Yes, it can be hard to start eating healthy. But, for Christians, 5 of these 10 strategies help make the new habit easier and feel normal.
Are you using the right steps to help you and your family start and continue eating healthy? Read through the list to find out. Whether you use one or all of the tips – keep working on eating healthy!
(If you’re in a hurry, look for ‘the key’ in each section.)
(Christians – tips #5, #6, #8, #9, and #10 are especially for you!)
1 Use a Diet Tracker Tool
One of the very first things to do to help your family start eating healthy is to set up an online diet tracker tool.
And, scientific research has shown that tapping into dietary counsel to make lifestyle changes is more likely to bring you success. Based on that research, you should want to use it!
Now, it is a tool for an individual, so ideally each person in your family should have an account. But, a committed adult can successfully use the tool to represent the whole family.
The key, in the beginning, is to eat as you have in the past. Enter your food (& any exercise) for 5-7 days. Don’t change anything yet.
At the end of that short phase, look at your caloric intake. Compare to what the App’s recommended caloric intake should be. You will very likely have room for improvement!
The beauty of the tool comes through using it. Over a reasonably short time, you start to see how many calories are in the foods you are eating (or serving) now. By using the tool, you quickly begin to learn options that will work better for you (and your family), so you can start to substitute these foods into your family’s diet.
2 Start Eating Healthy – Use a Grocery and Pantry List App
Most people who use a grocery list do it to save money on groceries.
Did you know it’s also one of the first steps to help your family start eating healthy? Yep!
I like List Eaze, it has an excellent free option, but there are many other good ones too.
The key is to go through your pantry and refrigerator before you make a meal plan and grocery list. First, you can blend less healthy options with more healthy options in your meal planning. Then you can stop buying less healthy foods and choose better options at the grocery store.
Some experts suggest you throw out all of your unhealthy food when you first begin. I disagree – especially when you have a family. It doesn’t make sense to expect an entire family to change 100% of their eating habits overnight.
And, if you’re like me – you have a limited food budget. So, it makes more sense to start bringing a few substitutions into your family’s diet every week versus starting all over with all new food. (Speaking of food budgets, I think you’ll like the money-saving tips in the short video at the end of this article about grocery apps).
3 Start Eating Healthy – Use a Menu Plan
Menu planning is not just a way to save money at the grocery store. It helps keep your pantry items rotated, and it is the key to boosting the success of eating healthy.
One of the most straightforward strategies to avoid making poor food choices is to have a plan in place before you are hungry. A meal plan allows you to do this for all meals and snacks. To make this an even greater success, use the menu plan with the tips in the next section.
4 Three Tips I Share with New Clients to Start Eating Healthy
When I work with patients and clients, I typically hear the same reasons for not eating healthy food. These are the three strategies I provide to help them overcome their barriers and start eating healthy.
a. Do meal prepping in your downtime (on the weekend or one day during the week, mornings or evenings). Wash and cut up some veggies (and applicable fruits) and put them into snack size containers. Place the containers and other fruits in easy to see areas in the frig. Make fruits part of your meal plan instead of an ‘afterthought.’
b. Serve the proper portion size. You can make a big impact on your family’s daily caloric intake by changing HOW MUCH everyone eats, even before changing WHAT everyone eats.
c. Take lunch to work. To make taking your lunch to work more accessible, prepare a meal plan and include leftovers for lunch. The key here is working towards, “Cook once eat twice.” We use these lunch containers to help with portion sizes and flexibility.
5 Learn How God Sees Your Self-Care
The Lord gave you a purpose, your spiritual gifts, and your body.
Have you ever thought about their synergy? And, how these all work together – especially when you are doing service, sharing the Gospel (or in your ministry work) for the Lord?
Scripture shows that God is the wise creator of your body (See Psalm 100:3). But, He created it in a way that requires you to provide the needed support. God’s design for your body is NOT a maintenance-free form. Do you know why He chose this method? Because, when you take care of your body, you use your gifts for your calling at your highest ability. The Lord fully expects you to do the proper self-care.
