Creating healthy eating habits can be sometimes be kinda difficult and may even feel pretty flipping impossible. When you’re transitioning towards a healthier lifestyle it’s hard to look into your cupboard and see a ton of snack food you’re no longer allowed to eat. Or to go to the grocery store, load your cart up with the good stuff and stare longingly at the chocolate without taking one home.
But it doesn’t have to be this way! Creating healthy eating habits can be an incredibly fun experience that introduces you to a ton of delicious new foods and recipes. And yes, there is totally room for chocolate. Or any of the snacks you adore.
So let’s talk about it! Here are 4 easy ways that you can create healthy eating habits, without feeling restricted or deprived. You got this!
4 Remarkably Easy Ways To Create Healthy Eating Habits
1. Don’t Try to Change Everything at Once
A healthy, fulfilling diet is all about abundance, not restriction. Creating healthy eating habits is an opportunity to welcome more into your life, not to find yourself feeling limited and unfulfilled.
You might feel like you want to go from 0 to 60 in 3.5 (why do I have the sudden urge to sing shut up and drive?)
But if you’re looking to build a lasting healthy diet that’s very likely a huge mistake.
You don’t need to change everything at once…
There’s no need to wake up tomorrow and be a health food guru. Or to even become a health food guru at all if that isn’t your thing. Your healthy diet and lifestyle need to be as beautiful and unique as you are and support your own personal needs. There is no one size fits all! Building healthy eating habits is, in many ways, a build your own adventure.
But I totally get the urge to to dive right in!
If you’re feeling like you want to jump right to the end and be a major healthy foodie tomorrow, I seriously get it! Once I have my mind made up, I am all in! But changing your diet can be a little more complicated than just waking up one morning and deciding to change everything. You’ll probably be more successful if you ease into it.
Related: 6 Reasons Why Your Healthy Diet Isn’t Working (And How to Fix It)
When I first changed my entire diet back in 2013 there were definitely a few things I had to change right away, thanks to my issues with autoimmunity. I immediately said goodbye to gluten and hello to tons of healthy food options I had never considered before. I used to call myself a veggie hater, if you can even believe that!
But does that mean I became an intuitive eater overnight? Heck no! And I still enjoyed handfuls of chips and junky peanut butter brands for quite some time. It was hard to say goodbye to all that added sugar yo!
If I had cut those little things out entirely on day one I may have just gotten so frustrated that I would have quit. And then who knows what would have happened! I don’t imagine I’d have the same healthy, sustainable and fulfilling lifestyle, that’s for sure.
If you need to go cold turkey on something for your health, find safe alternatives for your foodie faves.
Ask around at your local health food stores and look online for easy recipes. Change is so much easier when it doesn’t feel so alien.
If you have no health woes to worry about, give yourself permission to ease into certain aspects of your transition. Otherwise, it’s super easy to get frustrated, give up and fall back into old habits.
Instead of creating a ton of restrictions, simply welcome new options. Crowd out the bad by saying yes to new, healthy alternatives instead of no to everything you find yourself reaching for.
Before you know it you’ll have the healthy eating habits you set out to create. Without all of the frustration, withdrawals and hangry moments. Booyah!
Don’t pressure yourself into being 100% successful tomorrow. Change can take time. Baby steps are ok!
And, of course, it’s important to remember that there is no such thing as a “perfect” healthy diet. You do you! The fact that you strive to feed yourself with kindness is a huge win! But the pressures of perfection have no place here.
Related: 5 Goal Setting Tips That Will Help You Achieve Your Dreams In A Healthy Way
2. Make Smoothies
You know how I just mentioned that I used to be a self professed veggie hater? Well… that kind of made this whole healthy eating habits transition a little more difficult.
I was LOST.
And very quickly smoothies became a wonderful go-to.
Seriously, smoothies are magical! It’s an easy way to load up on tons of fiber and take advantage of all of the awesome nutrients fruits and veggies have to offer. Even if you’re a veggie hater like I was.
If you aren’t a vegetable or fruit super fan, smoothies help you dip your toes in the water! Trust me, a green smoothie tastes nothing like kale and spinach when you blend it up just right. Even though you’re most certainly consuming a fair amount of both!
Flavour, variety and healthy goodness – who could ask for more?!
But, of course, it can take some trial and error to become a smoothie aficionado. I’ve certainly made some pretty nasty concoctions in my day. But I’m happy to say that through a ton of trial and error I have become quite the smoothie aficionado! All it takes is a little practice my sweet friend.
And I’m here to help!
If you need a hand in the smoothie department, I just released a $5.00 Smoothie E-book!
