January is coming to an end and it is often hard to keep our clean eating goals moving forward in to the rest of the year. Here are a few simple tips I have learned over the past few years.
- Figure out how it best fits in your schedule
This may seem obvious but sometimes I think we don’t consider how cooking and clean eating fit in our schedule. It is really easy to get stressed out over all the meal planning, grocery shopping and cooking. Then all the healthy food that is meant to nourish our body and mind are compromised by the stress of eating well. Now this doesn’t mean you just give up and eat McDonalds every day because you are stressed. It means you need to restructure things and prioritize. Sometimes that means saying no to some things so you can free up your schedule or maybe you have more free time than you realize. There is definitely some sacrifice in prioritizing your health but in the end you gain so much more.
- Find a friend or family member to join you
It is ALWAYS more fun to have someone join you and help keep you accountable in your clean eating journey. I can guarantee there are other people who want to improve their health who just need someone to do it with them. They don’t even have to be in town. You can also contact a friend who already eats super clean and let them know you want help, encouragement and accountability. I personally LOVE when people do that.
When I was first diagnosed with an autoimmune disease I actually didn’t have anyone who ate like me. Honestly, it was hard and kind of lonely. Then my sister was diagnosed a few months later and as much as I didn’t want her to have this disease I LOVED having someone to share recipes with and talk about health and nutrition. If you can’t find anyone to join you then maybe find an online support group.
- Make the most out of your time in the kitchen
I think this is really the most important part to sticking with your clean eating goals. I personally love to cook and it has always been a very calming and therapeutic thing for me to do. I started cooking a lot during a difficult time in my life. There was something about feeling productive with my hands and challenging my mind with flavors or complex recipes that was almost meditative for me. A decade later and that is still the case. On a bad day I often just want to create and cook. The sound of a knife slicing against a cutting board and the sizzle of food cooking in a skillet is strangely calming for me.
You really can make the most out of your time cooking. I often play music or catch up on episodes of the Bachelor (I wish I was kidding). There is a lot you can do to make yourself truly present in the kitchen. Use it to your advantage and make your time in the kitchen meditative, relaxing or just fun.
- You don’t have to make everything from scratch
Often times people can mistake healthy living with making everything from scratch. Yes, you can definitely save a lot of money that way but it just really isn’t realistic all the time. Technically you can make your own condiments, stock, canned foods, salad dressing etc. It is not bad to want to do that but that mindset can cause a lot of unnecessary pressure sometimes that doesn’t make healthy living sustainable long term. For example, I absolutely HATE making homemade mayonnaise and salad dressing. Is it easy? Oh yes, crazy easy but I have determined that there are healthy options available that I can purchase. It just makes things a lot easier for us. Don’t be afraid to take advantage of some of those conveniences. The goal is to make healthy eating sustainable for your lifestyle. Often times that is going to look different for each individual and that is okay.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Listen, changing the way you eat can be HARD! Don’t be afraid to ask someone for help in figuring all this out. Take advantage of friends you know or the million resources on the Internet with meal plans, nutritional coaching etc.
Also, if you have a spouse, partner or roommates don’t be afraid to ask them to cook a meal. As much as I like to cook there are days that the thought of making a meal makes me want to cry. I sometimes will call my husband after a long day and say, “you need to cook dinner.” I used to feel SO bad asking him to do that but he actually really likes helping. Once I accepted that it was okay to ask for help it made things a lot easier for me.
- Share the process
We often make fun of people who post every meal or workout on social media. If you didn’t post it then it didn’t happen kind of mentality. Yes, there is definitely a point where people may over share. However, I think there can be a positive side too. Sharing can cause excitement and also keep you accountable and that can keep you motivated. You don’t have to share on social media but do tell your friends or family about an awesome recipe you tried or a new workout. Sharing those aspects of your life and the clean eating journey you are on can really help you maintain that lifestyle.