Eating Healthy Isn’t Hard. Finding the Time, Money, & Motivation Can Be: Some Tips to Get You Started
We applaud Harry and Meghan for using their high-profile status as British royals to promote healthy eating! Putting in their own organic garden and making their own baby food is great inspiration for the rest of us, isn’t it?
But something tells us they’re going to get a lot of help from their full time staff, who we imagine will do most if not all of the work growing, picking, washing, preparing, and cleaning up before, during, and after every delicious and super-healthy meal.
We’re also guessing Harry and Meghan’s budget is slightly more generous than your typical new family’s.
But we’ll cut them some slack. They’re new parents! They work a ton! Makes sense to delegate…
Seriously, though, when it feels like eating healthy and organic just takes too much time, money, and energy, it’s easy to get discouraged. When that feeling takes over, put some thought into figuring out your challenges. When it comes to healthy eating, what’s really getting in your way?
For most of us, it’s usually that special mix of time, money, and motivation. If only we had time to garden, if only we had more money for organics, if only we had new ideas for healthy meals we could actually get excited about making and eating.
And yes, if only we didn’t have picky eaters at home who truly don’t like anything. But we’ll get to that shortly.
Consider What You Want in a Healthy Diet
If you need a place to begin, check out our earlier post on healthy diets we enjoy, like the Mediterranean and Flexitarian Diets, both of which call for whole foods in abundance (lots of veggies!), plus plenty of protein and healthy fat options for a lot of tasty variety.
Take Time to Make Time
Once you know how and what you want to eat, it’s time to plan. Whether you want to save time, money, or both, planning is key.
Planning saves time, because you’re walking into the store or ordering online with a list of what you need, not randomly wandering the aisles or surfing the grocery site looking for ideas.
Planning also means you’re less likely to get those high-priced, overly-processed packaged foods or to-go meals just because you’re tired or uninspired. (Here is where you get a gentle reminder that the frozen dinner or to-go meal you get may be organic, but it’s processed organic, just like organic sugar is still sugar. “Organic” on the label doesn’t guarantee it’s good for you.)
You also save money because you’re not buying a bunch of veggies that’ll end up going bad in your crisper drawer just because you didn’t know what you were going to do with them in the first place. No more wasted Swiss chard, asparagus, or kumquats!
Another bonus is less stress. It’s easier and faster to get through the store if you know exactly what you need, and a lot more fun to head to your kitchen when you know exactly what you’re going to create.
Plus, planning can be fun. Go with family or a friend to the library, or sit at the kitchen table with a laptop. Browse cookbooks, get recipe ideas, and give Google a go. There are a lot of great ideas out there! Track them down.
This is where you enlist those picky eaters, by the way. Your partner only eats broccoli? Put them to work finding new ways to make it. Got a kid who obsesses over white food? Challenge them to come up with a cauliflower, cannellini bean, and feta surprise.
Check out your local farmer’s market. Not only are the veggies, fruits, and meats more likely to be local and organic, vendors are often happy to share recipe ideas or even prep instructions if you’re trying something new.
Take a cooking class. Many community centers offer cooking classes, and local restaurants, caterers, or kitchen stores often have events too. There are even classes for the kids. While not all programs or events focus on healthy eating, many do. Think about what you love, what you’d love to try, and how it fits in with your healthy, organic outlook.
Go on a foraging field trip. Yes, this takes time and money, but it’s not for everyday and can be pretty inspiring. Plus, it’s an investment. Once you get schooled on foraging, you’ll be able to snack for free every time you go for a hike!
Don’t get stuck believing your life is over because you may never again go to the Jack in the Box for a Bacon Ultimate Cheeseburger. Improving your nutrition is rarely instantaneous, especially if you’re really overhauling those eating habits. Thinking of eating in terms of all-or-nothing can be a quick way to quit; if you need to begin by cutting back instead of cutting out, so be it.
In fact, it can take three months or more to change overall food preferences, but it can happen. Share that with the loved ones around your table who may be even more resistant. Remind them, and yourself, that change may not happen overnight, but with a good attitude, some new ideas, and a little sense of adventure, we bet you’ll all be glad you gave it a shot.