We’ve got a 37 page PDF featuring 15 unique recipes, photos, instructions (don’t worry, it’s easy as pie) and tons of deliciousness! You can get your copy right here (use coupon code smoothieluv15 to save 15% for the next month).
Super Bonus – I’ll send you a free copy of my Healthy Dessert Recipe E-book too ;).
I hope you enjoy the variety of goodness in this e-book. And if you’re new to healthy eating, like I
was, I hope that this helps you on your way. Before you know it you’ll be creating some wonderful, unique combos and loading up on healthy goodness too. 😉
Related: Smoothie Love – How to Drink Your Fruits and Veggies and Love It By Sara Ms. Health-Esteem
3. Use Herbs and Spices
Herbs and spices are a marvelous way to add a ton of flavour! But they do so much more than that. This is a seriously simple way to boost up the nutritional goodness in your meal!
According to Monica Auslander Moreno, MS, RD, LD/N, founder of Essence Nutrition and visiting professor at the University of Miami’s Master’s in Nutrition program:
“Herbs and spices make food tastier while boosting your health. You should be cooking with herbs and spices regularly, and, if possible, using several at a time.” (source)
What’s in it for you?
The exact nutritional awesomeness depends on the individual herbs and spices you choose to use, of course, but according to Ms. Moreno they all have one marvelous thing in common:
“All herbs and spices fight inflammation and reduce damage to your body’s cell. That’s because each one is rich in phytochemicals, which are healthful plant chemicals.” (source)
But wait, there’s more goodness to be had:
Adrienne Youdim, MD, an associate clinical professor of medicine at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine says that adding herbs and spices to your diet helps you eat healthier in general:
“Because they’re so flavorful, they make it easier to cut back on less healthy ingredients like salt, sugar, and added fat.” (source)
When you add herbs and spices you gain flavour, nutrients and tend to eat healthier. Score!
Plus, they’re super easy to add to stir fries, pastas, soups, sauces and even desserts (this girl puts cinnamon and cacao in pretty much every sweet treat). Just find your favourite solo herbs and spices or get your hands on some gourmet seasoning blends and add them to your favourite meals for extra flavour and nutrients.
Related: This Chickpea Flour Flatbread Recipe Will Blow Your Mind
4. Use Fresh, Local Ingredients When Possible
Obviously it’s not always possible to use fresh, local ingredients. I personally spend half the year in a winter wonderland… and let me tell you, there isn’t a lot of fresh, local goodness to be had in the dead of winter.
But when you can buy fresh, local produce I totally recommend it.
Why should you invest in fresh and local:
- You often save money when you hit the farmers market and buy directly from the farmer. No middle man yo!
- Your food was recently harvest (sometimes that very same day), which makes it more flavourful, more appealing and longer lasting.
- You’ll find more variety than you’ll ever see at a grocery store.
- You get extra nutrients. Holla!
Sounds too good to be true, I know. But hear me out:
Fresh vegetables typically contain high levels of vitamin C. (source)
Nutrients in pre-packaged frozen veggies, especially water soluble nutrients like vitamins B and C, tend to break down over time. (source)
While nutrients do break down in fresh fruits and vegetables after they’ve been stored in the fridge for a few days, carotenoids, phenolics and other antioxidants may actually increase! This is likely because they continue to ripen over time. So cool, right? (source 1, source 2)
Super bonus if you buy organic!
According to this Meta Analysis, reviewing 343 studies, organic crops have 70% more antioxidants than their conventionally grown counterparts. This happens because antioxidants develop as a vegetable fights to survive and grow. Conventional crops don’t have to work quite as hard, so we end up with less.
But conventional produce is better than no produce! If organic foods aren’t readily available or don’t fit into your budget don’t you worry! Eating fruits and veggies in general is what matters most.
And you can always prioritize. The dirty dozen list by the Environmental Working Group helps you make informed choices if you are looking to buy organically when it counts most.
Related: 5 Super Simple Ways to Eat More Healthy Greens
There you have it! Creating healthy eating habits doesn’t have to be difficult or restrictive.
Sometimes a few simple adjustments can lead to the most amazing changes! Are you feeling more empowered to create some fantastic, healthy changes?
What advice on healthy eating habits would you add to the list? Is there anything that resonated with you? Share your ideas, experiences and advice with us in the comments below. I’m looking forward to hearing what you think.
