We all have excuses on why we can’t eat healthier. Maybe it’s because you’re busy and it’s much quicker to go to the drive-thru than make something at home. Maybe you have no time because you have a family to take care of, work obligations, homework to do, or you’re simply just too tired. I know that I’ve made a lot of excuses to not eat healthier, and it’s mostly because I’m too overwhelmed at the thought of completely re-hauling my diet. But there are small and easy changes that I can make that don’t take a lot of time or a lot of money. Here are some changes I have made – I hope you try them out too!
Somehow this makes a difference for me. Maybe it’s because I notice it more than my plain water bottle, so they more I see it, the more I drink out of it! I’m also more likely to take it with me. You can get bottles that stay cold all day, have a pop-up straw, or have a clip that can go on your backpack – there are a ton of options! Just make sure it holds a good amount (at least 16 oz) and refill it throughout the day.
2. Infuse your water.
Continuing on #1, plain water can get boring! Try infusing your water with lemon, lime, strawberries, mint, cucumber, watermelon, blueberries, even a cinnamon stick. My favorite is strawberry and mint together – so refreshing! This helps me to drink a lot more water.
3. Drink sparkling water instead of soda.
I gave up soda a while ago and what I really missed was the carbonation. Something about that bubbly crispness is so delicious. Sparkling water doesn’t taste as good as soda, I’m not going to lie, but it doesn’t contain any sugars or weird chemicals so I think it’s a fair trade-off. You can add a squeeze of lemon for some extra flavor if you need it. There are sparkling waters that are flavored, but be sure to check the label to make sure there is no sugar. La Croix is a good choice and comes in cans for convenience. Next time you’re at a restaurant, try ordering sparkling water instead of soda and you’ll cut out extra calories and sugar.
Instead of going for the standard iceberg lettuce (which has no nutrients), try using dark leafy greens or spinach. You can buy these in bags at the grocery store and they add a lot more vitamins and minerals to your salad. Salads are also a great way to add extra vegetables into your diets, such as tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, red cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower.
This is another great way to get more veggies into your diet. Sometimes I don’t want to eat another bite of kale or spinach, but throw that into a smoothie and it becomes delicious! There are tons of recipes out there, but you can also just throw in whatever you have and experiment. I like to use coconut water (it adds more flavor and contains electrolytes), almond/soy milk (for extra calcium) or Greek yogurt (a good source of protein) as a base and then I add a big handful of kale or spinach (fresh or frozen) and then some fruits to make it sweeter (mango, pineapple, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, etc.). By using frozen fruit, you don’t need to add any ice to your smoothies but you certainly can do that too. It’s easy to keep a few bags of frozen fruit in your freezer so you always have some on hand. Just be sure to not overload the fruits because they are high in sugar.
When I’m hungry and in between meals, I’ll eat the first thing I can get my hands on. If I’m at school, work, or out running errands, often the quickest option is to buy chips/candy/cookies from the vending machine. Carrying your own healthy snacks ensures that you won’t be tempted to buy something unhealthy, just because it’s convenient. You can usually buy snack-sized bags of trail mix or almonds, and there are granola or protein bars. These options are good because they don’t require refrigeration and they can be in your purse or backpack for awhile and still be good. You can also buy carrots or celery sticks with peanut/almond butter or hummus, but these are obviously more perishable. Just be prepared with snacks because you will definitely need them!