When I first started trying to lose weight...
...I dove deep into Google searches of healthy, low cal recipes.
...I read a million “What I Ate Today” blogs.
...I attempted to navigate all the different info about what was healthy, what wasn’t, ...what was going to help me reach my goals, and what would hold me back.
I remember looking in my pantry, thinking “I can’t eat any of this!”
I was going to have to overhaul my whole kitchen and change all of my habits, all at once.
It was overwhelming AF.
What I wish I would have known then was that small, simple changes add up to big differences in my diet that would help me reach my weight loss goals.
So, in my reflection, here are some simple things that you can do to eat more plants, up the health of any meal, and work toward your dream body. Baby steps can take you a long way!
1) Add something green.
As a general rule, green veggies are the most nutrient dense. They have most of the essential vitamins and minerals that we need to be our healthiest. So, make sure every meal you eat has some (a lot) of green in it. I’m talking dark green- the darker the color of a veggie the more nutrients it has! Choose veggies you already like to start and try new ones as you get the hang of things.
My favorite way to get greens in every meal is to line the plate or bowl with leafy greens, and then plate my meal on top of it. That way, with each bite, I am getting some of the goodness. Bonus* it adds volume and fiber to fill you up, and takes up some of the space on the plate for minimal calories, naturally making your meal lower in cals than it would be otherwise. Click here for my Fat Loss Meal Building Map that shows the exact blueprint for how to build the perfect fat loss meal every time!
2) Crowd out unhealthy dishes, but don’t cut them out completely.
Swap the normal American meal ratios for ones that better serve your goal. In our culture, we make the heavy parts, like meat, eggs or starchy carbs as the central component of the meal. They take up most of the plate, and add more calories to the meal. Make the majority of your plate filled with nutritious options, and have a smaller serving of the more indulgent parts of the meal. That way, you still get your faves. Making them totally off limits sets us up for binging later… so this way, you won’t feel like you’re missing out. Instead, you will fill your tummy with high-volume, healthy stuff first, leaving less room for the other stuff. Read a full blog post about that here.
3) Make plant-based swaps.
Swap out products for plant-based options, and you are already doing a service for your health! Plant foods cause less inflammation, digestive upset, and hormonal effects than their animal-product counter parts. You can find a veg version of just about any animal product you can imagine. Want to have a cheeseburger and ice cream? Choose plant-based products, and you are already benefiting your body by removing the negative health effects of red meat and dairy. Sure, the veg options are still processed junk food, but their negative affect on your long term health will be way less than the traditional version.
4) Just skip the cheese.
Dairy is really terrible for our health (in fact, I ran a full 5 day free challenge( free recipes 😉) all about why and how to transition to a dairy-free diet smoothly), especially full fat cheese products that top a lot of meals. By choosing to have you meal minus the cheese, you could be saving as much as 400 calories and tons of saturated fat in just one step.
5) Opt for the most natural form.
No matter the nutritional philosophy, we can all agree on one thing, whole, unprocessed food is the healthiest. So we want to get our food as close to its natural form as possible. Take a look at the ingredient lists, and choose the options that have the few ingredients as possible. Or, choose the option that has had the least amount of change from the plant (ie brown rice over white, whole grain pasta over white).
The moral of the story is that the more whole plant foods, the better for your health! And, the better for your fat loss goals… because whole plant foods are naturally higher in volume but lower in calories than other foods.
They also pack the most nutrient punch for your body which is what will provide the best long-term health benefits.
Whole plants will make your metabolism work harder, keep your digestion regular, and help to bring down the inflammation that animal products create.
Add more plants and work to reduce the processed food in your diet.
It’s the little swaps (the baby steps) at each meal that add up throughout a whole day, month, year, or lifetime.
You don’t have to overhaul your whole life at once, or make it super complicated. Make these simple changes slowly and gradually at a pace that works for you. Just never stop working to create the healthy changes that build the habits that will transform your life.
Ready to step up your game and make healthy changes that stick this time? Summer is right around the corner, and you could start it feeling CONFIDENT! Have the best summer yet! CLICK HERE to read more about how to get started.