Health and love,
Thought of the day: Sometimes things are far simpler than they seem
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I definitely think the key is finding an alternative to the bad thing in your diet. For example, I used to drink diet coke. I switched my habit gradually by allowing myself a regular coke on occasion instead (not as often as the diet coke) then when my babe didn’t tolerate caffeine I went to sprite for a while. Now, I drink sparkling with a dash of OJ. Finding the alternative was key in kicking my bad habits and it helps so much with the cravings and changes your tastebuds in the long run! I totally agree that changing everything at once can be a recipe for disaster. Even when it’s for your health it can be difficult. Making gradual permanent changes can be more helpful than trying to drastically overhaul your diet overnight! <3 Jamie
I totally agree Jamie! I’m a chocolate addict but I’ve been severely lactose intolerant since I was little. Enter cacao! I can make my own chocolate?! So exciting! And there are lots of healthy brands out there that make dairy free options I could eat all day hahaha. I’m so glad you’ve found a nice switch for your pop. Going cold turkey can drive us bonkers but finding a way around it that’s slow and steady and doesn’t completely cut out our vice makes it so much easier! And when it comes to bigger changes, slow and steady wins the race! The Rabbit and the Hare weren’t lying to us apparently hehe. I’m really happy you think so too.
Wishing you a beautiful day darling!
I’m going to blame you if instead of falling peacfully to sleep tonight I am humming Rihanna, lol! In all seriousness though, these are some great tips for someone needing to make healthy changes to their diet. Smoothies are actually my secret weapon to load up my kids on veggies. As long as I do it right, they think it’s some kind of beverage treat! I may have to check out your e-book, I’m in a bit of a smootie rut. Plus with the bonus and discount code, can’t go wrong! <3
Oh you sound just like me! Sometimes my mind decides that bed time is a great time to listen to a soundtrack haha. I hope you slept ok!
I’m so happy you have your little ones loving their smoothies too! It really is pretty incredible how you can mix certain things up and they taste like magic! I’d be overjoyed if you tried out my smoothies. I’d love to hear what you and your little ones think! Please let me know how it goes if you do get a copy <3.
I'm really glad you enjoyed the tips! Thank you Nicole. I'm grateful for all of your love and support ^^.
Jasmin | VeeatCookBake
What a great post, Sara. I love all the information .And you are right. Step by step is so important. What II didn’t know was the part about the antioxidants in the fridge. Awesome. Wish you a lovely day.
Thank you Jasmin! Slow and steady usually takes us much farther than a mad dash. Even if it doesn’t feel that way at first :). It’s pretty neat how it often works out that way.
And I thought that antioxidant thing was so cool too! Wow, right? Blew my mind! I’m happy that stuck with you too.
Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts darling! Sending you so much love <3
These are great tips. I especially like the tips for using smoothies and also don’t feel that we need to change everything at once. Good advice. Often times it’s overwhelming changing your lifestyle so we tend to set expectations that aren’t very realistic. Changing small things along the way is much easier.
I’m so glad that you enjoyed these tips Kamira! I couldn’t agree with you more – we do often set really high and sometimes even impossible standards for ourselves. It only adds to the stress that often comes along with change. Little by little and we can go far. 🙂
Thank you so much for sharing your perspective with us! Your insight is so awesome <3
I loved all of your ideas! I personally love to use fresh herbs and drink lots of smoothies. Great post
That’s so awesome Kat! Those are two great ways to load up on nutrients. I adore it! 🙂 Enjoy your next smoothie. Cheers!
Nina | Lemons and Luggage
I agree so much with all of these! This year, I also eliminated some ingredients for a month to see if anything would be different after I integrated them back into my diet. This way I was able to identify certain things my body doesn’t react well. What may be healthy to some doesn’t need to be healthy to everyone, and I think it’s important to listen to our bodies.
Eliminations diets can be such a useful tool Nina! I’ve been there a couple of times too. I hope you found out what works and what’s been causing any grief! It’s pretty incredible how much we can learn from an elimination diet when we need it. Such a great point to share!
And you are so right – every body is unique and our healthy diet needs to be as unique and beautiful as we are. We’re all different and what works for some definitely won’t work for others. Thank you so much for sharing your advice and experiences with us hun <3
Great post and very good tipps on how to change your diet. I still struggle to stay with my diet, now and then I fall back into old habits, which sucks. However, one step at a time… 😉
You are so right Pia! One step at a time. Your healthy diet shouldn’t feel restrictive or frustrating. And it also doesn’t need to be perfect. There’s no such thing ;). Just keep feeding yourself with kindness but don’t worry if you treat yourself sometimes. That’s ok! Sending you tons of love and wishing you well on your wellness journey! You’re creating something marvelous <3
I need to work on number 1 for sure! I just love pretzels and chips and it’s so hard to find an alternative that’s quite as satisfying…I just need to stop buying them and get my crunch from raw veggies!
