Toolkit to Make it Simple
Eating healthy most of the time is desired by all but many of us find it challenging and even confusing. Anything which needs to be sustainable has to get easier to do and be simple to follow.
As eating healthy is a daily need and good nutrition is vital for optimal health, there needs to be good meal planning strategies to keep it simple.
- Do not micro count calories : Calorie counting at every meal gets tedious and stressful. You can totally omit calorie counting if you can prioritise protein with healthy fats in every meal along with plenty of vegetables. Avoid sugar and processed or packaged foods which are the major source of unhealthy calories.
- Have a staple list of healthy stocks: Make a list of healthy foods which you can eat often or even daily. Ensure that you have those foods readily available for any meal or snack which you may need. Eg: eggs, paneer, nuts, yogurt, olive oil, ghee, vegetables. This way, the chances of your eating healthy become very higher. You are most likely to eat whatever you store at home.
- Plan your meals ahead: To think what to eat daily, almost 3 times a day becomes a big task to manage along with other daily chores. Hence, it’s smart to plan for a week ahead of time. Accordingly, you can buy the needed ingredients and also batch cook in advance for busy days. If your meals are prepared and available to you at the right time, there are high chances of you staying on track with the plan. If you are planning to cook when you are already hungry, any amount of willpower may fail. Hence meal prepping is the MOST effective strategy for sustainable healthy eating.
- Avoid food restriction: Most people make the mistake of eating less or going into calorie restricted diets. Doing this is setting yourself up for failure in the long run, as you may lose few kilos easily initially but when you stop this diet, all the weight or even more comes back. It is not humanly possible to eat less for long, and will lead to other health issues like nutrient deficiencies, fatigue and hair fall.
- Be creative with food: All aspects in life become interesting with a splash of creativity. Healthy food can be made very appealing and tasty with simple creative touch. When you have recipes of your liking, it becomes easy and fulfilling to stick to those meals regularly. I find that most people are not able to pursue healthy meal plans as they are unaware of interesting options of recipes. Youtube is a great resource and many Nutritionists also provide great recipes and ideas on healthy cooking which can be altered as per your needs. Pinterest is another great resource for recipes.
- Avoid short term goals:Most people enter the weight loss journey with an idea of losing weight as soon as possible. They view weight loss as the ONLY end goal which is the greatest flaw in expectation and end up feeling demotivated. Your health goals should be more holistic with a focus on how you feel overall, your energy levels and mental state after you shift to a new eating and lifestyle plan. Any food plan which makes you feel energetic consistently, manages stress better and is nutritionally complete, will be sustainable and will help you to be in optimal health lifelong. Weight loss will follow when you eat healthy regularly. It is important to have realistic goals with small steps of progress which leads to big results in the long run.
- Learn few healthy recipes: The single most effective life skill for healthy eating is to learn to cook few easy recipes. When you cook, you are sure of the ingredients added and can tweak the recipe by avoiding unhealthy items. You can manage the amount of fats, fibre and flavour as per your goals and choice.
- Avoid comparison: It is a very common practice to compare our progress with others. But when it comes to health, it’s best to avoid comparisons which can lead to unwanted stress and confusion. This is because our health and weight loss depend on numerous factors. They depend on our sleep quality, stress levels, mode of cooking, social lives, emotional health, supplementation and activity levels. Each body is unique with its own specific pace and requirements. We need to respect this fact and be focused on what works for our health goals. This makes it stress free, simple and an enjoyable journey towards better health.
Pramila Mundra is a Nutritionist, with a Masters Degree in Food Science and Nutrition. The key aspect of her approach is to handle health issues mostly by correcting the food choices and lifestyle. Her Meal planners and programs are customised and holistic as per the individual food likings, work routine and limitations. She runs her own Health clinic at Adarsh Palm Retreat, Bangalore. You can find her on Twitter @PramilaMundra
August 21, 2022