Nutrition can be a confusing subject, there are so many opinions on what works, what doesn’t work, what’s right and what’s wrong, which makes finding what works for you a tricky task. Search the internet for long enough you’ll undoubtedly find advocates for just about every type of ‘diet’, many of which contradict the views of the other. Add to that, that nutrition is big business. If an individual or company has a meal plan or diet book to sell, of course they’re going to tell you that their method is the only way that works, and that everything else is nonsense.
In reality there are many approaches to improve your nutrition, all of which may work for different people, and that is a key point to understand – your body is unique, what worked well for someone else may not work for you, and it’s most likely going to take you a little time along with some trial and error to figure out just what works best for your body and lifestyle goals.
Add to that, that we are all habitual eaters and what and how we choose to eat is mostly driven by subconscious routine and behaviour, so with whatever approach we decide to take changing our habits is often what we’ll need to address first. Choosing which habits to tackle first is mostly going to come down to what’s important to you and what you have capacity for in your life right now. So in the rest of this article we’ll take a look at two of our most common recommendations, and a simple way to make your habits stick.
Eat More Whole and Unprocessed Food
Whole and unprocessed food is simply real food. It doesn’t come in wrappers, packets or boxes, it doesn’t need an ingredients list, because it is the ingredient. It is the food found in nature – animals, plants and water. If it grows in the ground or had a face, you can be pretty sure it’s real food.
Two easy ways to eat more real food could be to add a serving of 1 or 2 different coloured vegetables to each meal, or replacing a processed snack with a piece of fruit or handful of plain nuts.
Plan and Prepare Ahead of Time
Planning and preparing your meals can save you a lot time and money especially if you’re into the habit of convenience. So instead of ordering lunch from a cafe each day or picking tea up from the supermarket on the way home from work, you could start by planning what you will eat for these meals a couple of times per week, then preparing it ahead of time.
The best way is to start small, even if that means simply planning what meal you will buy from the supermarket on the way home before you get there. You’re much likely to make a better decision than if making that choice when you’re tired and hungry!
Keep a Consistency Check Sheet
Using a consistency check sheet is a simple way to help you make your habits stick. You might decide that 3 days per week you’re going to swap your mid-morning blueberry muffin and latte for a banana and an americano, and will place a big tick on a 7-day check sheet for every day that you make the swap.
This can be a really useful tool to help you stay motivated and also provides you with the opportunity to assess what happened at the end of each week should you have missed a day or two. The key is to choose a task and a frequency that is so easy you can’t fail, only changing it up or making it more difficult when you’ve consistently completed the task for a set period of time.