Eating healthy: a generational struggle
"Eating healthy" - the phrase seems to haunt us in our sleep.
It's something you know and remember as you bite into that BBQ rib and dip your fries into a pool of ketchup.
We're leading some crazy busy lives and it always seems easier to grab something on the go than to try to think about / prepare a healthy set of snacks for the day.
Don't think I'm pointing the finger here. I'm guilty too. But, even when I take the time out to do a crazy good meal prep I still end up ordering pizza or wings when I get home. We're in this era of serious vegetarian and vegans, but also fad diets and "lose weight" quick schemes. We're obsessed with how we look and we're never good enough, handsome enough, pretty enough or slim enough. Or we're just too busy to care.
Regardless of where we are on the spectrum (from not caring to working on weight loss/ body sculpting) our bodies are literally a temple. We get only one. This shell of ours lasts a lifetime and is much more intricate and amazing than those Anne Klein watches that come with Lifetime Warranty (except you don't have to pay for shipping). Our bodies facilitate all we want when we want it. We just get up and expect it to do what we want. We don’t think about whether we’ve given it what we need, we just take these amazing vessels for granted, What we need to start doing is give our body the right fuel for it to operate at its best. BEST. Not its “good enough”, not its “okay”, not its “mediocre"… its BEST.
Here’s the truth:
There is incredible difference in eating well and having junk food, depending on your metabolism of course. But my experience has been that with junk food or foods high in sugar / lots of carbs I feel tired as soon as I'm done eating. When I've had my veggies and a good balance of protein and "good" fats I feel like I unlocked a new level of focus and attentiveness.
Food is a huge development issue. In this time of “mass” everything, there are still food desserts - people don’t have access to the food they need/ food in general. In addition to this, It is expensive to eat well. So your income can limit your choices. In the Netflix documentary, Food, one of the participants they interviewed said that its simply cheaper to feed his family McDonalds than a salad: “I can buy them a sandwich for a dollar at McDonalds”. Well, no salad can compete with that price.
We need to eat healthier and take better care of our bodies. But, it can be cost-prohibiting to eat well. So, what do we do?
Manage portions. Look at the food groups (remember when we could only see those at the back of the bread bag? Or am I too old lol) … and then look at your meals (breakfast, lunch dinner and snacks). What are you missing? How can you increase fruits and veggies and decrease fats and oils?
Moderation is key. I would never tell you not to have a burger or fried chicken (or the vegan/vegetarian alternative)…who doesn’t love a good, greasy meal? But, you shouldn’t be eating this everyday, or multiple times for the day. Negotiate with yourself when is a good time for some “good food that’s not so good for you” and when you need to eat to properly fuel your body. It’s called a balanced diet for a reason.
You’re reading this blog post ( thanks by the way :) ), you read your texts, your social media pages … but have you been reading the ingredients of some of your favourite packaged foods? Sometimes I get so tired, I just eat an apple. Some of these labels are too much ! You need to take some time to read the labels, so you know what you’re putting into your body.
Sometimes the stuff that’s good for you … don’t taste that good. Or, I should say they don’t taste that good at first. It’s usually an acquired taste. If you’ve been having lots of sugar and oils, of course a plain salad might not be as appetizing. Get your taste buds acclimated! There are also lots of things you can do to “spice up” a healthy dish (be careful not to douse everything with ketchup or barbecue sauce like I usually do lol.
Calories are hiding everywhere, except in a glass of water and maybe a few leaves of lettuce. Look out for those hidden calories and spend your daily caloric intake wisely. No, I do not know what the daily caloric intake should be for a healthy human… this should be based on how you feel, how your body feels and what you think you need. Your doctor or gym trainer may have some opinions about that.
I have THREE MAJOR KEYS for you.
Key #1 🔑: Listen to you body. There’s a little trick I do when I am not sure if I’m full, or when I kinda know but want to keep eating anyway - stand up. I don’t know if there is anything scientific behind this but whenever I stand up I can get a better feeling/ idea of whether I am full (or have eaten enough.. the goal is to eat enough to fuel your body, sometimes we’re already stuffed when we say we’re full). It could also be the change in posture that redirects things to your brain… it works though, try it !
Key #2 🔑: Is a HUGE HACK! This is the eating out hack. When you go out to eat with a friend, partner, spouse, family member or any other person you know fairly well, you have to do this: share meals. But not in the usual “take a bite of this” fashion. One party orders a salad while the other orders a meal with protein and then you both get to have a fairly balanced meal, at a better cost while not leaving too full. (Also a great hack for date night on a budget lol). It also works well to get an appetizer - something fairly light, like soup and then cheering a heavier entree - like pasta. Countless combinations.
Key #3 🔑: Plan your meals ! Plan to fail if you fail to plan (not sure who actually said those words but my mother has been whispering them in my ears for as long as I can remember. Planning meals helps to keep you on track. My lunch sitting in the fridge at work has saved me from having fast food many a time. I created this simple meal plan, try it out to help you get started.
It’s a journey, but we’re in this together!
Be sure to let the Grown Up Millennial fam know what your struggles and victories have been in regards to eating well by leaving a comment.