4 ways to improve your eating habits today
Wow, this summer has been crazy and not in the thrilling backpacking through Canada way but in the stressful chasing my tail sort of way. If you have read previous posts then you may have read our initial plans for the summer which included traveling through Canada and Northeastern US. but alas, our plans were changed when my 13 year old daughter blew out her knee, she tore her ACL, MCL and meniscus. So instead of spending our summer visiting cathedrals and rollicking on the shores of Prince Edward Island, we stayed home for her knee surgery and subsequent and frequent physical therapy appointments and follow up doctor appointments. Boo Hiss, not fun for any of us, especially her!
One of the challenging parts of this chaotic schedule of ours this summer is staying healthy. Because we can't really do anything active our outings center around sitting on your behind activities like movies, which include popcorn and milk duds. While it's tempting to use these circumstances to eat convenience food I had to remind myself that this is life and life will always throw curve balls like this. It doesn't mean I have to bail on our healthy eating so I needed to do some trouble shooting to keep us on the right track. I came up with four ways to improve our eating habits that we could start today!
1. Plan for your diet cheats- know your vice and plan for it.
For me this is chocolate, I know that I crave chocolate, especially when I have the mully grubbs. Chocolate does not have to be bad for you, some have even suggested that there are some health benefits! woohoo! But in all seriousness, when I get a craving for something sweet, I need to have some type of stash that is satisfying but won't derail me. For me this is either Ghirardelli Intense Dark Chocolate Pascha or Endangered Species chocolates. I personally like to keep mine in the freezer, I like it kind of crunchy and I'm more likely to nibble on it.
Who doesn't like Ghirardelli chocolate?! This intense dark options is the perfect balance of chocolate with a hint of sweet. You can buy it pretty much anywhere but it is available on Amazon at a discount.
The key is knowing what are the foods that are your weakness and finding a healthy alternative (they are out there!) and keeping some on hand for when you are temped to jump the rails on your healthy eating. Also, remember you can treat yourself to indulgent things when eaten in moderation. If it's cake that is your thing, have a slice, just make it a small slice.
2. Roast your veggies
What a strange recommendation right? I mean we all know that eating vegetables is a healthy choice to make but let's face it, vegetables aren't exactly exciting.... but they can be! What's great about summer is farmers markets are brimming with fresh veggies right now! Stock up on some of your favorites and try roasting them. By spending a few minutes preparing them and then roasting them you not only have a yummy side dish but healthy options for when you are feeling snacky!
Tossed in some olive oil and sea salt then roasted I have found that even my picky eaters enjoy them. This blog post over at Kitchn is an excellent resource for how to roast your veggies, this is exactly how I do it!
3. Find a Substitute for White Sugar
Sugar is a part of many areas of our lives, whether it's in our coffee, tea or foods. The problem with regular sugar is it can wreak havoc on your blood sugar. Fortunately, there are a variety of healthier options for sugar, my go to sugar replacements are coconut sugar, monk fruit and dates.
* We keep Nutiva coconut sugar in our house at all times. It is popular with everyone and we use it in our coffee and the kids love it in their steel cut oats.Coconut sugar is made from fresh coconut tree sap and because coconut sugar has a lower glycemic index it does not cause your blood sugar to spike! The hint of natural caramel, similar to brown sugar, makes it delicious! The substitute rate is 1:1
* Monk fruit is another popular options in our house. We keep Lakanto Monk Fruit in our house at all times. It comes in both powder and granulated, we prefer the powdered. It tastes just like powdered sugar with zero net carbs, zero calories, and zero glycemic index. Lakanto has a perfect mix of monk fruit and erythritol without the cooling after taste. It is lifestyle friendly for Keto, Diabetic, Candida, Paleo, Vegan, Low Carb, Low Sugar, NON-GMO, and All Natural. Even though it is a powdered sugar, I use it in coffee and love how quickly it dissolves. The substitute rate is 2:1
* Use organic dates or date sugar as a substitutes for white sugar. Date sugar is made from dehydrated dates that are ground into a granulated, sugar-like consistency. You can substitute it for brown sugar on a 1:1 ratio. You can also use whole dates (they aren't just your grandma's snacks!) in baking my pureeing them. I also love to slice whole dates in half and pack each side with almond butter, it makes for such a delicious and satisfying snack. I also use whole dates to sweeten my homemade almond milk, it gives it the most delicious flavor!
4. Drink more water and make it fun!
There is no disputing that water is the most important part of any healthy lifestyle, we simply do not drink enough water though! There are so many tempting drinks available out there from Starbucks and other delicious and convenient stops. The problem with iced coffees and other drinks from convenience locations is they are filled with calories and do little ( or nothing) to keep you hydrated. But I understand that water can be well, boring....but it doesn't have to be! Consider adding some natural flavors to your water by adding fruit and herbs to your water. This is a very simple thing to do, you can by an infuser if you would like but we simply add the fruit and herbs directly to our glass of water. You can use fresh or frozen fruit and fresh herbs. I prefer frozen fruit when fresh fruit is not in season. The perk to frozen fruit is that it doubles as ice! To encourage more water drinking I bought these super cute 1 pint water bottles that look like small milk bottles. I add fruit to them, put the lids on them and store them in the refrigerator this makes it super convenient to grab and go! Here are some of our favorite flavor combos:
Cucumber & Mint
Peach & Blueberries
Orange, Lime & Lemon
Raspberry & Lime
Pineapple & Mint
There are many healthy "hacks" out there that you can incorporate into your daily life. The best news is you can gradually make some changes over time by incorporating new and healthy habits. I'd love to hear from you, what are some of the ways you are choosing healthier habits?