It can be so hard to find the right balance sometimes, I absolutely understand that Mary! I’ve been there. If you treat yourself to a bowl of pretzels on occasion you’re still doing awesome. Maybe there are even some health brands out there that make pretzels or chips a little better? If I ever hear of anything I’ll let you know :).
And I absolutely love raw veggies with hummus, bruschetta and/or pesto too! Such a good snack idea hun. Oooo and you might also enjoy Socca (chickpea flatbread). It’s really easy to make, pairs well with dips and might also satisfy your carb cravings. I have a recipe right here if you need it: https://mshealthesteem.com/flatbread-recipe/
Now I’m hungry haha! Happy snacking! Wishing you well on your wellness journey Mary.
Smoothies sound like such a good way to get into a healthier lifestyle – loved this post!
Lily Loves | https://www.lilyloves.net/2018/09/how-to-transform-your-room-form-boring.html
Heck yes to smoothie goodness! So happy you agree Lily. Thank you so much for your kind words. Have a beautiful day <3
great tips per usual! trying to make some gradual changes to my diet after a summer of ice cream and rose. not easy but necessary!
One step at a time Janna and you’ll create the right balance for you :). If you’re a fan of ice cream it’s super easy to make your own. That lets you control the ingredients and health it up.
If you have an ice cream maker (which was a life changing purchase for me personally haha) here’s a recipe:
If you don’t have an ice cream maker, a food processor can go a long way too. Nice cream is so awesome. Here’s an excample:
I adore ice cream personally, so finding ways to make it healthier and work it into my diet is a pretty high priority haha. I hope that this helps!
Wishing you a beautiful winter! Here’s to your healthy lifestyle journey <3
I love this! I’m working on incorporating more herbs and spices into my food these days.
That’s so awesome Ashley! They really do add such an amazing burst of flavour ^^. What are your favourites? I’ve been really into dill these days. I love it on everything (especially with nutritional yeast and a little Himalayan pink salt – total yum!) Oregano, rosemary, basil, garlic, cinnamon, cacao and ginger are regulars in my kitchen too. But I have a whole cupboard of options. Now I can’t wait to go home and make supper! haha
Hope you enjoy your next spicy meal! Have fun!
Sarah Harris | makesmewander.com
Yes! I totally agree with the points you made – especially the one about using herbs and spices. Makes food SO much more exciting! Jamaican Jerk seasoning is one of my favorite, but I love any hot sauces too!
So happy you’re on the herbs and spices train Sarah! That’s wonderful! I’m actually sensitive to hot spices, which kept me away from spices for so long. But there are so many options that you can still enjoy them and avoid upsetting your digestive system if you’re sensitive. I love that there’s always something new, delicious and exciting to discover when it comes to healthy food. ^^
I bet your jerk seasoning is amazing! I hope you get to treat yourself to something spicy and delicious soon <3. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with us!
I havent gotten on the smoothie train much, i dont even have a good blender! But i do need more veggies and fruit daily, thats for sure. Its just hard to create a whole new routine from scratch, you know? My husband just eats whatever he wants because he rides his bike about 15 miles 5 days a week, so he can afford to. so the kitchen is stocked for him in food, snacks and meat filled things and i always forget about myself.
You’re absolutely right Katie. It can be really hard to create a whole new routine. But I really hope that this post didn’t leave you feeling overwhelmed. Don’t look at it as a giant undertaking. One step at a time and you will go far. Even if you simply begin with a healthy breakfast you adore every day or work in some veggies for a snack (or anything around and in between) you are creating a new and exciting balance.
You deserve to have a self-care routine that makes you feel awesome and matter just as much as everyone around you. I think a lot of us tend to forget about ourselves since we are busy taking care of all the people we love. But putting ourselves up at the top of our to-do list only helps us be more present for everyone else. You can’t poor from an empty cup after all. Self-care lets you refill your proverbial cup, which helps you be more present for others.
I hope that you’re feeling inspired to do awesome things for Katie and build a healthy lifestyle that’s just as beautiful and unique as you are. One step at a time. Sending you tons of love and wishing you well. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you ever need to chat more about it <3
I love that you included using herbs and teas. They are truly beneficial to any diet!
Absolutely Nikki! Flavour plus extra nutrients is too much goodness to ignore. It’s all win in the herbs and spices department. I’m so glad you agree 🙂
Yes to #1 and 4 for sure! To me, the best way to simplify eating healthy is to eat REAL food. I’ve been slowly swapping out my “processed” faves for real food over time.
Absolutely Sheila! Crowd out the unhealthy options by saying yes to new, healthy alternatives. I love finding or creating healthy, real food options of processed goodies. 🙂 It’s fun to discover better ways to create things. And to simply eat real food in general. Thanks for sharing your advice! <3