Most of us have a few guilty pleasures — bad eating habits that we can’t seem to kick.
For me, it’s that we homeschool around the kitchen table. It’s super hard for me to sit there at the kitchen table and not eat. So, while I try to keep the snacks healthy, we snack pretty much incessantly between breakfast and lunch.
By the time lunch rolls around, nobody is even hungry!
What are your bad eating habits? Do you drink too much coffee? Are you addicted to soda? I know a lot of people struggle with snacking before bedtime.
What if you could just make a couple of easy, small changes that would add up to a big difference in your overall nutrition?
Small, simple changes are the way to ultimately end up where you want to go, because they are easy to maintain! When you give up everything you love, you end up feeling deprived.
Here are my favorite easy healthy eating tips for you to try:
Cut Down on Sugar
Experiment by using less sugar when you bake – most recipes work well even when the quantity of sugar in the recipe is halved. Also, pay attention to the types of sweeteners you’re using. Try to use the most nutritious sweeteners possible.
Honey and molasses are both natural sweeteners, and less processed than white table sugar. They both have small amounts of important minerals that your body requires. Sucanat can be used cup for cup in place of sugar, but it is also more nourishing and less processed.
Be sure to watch for hidden sugars in beverages and packaged foods. Familiarize yourself with the myriad names for sugar and read labels so you can be aware of hidden sugars. You’ll find that sauces are replete with sugars.
Make Your Own Food
My brother-in-law and his family were staying with us several years ago. For breakfast, I set a box of cereal and a gallon of milk on the table. He laughed as he dished up big bowls for his children, and told me that the box was probably more nutritious than the contents.
That comment stayed with me, and I ended up researching it. It’s true!
Not only is breakfast cereal full of harmful sugars, flavors, colors, additives and preservatives, but the extrusion process to create the uniform pieces is harmful to the grain itself. So the only supposedly nutritious part of the cereal — the grain — is actually harmful to your health.
Instead of kicking off the day with a bowl full of commercial cereal, try having a bowl of homemade granola as a healthy (and inexpensive!) alternative. It’s also a whole lot more filling when the grains are properly soaked for improved digestibility.
Eat Dark Chocolate
If you find yourself with uncontrollable chocolate cravings, try eating a small piece of dark chocolate. The higher the percentage of cacao, the more nutritious the chocolate.
The more intense flavor will help to satisfy your cravings, but with fewer carbs and calories than other types of chocolate. A little piece of chocolate daily can even be healthy!
Got a Favorite You Can’t Give Up?
In my house, that would be macaroni and cheese.
I can’t imagine how bad the stuff that comes out of a box is for your body! That powder is bright orange — it doesn’t look, taste or smell like cheese. How can that be good for you?
But it’s really easy to make yourself a pan of homemade mac and cheese, with real ingredients that nourish your body.
If you want to take it a step further, replace your high-carb, highly processed wheat pasta with quinoa. The texture may be a little different than pasta but it tastes just the same.
I rinse the quinoa really well, then cook the quinoa to the perfect texture in my Instant Pot, using 9 minutes on the grain setting. I then add the butter, milk, cheese and salt/pepper the same way as in the above recipe. I close the lid and let it all get hot and melty, then I add a bag of frozen broccoli florets to the Instant Pot to make it a complete meal.
You can find easy ways to healthify almost any favorite recipe.
Have Your Cake and Eat It, Too
With an air fryer! Air Fryers allow you to enjoy your favorite fried snacks and food without the added calories of frying them in oil. Rapid Air Circulation Technology cooks food by circulating hot air in all directions, ensuring fast and even cooking.
With a temperature range of 170°F – 400°F, the fryer allows you to prepare a variety of dishes from crispy fries to juicy wings with little to no oil, and in 30 minutes or less.
See? There is no reason to deprive yourself of all the good stuff!
Eat Plenty of Soups and Stews
A steaming bowl of nourishing soup can hit the spot on a cold day. It also makes a nourishing meal because it tends to be high in vegetables, filling and low in carbs.
Homemade soup is a better choice than canned soup, however, because canned soup usually contains the chemical BPA along with additives and preservatives. Two of our favorites are homemade minestrone soup and homemade chili.
Soups aren’t just great for your waistline, they are easy on your wallet!
Eat Mindfully and Enjoy Your Food
Make conscious food decisions rather than grabbing for what is most convenient. Make sure it is something delicious and savor it. When you enjoy what you eat, you feel satisfied.
Meal prepping is my number one way to be mindful about my eating. If I write down our family meals by the week, I can see whether we are getting enough of or too much of any food group or nutrient.
Meal prepping also helps me to cook more mindfully, which is always healthier. A good meal plan reminds me to start a stock in my crockpot on Tuesday instead of waiting until just before dinner and having to use canned stock, which is low in nutrients and high in preservatives, additives and chemicals.
Educating yourself is crucial when it comes to eating well. Instead of depriving yourself, just make a few little tweaks here and there. Good habits will sneak up on you (just like bad habit do) and before you know it, you’ll be reveling in big changes that you love!
Pin these ideas for healthier eating!
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