Hey there! I’m Chelsea, the blogger over at Chelsea Eats Treats, where I chat about workouts, trying to maintain a healthy diet, and my life in general. Today I’m sharing my favorite tips to maintaining a healthy diet.
I have to thank Kalee here for inviting me to chat today! It’s a pleasure to be able to reach new readers, and if it’s ok with you guys I’d like to share some of my tips for realistically maintaining a healthy diet. As in, no short-lived fads, just long-term healthy eating. Forever (or something like that).
I’m certainly not perfect at it, but I started this journey of trying to lose weight/maintain a healthy diet quite a few years ago, and wound up learning a lot along the way. I have a few simple tips that youíve probably heard before, but if you follow them you should be well on your way to balancing a healthy diet. Letís get started :)
Tips to Maintaining a Healthy Diet
1. Manage your cravings
This is a big one for me. I can’t help it; I just love food! I mean the name of my blog is Chelsea Eats Treats, after all; I love the treats! I grew up in a family that loves comfort food and has no interest in reading nutrition labels on packaging. That’s all well and good if youíre a little kid with a fast metabolism, but now I’m an adult living on my own and those habits don’t die easily. I still love fried food, chocolate, and bread. It happens. I’m only human. What’s important is that I have learned how to manage those cravings.
Lets take dessert as an example. One thing that really helps me is allowing myself to eat one sweet every day. That means if someone brings freshly-baked cookies in to work, and I eat one on my way to a meeting, that counts as my daily sweet. If I want a 60 calorie popsicle after dinner, that counts too. I can have one or the other, but not both. This process helps me to be really mindful about what Iím putting in my mouth, and cuts out a lot of pointless eating.† By doing this, I ensure that I am actually enjoying what I eat. So often in our busy lives we eat without stopping to think. By making a conscious choice, I wind up eating a lot fewer treats, and a lot tastier ones too
Another thing that helps me satisfy these cravings in a healthy way, is to recreate my favorite recipes with healthier substitutes. To me there is nothing better than playing around with a cookie or brownie recipe that has about half the fat and calories of its traditional counterpart. I just love when that happens. My favorite substitutes for baking include applesauce, bananas, fat free Greek yogurt, Better ëN Butter peanut butter, and fat free cottage cheese. When that fails or you donít feel like cooking, I try to stick to two Hershey kisses, a couple of dates, or a low calorie popsicle. You gottaí make it work for you!
The most important thing to remember about this tip is to not deprive yourself of the things you love, or it will never be sustainable. You can try to go cold turkey on your favorite “unhealthy” foods, but unfortunately this typically leads to binge eating when things get too hard. Just remember to enjoy your treats in moderation!
2. Eat fruits and veggies with every meal
Another tip that I really try to stick to is to eat fruits and/or vegetables with every meal. Fruits and veggies have so many nutrients and also usually have a lot of volume (think spaghetti squash), so they can make you feel very full for very few calories or fats. A sample day for me would include:
- Breakfast: High fiber cereal with skim milk, bananas, and blueberries
- Lunch: Turkey sandwich with baby carrots and hummus
- Snack: Mini Babybel cheese paired with an apple or recently, pineapple
- Dinner: Grilled chicken (I like getting creative with chicken!) with two kinds of veggies ñ usually some combination of broccoli, cooked carrots, brussels sprouts, green beans, peas, sweet potatoes, spinach, etc.
Oh, and we obviously already discussed the dessert thing
But anyway, I truly feel that incorporating fruits and veggies into every meal is a simple way to get nutrients and add flavor. Donít forget to drink plenty of water too!
3. Watch your portion sizes
This is another really useful tip. A lot of people think they are looking carefully at a Nutrition label to monitor their food intake, but they may not even realize that the package they are holding contains two or sometimes three whole serving sizes (especially with pre-packaged snacks). I would say that almost all Americans eat portion sizes that are way too large, and I always try to be careful to measure my food and eat the correct amounts (for real, I measure my cereal every day. Yep. Nerd alert).
Note: I also bought this super cool gadget that I found on Pinterest about two years ago, and I use it to measure out my meals. It seems kind of gimicky but it works great!
4. Don’t try to go on a “diet”
Ultimately, I think this is the most important tip. Traditional diets just donít work for most people. Believe me, I’ve tried many. The problem is that you eat one way for an extended period of time, and then as soon as you go back to eating the way you normally would, you gain back all the weight. Well, duh!
It’s important to remember that this is a lifestyle change, and that it wonít be easy. I like to eat healthy 80% of the time (e.g., Mondays – Fridays, and as much as I can on the weekend), but when my friends want to go out for a bottomless boozy brunch or my family wants to cook my favorite homemade meal for a special occasion, I don’t say no. You have to let yourself live a little, and you can always eat extra veggies and fewer treats when you get back on track for your next meal.
Obviously exercise is a really huge part of trying to balance a healthy lifestyle, but I won’t get into it too much here since I was mainly trying to discuss food in today’s post. I would say that the National Institutes of Health recommend 150 minutes of exercise per week (again, itís lame that I know this), so I usually try to use that as a reference. Right now I am training for my second half marathon, so if youíd like to read more about that you can check out my blog
Alright, those are all the tips I have for today! I hope you found these tips to maintaining a healthy diet helpful, and thanks again to Kalee for having me!