I've found that eating healthy is a practice. The more you practice, the better you get, and the easier the "work" becomes. The more I stay on track during the week, the less guilt I feel when I "cheat" at parties, or on extravagant nights out with my boyfriend.
With practice (and I'm still practicing) I have found that it's all about balance. I truly believe that if we don't deprive ourselves, but eat healthy 80-90% of the time, we can find peace with ourselves and our occasional off-track binges. I've compiled five relatively easy (once you get the swing of it) habits to live by when it comes to maintaining a healthy diet and to help me stay on track.
1. Start your day with breakfast.
Breakfast helps you start your day with the right amount of energy. Yes, this motherly advice is one of the things you should have listened to. Find something that tastes good and fills you up. Don’t be afraid to eat first thing in the morning. This meal is the starter to your day so stick to a protein (quinoa, avocado, nut butter, turkey, pea, hemp, rice, soy proteins, veggies or fruits and a small amount of healthy (brown rice, oatmeal, live grains) carbs.
2. Curb your cravings with an apple.
Apples are a delicious and nutritious way to halt any regrettable food decisions throughout your day. They're also one of the most accessible snacks out there. Try to eat organic whenever possible, and add a little nut butter for extra energy.
3. Allow yourself to splurge twice a week.
If you're going to go for it, why not really go for it? It's so sad when I see people not allow themselves the gift of enjoying something sinful! It’s OK to have a sweet here and there that isn’t a part of your normal routine. In fact, it makes it much easier to stick to a healthy routine knowing that you're going to be having a special treat during your week.
4. Make a healthy version of the real thing.
I have a lot of intolerances, but I love food! I love French delicacies and trying new things. So whenever I feel deprived I nip it in the bud and I get creative in the kitchen. There are lots of healthier alternatives to white sugar and flour and most of these can just be substituted in for the real thing. Try these for sugar: coconut sugar, honey, maple syrup, lucuma powder. For flour: almond flour, spelt flour, amaranth flour.
5. Be nice to yourself.
You are only responsible for our own experiences. It isn't your friends, family or loved ones who make you eat poorly and treat yourself unkindly. It’s only YOU. So do yourself a favor and transfer all the kindness you give out to the world to yourself and just see what happens.