings because it keeps me fuller for longer. If you can commit to having at least 1 smoothie a day, you will likely feel energized and revitalized for the whole day. Try it!
- Don’t beat yourself up for eating cereal for dinner. What I want to know is who said that said cereal is only meant for breakfast? I personally can eat it at all hours of the day. Just make sure it’s a healthy kind and try to stick with just one serving at a time. I get this one:
Arrowhead Mills Organic Cereal, Spelt Flakes, 12 Ounce
- Get a carton of easy to pour egg whites. This one was so crucial to me as I absolutely hate separating the egg yolk from the egg whites…what an annoying process. What’s great about this too is that I can simply add some tomatoes and perhaps some onions and make it into actual meal. Again, not sure who it was that said eggs were for breakfast only because I can eat them anytime.
- Buy frozen veggies and pre-packaged sauteed dinners. This is where I am going to direct you to Costco and Trader Joes. I cannot stress to you how easy my life has become after simply buying frozen, cut up vegetables to add to my stir-fries and other dishes. Also, their nutrition content tends to be higher since they are usually frozen at the peak of freshness. Also, Trader joes has some wonderful healthy pre-packaged sauteed dinner options such as a quinoa/kale/sweet potato combination.
Although this is by no means an exhaustive list, these tips really worked for me and many others that I know. It’s important to remember that when it comes to dieting (I hate that word), you should consult your physician to pinpoint the plan that’s right for you. Do you have any advice on eating healthy when you’re lazy or just don’t have time? leave it in the comments down below.