Making Healthier Food Choices

The one realisation I am constantly returning to as I undertake the #PrettyHeathyProject is how when learning to live a healthier lifestyle everything comes down to choice. Working out how to navigate this seemingly endless array of decisions can be pretty daunting, and it’s easy to see why so many people revert back into old habits. But it isn’t impossible! Here are three ways to support making healthier food choices.
Making Healthier Food Choices
Now, full disclaimer here: the main reason I’m writing this post is because I was pretty unsuccessful in my efforts to make healthier food choices myself last week. Even though I’ve gone through some of these processes before and found them to be successful, last week I kept making decisions which had a negative impact on both how my body felt and the way I thought about it. So how to we set about making better decisions in order to become healthier?

Prepare

When it comes to making healthier food choices, preparation can make the world of difference. Rather than choosing what to eat as and when mealtimes arrive, planning meals and snacks at the start of the day or even the week concentrates the decision-making element to one specific time. This also means naturally avoiding making food choices when hungry, which can lead to eating faster, less healthy meals and snacks. Plus, if something isn’t on your meal plan then you’re much less likely to buy it in the first place. There are plenty of online resources for healthy and satisfying recipes – it only takes a quick Google to get started. And be aware of what you’re drinking, too, as this can have a huge impact and is often forgotten!

Track

Tracking what you eat can be a bit hit and miss – it works much better for some people than others. However, whether it’s through an app (I use MyFitnessPal as I think it has the most comprehensive list of food and information) or on paper, keeping track of your food intake can work wonders. Firstly, it shows you what food choices you make on a daily basis, which can serve as a great starting place for beginning to make healthier decision when it comes to eating. Secondly, I’ve always found that tracking my food encourages me to eat healthier all-round and keep my healthy choices on course.

Forgive

Nobody makes the healthiest decision for every single meal, snack and drink – and nobody should have to. If you go out for dinner with your family or partner, indulge! If you’re invited to a sizzling barbecue in the sunshine, go and eat as much as you want! If you’re on your period and all you want to eat is chocolate, that’s perfectly okay. Food cannot become a source of guilt and unhappiness: if it does, it can become difficult to want to eat anything at all. If you feel guilty about a food choice you’ve made, practice forgiveness and move on; make a different decision next time.

Healthy choices aren’t just about what you eat and what exercise you do. Deciding to forgive yourself and enjoy the moment are ways of moving towards a healthier mindset, which is just as important as physical health and wellbeing.

Today I didn’t do so well at the first two steps here, but I’m definitely practising the third. Before I go to bed today I’ll be planning out tomorrow’s meals so I can improve on the choices I made last week. As well as this, here are my three recommended reads for this topic:

    1. Eat whatever you damn well please & don’t feel like you have to answer to anyone Katie tells us in her amazing post on why she’s stopped caring about what she eats
    2. Rhianna wrote a brilliant piece about why we need to be careful when subscribing to the advice given in so-called ‘wellness’ blogs
    3. Every week Anne runs #HealthHour, and coincidentally last week’s was all about food – check out her round-up post to see how others manage their day-to-day food choices

Last week has helped me to realise that my goal ‘make healthier food choices’ was too broad and ambiguous for me to follow. I want the #PrettyHealthyProject to be flexible, but I also need to find ways to work healthier choices into my daily life, so this week I’ve set myself a more specific challenge.

I’ve had a FitBit since last Christmas and I absolutely love it. Whilst I was at uni I used it a lot and tried to get the recommended 10,000 steps a day, which wasn’t too difficult when I chose to walk from my accommodation to main campus a couple of times a day. Since being home, however, I’ve not made any effort at all on this front. So my new goal is to get my 10,000 steps every single day this week – be sure to check back next Monday (and on my Twitter all through the week) to see how I get on, and why I chose this particular challenge for the week.

And, last but not least – big shout-out to the wonderful Jess who has decided to undertake the #PrettyHealthyProject herself and make it work for her lifestyle.

As always, keep up with how I’m getting on using #PrettyHealthyProject on Twitter and Instagram. Try tagging your pretty healthy pictures and tweets with it too – I’d love to see others like Jess getting involved!

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How do you make healthier food choices day-to-day? What’s your go-to healthy breakfast, lunch, snack or evening meal? Let me know in the comments!

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4 Comments

  1. 26/07/2016 / 11:44 am

    Snacking is without a doubt my biggest downfall when it comes to healthy eating! Generally speaking, my main meals a relatively healthy – but snacking is always my undoing! I definitely think you’re right in saying that ‘make healthy choices’ is too broad a goal – it’s much easier to pick smaller ones. When I’m trying to get back on track with my healthy lifestyle, I try to start with small specific goals – like eat a healthy breakfast, then add in a healthy lunch, dinner, snacks, etc.

    Love this series so much though! It’s nice to see an honest, measured approach to a healthy lifestyle. So often posts like this are super extreme and make me feel crap – but this has made me feel quite motivated!

    • 27/07/2016 / 11:17 am

      When I’m at home I’m exactly the same! I normally find at uni I just don’t let myself buy lots of things to snack on except fruit, but back home there’s so much I can just pick up and eat when I’m bored… I like the method of doing it one meal at a time. I normally find that if I eat a healthy breakfast I’m more likely to want to keep it going and eat healthier for the rest of the day!

      Thanks so much – that’s the idea! I feel like so many fitness/health blogs make it seem as though you can just shift your whole lifestyle overnight and I wanted to show that it doesn’t work like that, and also that taking your time with it sets you up better for keeping to that lifestyle in the long-run.
      Lx

  2. 25/07/2016 / 9:49 pm

    I do all the food shopping and cooking. Generally, it is all good, and as I do 2-3 hours a day walking with my dog, (3hrs 15 mins today) I can afford the odd ‘treat’. Tonight, it all went west. Julie fancied steak, which I don’t eat. So, I got myself a ‘Finest’ Lasagne, as well as a tear and share bread, and a bottle of Shiraz. I dread to think of today’s calorie intake, so just as well I will probably be walking for three hours tomorrow!
    Best wishes, Pete.

    • 27/07/2016 / 11:12 am

      Wow, three hours of walking per day? How many miles is that? That all sounds lovely though…

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