Some bad habits had been getting worse, like chips at night, fast food for breakfast (incl Breakfast Biscuits :s) and pizza far too often. I'd decided it was time to make a change, but not go on a "diet" (just the word scares me from past experience). I focused on changing some habits, took it one step at a time, and didn't put a lot of pressure on myself. My Sister had recently gone on a strict eating program and many of my friends eat healthfully, so I looked to them for inspiration.
I thought I'd share some tips and recipes on here, as always, good for any budget. This isn't a plan that costs a lot of money, it's just normal stuff that we all know we should be doing.
Here's the general jist of info I've gathered and what I've been trying to stick to:
Eat more lean protein and less "refined" carbohydrates: For example eat egg whites, chicken breasts, turkey. Avoid meat that has a lot of fat. Avoid "white" carbs, like white rice, sugar, pasta, bread. Instead eat fibrous ones like brown rice, quinoa, whole grain bread, whole wheat pasta and large flake oatmeal. This will keep your blood sugar steady so you feel less hungry.
Change bad snacks to healthy ones: instead of chips have air-popped popcorn (I still put a little margarine), veggies w/ light dip, hummus, salsa, baked chips, raw almonds, yogurt with fruit, high fibre crackers with natural peanut butter, sugar free jello or pudding. I also like having protein bars or smoothies when I'm on-the-go (I put ice, yogurt, fruit and vanilla protein powder and blend).
Eat smaller meals, more often: (approx every 2-3 hrs), and try to include protein in every meal. A serving of protein (like chicken) should be about the size of your palm.
Eat salad: My favourite (which I copied from a restaurant) has lettuce, chicken breast, black beans, tomatoes and/or red peppers, with a little avocado & feta cheese. Then put olive oil, a bit of white vinegar and lime juice on top. So yummy!
Take multi-vitamins and omega oil: every day (I always forget :s).
Drink lots of water: currently working on this one.
Don't deny cravings: but just try to eat better most of the time. A book I just got says aim to eat healthy 80% of the time. For example, I am trying to eat mostly healthy food during the week but then have treats like burgers, pizza, chips or sweets on the weekend. It helps me since I know from the past I will go crazy if I don't eat "bad" foods sometimes.
I'll start by sharing recipes from last night's dinner. This salad is super healthy, my Aunt made it for us the other night and I loved it so much I've already made a big batch (it keeps well in the fridge):
Kale & Beet Salad
2 large or 3 small beets, peeled and grated
1 head of kale, thinly sliced
1-2 carrots, grated
Juice of 1 lemon
Sea salt to taste
That's it! I utilized my food processor for this and it was so fast (used the grater for the carrots and beets and the slicer side for the kale). I also added some dried dill to mine for some extra flavour.
Turkey meatballs: extra lean turkey, 1/2 an onion and 1/2 a yam I'd grated, 1 egg white and spices like garlic, fennel seeds and Mrs. Dash. Blend in food processor, roll into balls and bake at 375
Dill sauce: I made mine by using low fat ranch dressing, tons of dill and lemon juice. My sister recommends something called "Dilly Dip" which is low-cal as well.
Yams: wrap in foil and bake, cut open and serve with a sprinkle of cinnamon and nutmeg.
Let me know if you have any tips or recipes you'd like to share. I will share more soon, including one for a fab soup I whipped up last week. To good health for 2012!