It’s taken me a long time to form good eating habits. Just a couple years ago my dinner would alternate between microwave dinners and mac-n-cheese (sometime with hot dogs thrown in). It was quick, simple, and I didn’t have to think about it or plan ahead or read directions or anything. Change is hard, but here’s some tips:
- Go slow. Start by reading labels of what you eat now, and maybe do a little math, just to see where you’re at. Then, try buying the low-sodium version of what you usually get.
- Keep a supply of fruit, vegetables, and/or (unsalted) nuts within arm’s reach. I’m a fan of apples, bananas, and almonds.
- Always have a glass of water handy (or in my case, a pitcher, which I usually refill at least once a day)
- Practice resisting. Every time I succeed in walking by a plate of cookies without grabbing one is another step closer to my goals. This is usually a lot easier if I’ve just snacked on a banana and some almonds. It’s also really fun to say “no thanks, I’m in training.”
- Get a good cookbook or two (ex: The Athlete’s Plate: Real Food for High Performance, by Adam Kelinson) and start perusing. When you find something that looks tasty and doable, make it. Try making one meal a week, and be OK with disastrous results at first. You’re trying something new, and learning from your mistakes.
- Allow yourself a little extra time at the grocery store. Finding ingredients you’ve never used before can be frustrating until you know where to look.
- Roasting a whole chicken is nowhere near as hard as you would think. In fact, it’s pretty damn easy.
- Take pictures of your creations, and
annoyentertain your friends by posting them on Facebook. Or start a blog. Or just print them out. Keep track, at any rate.
- Listen to your body. I’m a big guy, and tend to crave more protein than ‘normal’. Whenever I’m trying something new for lunch, I pay careful attention to how hungry I am later in the afternoon, and bump up the protein accordingly.
- Give it time. It takes 40 days, some say, to form a new habit. If you’re making one meal a week, that’s about 6 meals. Easy. Then try doing two a week.