I love Leo Babauta’s blog at Zen Habits. In his recent post “The Spring Healthy Eating Challenge”, he offers an easy approach to getting our eating habits in line. Since I discovered a Vegan diet last year, I have found a new love for vegetables, spices, and whole foods. There is no question in my mind that eating more veggies and whole foods is better for our bodies and overall well-being. You don’t have to be Vegan or even a Vegetarian, like Leo Babauta said once, “… eat a crap load of veggies FIRST, then eat whatever you want”.
This post I had to share… enjoy!
The Spring Healthy Eating Challenge
~ Leo Babauta
With New Year’s Resolutions a fading memory, it’s time to renew your focus on eating healthy again.
With that in mind, I’m announcing a Spring Healthy Eating Challenge.
It’s designed to help you change your eating for the better, making small changes, and doing it with friends and family.
How does it work? It’s based on the principles I used to change my life, losing 70 lbs. over the course of a couple years, and keeping it off for about nine years now.
Here’s the challenge:
- Pick one small healthy change to make a week (see list below).
- Commit publicly to the challenge, and tell everyone what your change is each week (optional).
- Put your entire focus on making that change happen. Set reminders, put visual reminders around your house.
- Review at the end of each week. Did you do 5+ days of your change? Success! Tell everyone about it. If not, figure out what your obstacle is and plan to beat it.
- If you were successful, pick another change to make the next week, but also continue your first change. By the end of the four weeks, you should have four solid changes if all goes well. If you weren’t successful, just continue the same change (or pick a different one if you didn’t like that one) and try again, but this time with a plan to get around the obstacle.
This is a general recipe for making small changes in your life, but healthy eating can be especially difficult, so I encourage you to do this challenge with your family and friends.
Small Healthy Eating Changes
What changes should you make? Here are some ideas for small changes.
- Add a vegetable to lunch.
- Add a vegetable to dinner.
- Eat a vegetable or fruit for a snack.
- Add fruit to breakfast.
- Prepare a healthy snack for when you feel like snacking (carrots, grapes, nuts, banana, raisins).
- Change a white grain at lunch to a whole grain.
- Change a white grain at dinner to a whole grain.
- Find a healthy breakfast recipe and try it (I love oatmeal).
- Pick a healthy recipe and cook 2-3 days’ worth of it.
- Eat a vegan meal each day.
- Pick a healthier protein for one meal (lean meats, plant-based protein).
- Eat no fried foods.
- Replace sweets with fruit.
- No liquid calories before lunch (tea, water, black coffee OK).
- No liquid calories after lunch (tea, water, black coffee OK).
- Reduce alcohol to one drink.
- Drink more water (set your goal yourself).
- Create a daily meal plan.
- Control portion sizes (set your goal yourself).
- Eat slowly and mindfully for one meal a day.
- Eat whole food instead of prepared food for one meal a day.
- Eat a salad every day.
- Replace soda with tea.
- Drink tea every day.
- Before going for seconds, take a 5-minute break.
- Cook one meal a day at home.
- Discover the pleasures of a new food.
- Add more fiber to your diet (vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans, lentils).
- Switch starches for non-starchy veggies at one meal a day.
- Try cooking dinner without using oil or added fat.
Again, these are just a few ideas … you can make up your own!
Images for this post along with the recipes are located here.