“Stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your approach.” –Tony Robbins
Eating healthy isn’t complicated, but people make it so. If you try to eat food that’s as close to its natural state as possible, and choose foods that don’t comes with a list of ingredients (especially ones you can’t pronounce) you’re most likely making healthy choices.
I believe in simplifying what you eat and staying flexible in your mindset. And that’s why I consider myself to be a “flexitarian,” which means I eat a diet that primarily consists of plant-based foods, but also eat eggs and occasionally poultry and fish. We have the whole spectrum in my house. My sons fall in the carnivore camp and my daughter is a vegan, eliminating all animal products from her diet. Whether you are a vegan, carnivore or somewhere in between, one of the healthiest things EVERYONE can do for their diets is to eat a plant-heavy diet. Hundreds of studies indicate that diets high in fruits and vegetables give your body the nutrients it need and can help prevent various diseases and several types of cancer.
Related: The One Diet I Actually Suggest
Some people argue that you can’t be a “little bit” vegetarian, but a diet that’s mostly fruits, veggies and legumes with occasional consumption of meat is quite healthy. You can drive yourself nuts trying to fall perfectly into a specific category—vegetarian, pescatarian, lacto-ovo vegetarian or vegan—or you can use these realistic tips to make healthy choices no matter what your eating style.
1. Cut back on meat.
Meat, specifically red meat, has a high content of saturated fat and can lead to obesity and heart disease risk. Reducing your consumption of meat can reduce your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. I support Meatless Monday, a movement to encourage people to go meatless once a week. By going meatless on Mondays, you can be healthier, help reduce your carbon footprint and save precious resources like fresh water and fossil fuel.
2. Shop local and seasonal.
I have the utmost respect for people who grow and eat their own food and hold themselves to those high standards. If you can shop from farmer’s markets and buy locally, I am all for it. If you shop at a more traditional grocery store, stick to shopping the perimeter of the store where the healthier foods are located. If you are concerned about price, always try to buy fruits and veggies that are in season. Here’s a list of what you should (and don’t need to) buy organic.
3. Cook at home.
It’s no mystery that it’s healthier to prepare fresh food at home because you can avoid the hidden calories in restaurant dishes as well as the oversized portions. If you are cooking with fresh ingredients, you can avoid all the sodium and unhealthy additives found in processed, packaged foods.
4. Share recipes with friends and family.
My daughter always has a new vegan recipe for me to try and I love it. I also share my CHOOSE THIS cookbook with all of my clients who want to make the switch to real foods. My cookbook is filled with delicious and nutritious recipes that are easy to make.
5. Reset yourself each week.
The Monday Campaign is a national movement to dedicate every Monday, the first day of a work week, to health, committing to healthy behaviors and helping to end chronic diseases. Use this mindset to reset yourself if you drift off track. Use every Monday to get back on track and try again to eat healthy!
Remember, real food doesn’t need a label, it doesn’t last forever, it doesn’t have to make all sorts of nutritional claims with sneaky wording and it isn’t created in a lab somewhere. Lean your food choices toward real and you will be taking control of your diet and your health!