Do the words “healthy eating” bum you out or bring to mind visions of foods you’re not even sure if your dog would eat? Healthy eating can seem so boring and “blah,” but it can actually be a great excuse to try new things and keep your journey to weight loss and wellness fun. Healthy eating and fun? Hear me out. Since losing more than 30 pounds, I’ve learned that the only way I can keep it off is to enjoy what I’m doing.
Here are my tips for keeping healthy eating fun.
- Experiment in the kitchen. When trying new recipes, I’ve had hits and many misses (these are the dishes my husband politely refers to as “different”). But for every kale chip disaster and mashed cauliflower mishap, I’ve also found new healthy recipes that I love and can’t wait to try again and again. Try new recipes by searching online and in magazines, watching cooking shows and chatting with friends and co-workers…and don’t be afraid to make mistakes.
- Keep it simple with swaps. Think of simple swaps as baby steps to better nutrition. Small swaps are much easier to adjust to than completely overhauling your diet. Trade your tortilla wrap for a romaine lettuce wrap, try spaghetti squash instead of noodles for your next pasta dish, or flavor your sandwich or salad with herbs instead of cheese and high-fat condiments. My favorite swap as of late involves replacing rice in a stir fry dish with riced cauliflower (cauliflower is “riced” in a food processor).
- Grow your own way. Even if all you have space for is a small pot of herbs like cilantro or basil, there is something about growing your own herbs or vegetables that is so gratifying.
- Enjoy the occasional splurge. Eating healthy doesn’t mean that you can never step foot in a restaurant again. In fact, planning for meals out with friends or family keeps things enjoyable and keeps you from feeling deprived. The key word is “plan.” If you know you’re dining out in the evening, for example, plan to eat a little lighter during the day or plan to push yourself a little harder than normal during your workout.
Having fun with healthy eating doesn’t mean you have to get excited about carrots and kale. Trying new foods, experimenting with new recipes and tastes and keeping an open mind will make healthy meal planning feel more like an adventure than a chore.