One misconception that people have is that dietitians always eat healthily! And you must eat healthy every day. However, this is not the reality, there are going to be days when you will eat a piece of cake, chocolate, pizza, chips. That’s part of life and these foods can be part of a healthy and balanced diet too.
I see you feeling guilty and blaming yourself for not resisting those “temptations”. If you are experiencing this feeling, you should STOP now and think that it is OK to eat these types of foods sometimes. The problem is when eating these types of foods becomes a habit, and you don’t even realize you are eating them every day.
I also see that you feel demotivated to eat healthy most of the time, and frequently even without thinking you choose to eat a chocolate bar for a snack, or choose to order a take-away meal most of the days instead of cooking.
Here are 5 tips to find your motivation to eat healthily most of the time:
1. Think that eating is a way of nourishing your body
Food is our “fuel”, if you want your body to function well, feel less tired, anxious, stressed, less sick, and more energized and healthy, you should start being conscious of the foods that you eat. Every time you eat is an opportunity to nourish your body and feel good. Before you eat, think, is this food going to satisfy my needs at this time?
2. Plan your meals
Yes, I say this frequently and my favorite quote on this is: “If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail”. If you don’t plan in advance your weekly meals, when the time to eat arrives and you are feeling hungry without anything prepared to eat or without knowing what to eat, you will do the easiest and quickest thing. Which is often any snack or any food that is in front of you that is high in fat and sugar. Or you will order a takeaway meal that usually contains more fat or sugar, and salt than a home-cooked meal.
Write your menu for the week, do your shopping accordingly and start enjoying home-cooked meals. If you need recipe ideas, check my blog. Also, I have a meal weekly planner and shopping list all done for you. Just leave your email address on my website, and you will get these for free.
3. Start the day with a nourishing breakfast
The first meal of the day is so important. It will set the “tone” for the rest of your day. Having a nourishing breakfast with protein-rich foods, wholemeal carbs, fruit or vegetables will make you feel good and energized. You will notice that you don’t feel so hungry during the day, and the need for snacking all the time reduces.
On the other hand, if you wake up and rush into your day, not eating anything, you will start the day feeling stressed, hungry and in a low mood. It will be lucky that you will be grabbing some sweets throughout the day, chocolate, crisps, those types of snacks to keep you going.
Check out my IGTV mini-series - “healthy breakfast ideas'' and start today having a nourishing breakfast. You will feel the difference.
4. Create a healthy environment at home
“If you have healthy food at home, you will eat healthily”. Think about which kind of foods do you have at home, can they be healthier? I suggest you fill your pantry with tinned fish, pulses (beans, lentils), wholemeal bread, pasta, rice, potatoes; display a fruit bowl on your kitchen counter, have a jug of water visible, have some nuts, seeds, and dry fruit available for snacks. Fill your fridge with vegetables, yogurts, and some cheese.
Set up a habit of eating together as a family at the same time every day (without phones or TV), sharing nourishing foods, and encouraging healthy conversations at the table. Appreciate and be grateful for the food you have access to.
5. Eat the foods that you love
Eating healthy doesn’t mean eating vegetables and boiled chicken or fish every day. Sometimes people think about healthy food as boring and tasteless. This is another misconception. Healthy and nourishing meals can be so tasty and visual appealing. Try different cooking methods, like roasted vegetables with herbs and olive oil; grilled fish or meat marinated with lemon juice, garlic, herbs, and spices; add some tomato or carrot to your rice when cooking; make a stew with beans, and a variety of vegetables; and don’t forget to add a crunchy colorful salad to your plate.
If you love burgers, pizza, and cake - include them in your meal plan. Decide which day of the week you want to have these, and make them at home! Make a burger with lean meat or chicken breast, choose a wholemeal bun, add some fresh tomatoes and lettuce, baked sweet potato and salad on a side. If you choose to make a pizza, make your own base at home, add some fresh tomato sauce, vegetables, fish, or meat (or just vegetables), and topped with some mozzarella cheese.
Do you love to have a piece of cake? Bake it! You can also think about carrot cake, orange cake, courgette cake, etc. Baking your own cake could be an opportunity to add some fruit and vegetables that will sweeten up naturally the cake, not needing to add so much sugar. Check out my famous Chocolate & Beetroot Brownies here.
In summary, to feel motivated to eat healthily, start by thinking that eating is a way of nourishing your body before you eat, think is this food going to satisfy my needs at this time?; plan your meals in advance by writing your weekly menu, do your food shopping accordingly and start enjoying home-cooked meals; start the day with a nourishing breakfast, with protein-rich foods, wholemeal carbs, fruit or vegetables; create a healthy environment at home, by having nourishing food readily available and accessible and have meals with your family without other any other distractions; and eat the foods that you love, if you love burgers, pizza or cakes, these should be part of your weekly menu, you can prepare them at home and enjoy them while still having a healthy and balanced diet.
Don’t wait any longer to feel motivated to eat healthy, instead start practising these tips and you will feel motivated to eat healthily. It will actually become a habit, a new way of living.
I’m Joana, founder of Your diet Advice, an online nutrition clinic with the mission of helping you eat healthier and feel happier. If you are feeling frustrated with all those diets that didn't work or you are feeling tired all the time and not happy with your body, don’t wait any longer. Book of FREE online consultation with me. Click here to start your journey for a healthier lifestyle now.
UK Registered Dietitian MSc Clinical Nutrition
Founder of Your Diet Advice
Hi, I'm Joana, a Portuguese registered dietitian in the UK. I am passionate about helping others achieving their health goals.