More and more people are waking up and realizing the impact of their dietary choices.
It seems like every day, new information is released that highlights the health benefits of eating less processed foods, and more plants. From weight loss to a reduced risk of developing chronic diseases, it appears those nutrient-dense power houses can almost make us superhuman.
We all know that we could benefit from eating more fruits and veggies, but bringing about that change is often easier said than done. Modern life is busy. We all have deadlines to make and commitments to fulfil, places to be and family to care for. And even if we do have the time to alter our diet, most of us don’t really know where to start…
If you’re someone who wants to eat healthily but can’t figure out how, here are a few simple actions you can take right now that will help you get more plants in to your diet. So you can start manifesting the changes you want to see, and get a little closer to realising your health potential.
1. Start your day with something green.
I usually like to get a head start on the day with a green smoothie. It’s packed full of nutrition, and it’s easy for your body to digest. It also tastes great, it’s quick to make, and you can drink it on the run if you’re in a rush. What more could you want from a breakfast meal?
I advise you to invest in a half decent blender, and try whizzing up a few bananas with some water, oats, seeds berries and leafy greens (either spinach, kale, or spring greens).
Drink it down, and even if you don’t have access to good nutrition throughout the rest of the day, at least you already have a load of vitamins and minerals in the bank.
2.Try a new recipe each week.
Attempting to make big changes straight off rarely leads to lasting habits, which is why I advocate starting small. Rather than going for a complete overhaul, perhaps start by trying just one new healthy evening meal each week.
Healthy eating doesn’t have to take up a load of time, and it doesn’t have to be difficult either. There are thousands of books and food blogs out there with tons of great recipes that are quick and simple to prepare.
Homemade curries and stir-fry’s are a great way to get a load of veggies packed into one meal. Mexican food works well too. Remember to be creative, and find what works for you. If you’re really stuck for ideas, feel free to check out my growing list of recipes over at my blog Health Room.
3. Enforce the side salad rule.
Regardless of whether your main meal is full of plants or not, promise yourself that you’ll always endeavour to include a side salad of some sort. Maybe it’s just a simple bowl of salad greens, or if you’re feeling fancy maybe add some red onion, peppers, cucumber or sprouted seeds. Go crazy.
Even if you’re main meal is not that healthy, at least you’re including some health promoting food along with it. If nothing else, it will help your taste buds adapt to the flavour of the veggies, and soon you won’t want to eat without them.
4. Eat plant powered snacks.
Snacking is a big problem for a lot of people. When you’re dashing between meetings or in a rush back from work, it’s too easy to grab that chocolate bar or packet of crisps. The truth is that plant based snacks can be just as convenient, and they come with the added benefit of being health promoting too.
Fresh fruit is one of the best options, either whole or blended in a smoothie. Nuts and seeds are great too, and nut butters spread on wholemeal bread or rice cakes also do the job nicely.
Stock up on a few of these foods, and keep them in your desk drawers so you’ll always have emergency access to good nutrition.
5. Plan ahead.
Once you’ve built a solid repertoire of your favourite healthy meals, it can then be useful to start planning ahead.
You’re more likely to stick to a new habit if you build structure around it. Perhaps take some time on the weekend to plan your meals for the week. You can even batch cook them and store them in containers in the fridge and freezer.
Having meals that are already prepared will make you less likely to go through the drive through when you’ve had a long day at work. You’ve already got something healthy and delicious waiting for you at home!
Luke Jones is the creator of Health Room, the site he uses to explore and share ideas in plant based nutrition, movement, mindfulness and sustainability. He recently wrote an eBook on forming lasting healthy habits, which you can get here free: The Health Room Starter Guide: 40 Ways to Eat More Plants, Move Freely, Live Mindfully and Exist Sustainably.