You can’t go through life without knowing about the benefits of eating healthy. As kids, we’re taught to follow proper nutrition by parents, teachers, and family doctors. The message is repeated throughout our lives in advertisements and on social media.
Yet many people still don’t eat healthy meals consistently. For most, the problem isn’t one of motivation or conviction. They don’t deny that a healthy diet is beneficial. Rather, they face specific obstacles they can’t overcome.
Maybe you’ve faced this problem before. You might have solved it and are now struggling to get your family on the same healthy page. Or perhaps you’re still dealing with the occasional lapse in your dietary discipline. Here are some ways in which anybody can get past the roadblocks to eating healthy daily.
Make things easier
It’s a common saying: “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” The implication for aspiring healthy dieters would be that you only need to find the willpower to change. But flexing willpower is like flexing a muscle. If you haven’t been exercising it consistently, it will tire quickly.
Most people who have difficulty eating healthy don’t have the right habits, to begin with. Drastically changing your lifestyle can put too much strain on your willpower. You have to ease into the groove first.
Do you have lots of convenient storage space, fire-rated dimmable LED downlights, and a set of sharpened knives in your kitchen? That’s a great setup, but what are the ingredients available in those cupboards? How often do you stock up, and how much time do you allot to meal planning? Every small thing you can do to facilitate and simplify decisions will make it easier to follow a healthy diet.
Time is of the essence
Studies have shown that a lack of time is one of the most common challenges of healthy eating. Modern lifestyles can certainly be hectic. You’re busy with work, social commitments, and other events and responsibilities. The daily commute cuts further into your spare time.
But everyone can free up more time by eliminating non-essential activities and squeezing more productivity into idle moments. Instead of watching TV or playing games on your phone, plan your weekend grocery list. Use the commute to look up healthy recipes you can cook in 20 minutes or less when you get home.
Increasingly, apps can help you work around the constraints of time. With your phone always at hand, you can leverage idle time to improve your diet. Meal-planning apps can help you track calories and pull ideas from an existing database. If you’re still squeezed for time, services like HelloFresh or Trifecta are a much healthier solution than ordering fast food.
Settling matters of expense
A lot of people also cite expense as one of the limiting factors to eating healthy. And when you’re comparing ready-to-eat healthy meals with instant ramen, or a burger-and-fries combo you can pick up at the local fast food joint, there’s no contest.
However, nutrition comes down to the ingredients. Every healthy diet involves preparing your meals because that gives you control over what you eat. And if you view expenses at the ingredient level, it’s possible to eat healthy while sticking to your budget. Plan smart, and match available USDA information with the current prices at your local market.
Also, it can help to keep things in perspective. Nutrition affects your long-term health. If you fill up on junk food, you’re eating cheap right now, but you’ll pay more for medicines and other healthcare-related expenses in the future. Eat healthy now, and not only do the costs even out over time, but you could save more money as you age.
Meals are often a social activity. Many people don’t eat alone but in the company of friends and family. This social aspect can present yet another challenge. If your most frequent mealtime associations are with people who don’t share a commitment to healthy eating, it becomes more challenging to follow proper nutrition.
Avoidance isn’t the solution if these are people you care about. You’ll need to work on changing their perception, and that doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a process of small steps, and sometimes you make compromises. You can let them have their way for one meal if they follow the meal plan for the rest of the week. Agree to a pizza, but use frozen crusts with your selection of healthy toppings instead of the takeout variety.
There’s usually not one single secret to following a healthy diet. We all experience different challenges, and overall healthy living is a lifestyle choice. Address these difficulties, and you can consistently make that choice and help others do the same.