Introducing healthy habits into your life isn’t hard but the first few steps can seem a bit daunting, changing our ingrown routines can take time. But remember; even the smallest of changes can offer great benefits to your health and wellbeing, so don’t feel a need to go all out and change your lifestyle in a day – instead aim to gradually incorporate new habits and ways of thinking one day at a time!
To help you on your journey we’ve compiled a few tips that we have found helped us and those around us to make healthy and sustainable changes.
- P L A N : Everyone talks about planning, but this is by far the most important when trying to change routines. Planning helps remove the stress meal times can involve, no more discussions about what to eat, less last minute shopping on an empty stomach and it is also a great way to keep healthy eating within a reasonable budget. We like using Sundays to plan our weeks ahead, it gives us time to plan wisely, we write meal plans around the weeks activities, if one day is very busy perhaps cook double the amounts the day before, cooking large batches so you also have a lunch box is another great time and money saver. We also use Sundays to prepare for the coming week, we’ll make a litre or two of nut milk, batch cook lentils, beans or oven baked vegetables, wash and separate leafy greens and prepare juice for Monday morning.
Find a day that best suits you and start planning, keep it simple, there’s no need to be cooking extravagant meals every night, we’ll quite often eat the same meal two nights in a row just to keep cooking time to a minimum when days are long. Have healthy snacks like crudités, nuts or energy balls at hand in case hunger hits. Meal plan for Monday to Friday and leave the weekend free for a bit of flexibility and more exciting cooking.
- E A T F O R L E S S : Healthy eating doesn’t have to be expensive although without planning it definitely can be. As part of the planning process try to combine meals, for instance if you’re buying carrots for a salad and you won’t use them all, plan a carrot juice as well or having a few as a snack. This will help reduce the amount of ingredients you need for a weeks cooking and reduce waste (see tip below).
We also bulk buy a lot of our products, a tiny bag of chia seeds at your local healthy store can cost a fortune but if you scour the internet you’ll find great deals. Superfood powders, nuts and seeds, coconut water, condiments, spices, flour and grains, all of these items can be bought in bulk online and for a fraction for the store cost, Amazon is one of the best for this. Another good thing about stocking up your pantry is that you can start planning with the things you have at home, you won’t need to buy as much fresh product each week and can fill out your meals with beans and pulses for a great nutritional punch at a low cost.
Frozen foods are another cost saver, we love adding frozen fruit to our smoothies. Frozen avocado is another one of our favourites, it’s always ripe, you can add it to smoothies, make raw food desserts or guacamole. Frozen spinach, peas and broccoli are really cheap and can make a really quick and easy soup. Don’t forget you can chop and freeze leftover produce.
- W A S T E L E S S : This goes hand in hand with the above. Think twice before you throw things away, it’s better for your economy as well as the environment. If you are juicing carrots or beetroot, save the pulp and use in falafel or bean patties. If you have small pieces of vegetable lying around, the root end of a fennel bulb, onion peel, a lone celery stalk, fry it all up in coconut oil until softened, add water and let simmer until heavily reduced, you’ll be left with a healthy and flavourful broth you can add to soups and stews, if you don’t think you’ll use it all at once pour in an ice-cube tray and freeze small portions for a later date. If you have herbs left over or fruit that is becoming overly ripe, chop it up, freeze and add to soups or smoothies. When making nut milk save the pulp for energy balls, raw food desserts or nut butter. There really are endless possibilities and if you have any more we’d love to hear them!
- T H I N K S E A S O N A L : Seasonal thinking is not only great for the environment and supports a more sustainable life, the produce also tastes a lot better, can have a higher nutritional content than something that was harvested weeks ago and shipped to your store and is often cheaper. It can take time to get into the habit of thinking seasonally but most often than not you’ll find your stores to be full of cheaper seasonal fruits and vegetables, just steer yourself in that direction! Remember you can also buy seasonal product at their best price andfreeze or dry a certain amount, as kale-fanatics we buy tons of kale to freeze and eat when it’s hard to come by and in the autumn we pick wild mushrooms like chanterelles and dry for later use. So when setting your meal plan think about what’s currently in season, check out Eat Seasonably for more information. Your taste buds, pockets and planet will thank you.
- K E E P I T S I M P L E : We’ve touched on this already. Healthy habits do not need to be difficult and don’t require 101 ingredients. Yes there are recipes with a long list of ingredients and it can be fun to give them a go at times, but realistically speaking when leading a busy life, whatever it is your do, cooking like that on a daily basis just isn’t going to work. Start off by identifying things you like and experiment or find recipes with few ingredients using those products, this will keep it interesting and tasty albeit different from what you are used to. As we mentioned earlier, don’t force yourself to cook different breakfasts, lunches and dinners throughout the week, plan, batch cook and have time for other things some evenings. Who doesn’t love a quick and healthy meal followed by quality time with your family.
- E X E R C I S E : Of course you should exercise if you can, we all know that, but sometimes it’s hard to get going! Set a goal and work backwards from there, then identify the steps you need to take to reach your goal. Are you short on time? Start adding morning or lunch sessions, 30 minutes a few times a week for 3 weeks and you’ll be surprised of the results you start to see. You can walk, run, hike, cycle, lift weights, do yoga, stretch… The possibilities are endless, and whatever you choose it’s the doing that’s important, and that you like what you’re doing!
- F I N D W H A T W O R K S F O R Y O U : With all this said and done the most important of all is to find what works for you. Only you can decide what changes you want to make and how far you want to take it. We don’t preach about forbidding certain foods and enforcing others; we’re all different and we all react in different way. We’ve found the best way to go about it is to identify what you are doing today that you feel isn’t working and take it from there. Always aim to feel your best and treat your body with respect, with that said it doesn’t mean to avoid your most favourite foods but if they don’t sit on the “healthy scale” incorporate them to a minimum and enjoy them thoroughly when you decide to indulge.