The key is that self-care is a way to show obedience to God. A form of worship.
6 Your Self-Talk Affects Your Self-Care
Telling yourself that you can’t do something is a sure fire way not to do something. It’s defeating because it causes fear and doubt.
So, what do you say to yourself if you are not providing Lord-deserving self-care? Where and how do you begin changing your self-talk?
You won’t find the confidence to start by looking inward (your flesh) or outward (the world). Look upward instead. Pray, ask for wisdom, and listen to the Lord!
Change your mindset by reading scripture. Bring Christ into the process. Say grace at meals. Pray while meal planning or grocery shopping. The key is to stay in His will and pray about your struggles with your eating choices and ask the Lord for His wisdom.
“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of him.” (1 John 5:14-15).
7 Inexpensive Must-Have Products For Success
Our eyes trick us especially when we’re hungry! Portions are typically higher when not measured. (Do your experimenting! The next time you eat a meal, measure your serving after you put it on your plate.)
As I stated above, serving the proper portion size is the key: you need a way to accurately measure the portions, weight, and temperature of food. You can make a big impact on your family's daily caloric intake by changing HOW MUCH everyone eats, even before changing WHAT everyone eats.
We use these tools regularly and love them:
-A DIGITAL food scale Digital Food Scale
-And a reliable, but inexpensive digital meat thermometer.
-Not required (but super convenient for very busy people), the Instant Pot (we have the Ultra model & it’s incredible!).
Do not be ashamed to use tools to help you!
8 Start Eating Healthy Even With Picky Eaters
Picky eaters – I think all of us are picky eaters on some level, but a few of us have kids (or spouses) that would probably be on the top of the list!
Don’t force new entrees on picky eaters. Instead, offer new options as a side dish, and provide it often. Encourage picky eaters to take one bite. If they don’t like it, they don’t have to eat it.
Many times it takes more than seven tastings to change a palate, so picky eaters are going to require even more tastings.
The key – don’t get mad and don’t give up!
They aren’t trying to be difficult. Don’t get discouraged. Over time, and with many tastings, they may learn to like new, healthy options.
Consider praying for the picky eater, bringing them into the process of meal planning and substitution options, and grocery shopping for fresh produce.
9 Start Eating Healthy Even When You’re Busy
A quick win for busy people – keep it simple! And give yourself plenty of time.
Start your journey with easy to follow recipes. I like to recommend Cooking Light Magazine because it is inexpensive and provides a variety of seasonal recipes. They typically have ‘lightened’ recipes of your favorite comfort foods, everyday ingredients, and they are pretty easy for even a novice to prepare.
If you have extra money in your food budget to pay for convenience, buy pre-cut fresh or frozen produce (i.e., diced onions, peppers, and celery add flavor with few calories). Subscribe to a meal delivery service.
Set Christian-grounded priorities. Be prayerful about your schedule and make hard decisions. The key is to remember God’s grace and forgiveness you have been given through the blood, death, and resurrection of Christ. You & your family’s health/wellness & self-care should be a priority as a Christian.
10 How to Keep Going After You Start Eating Healthy
With prayer; confidence replaces doubt. Courage replaces fear. You are blessed with the power to start doing the things your body needs for Kingdom work – even when it’s hard to do!
But here is the key and very best thing. Centering on the Lord moves you away from the desire to use your body for your pleasure and purposes, and towards the desire and willingness to use your body for God’s glory.
Your desire to please God transforms into a steady source of motivation to start and continue doing Lord worthy self-care! And, yes, it is another way of worship.
Yes, it can be hard to start eating healthy. But, as a Christian, you have a resource that is like nothing else!
When you know that self-care is a way to show obedience to the Lord, it makes decisions more transparent. Bringing your self-care needs into your prayers stops negative self-talk. And centering on the Lord gives you the RIGHT motivation to continue on the journey.
Learn how to apply your faith in your self-care and find motivation, take better care of yourself, and meet your self-care goals!
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