So, I don’t know about you, but I used to go into the New Year with these huge, overhauled goals for how I was going to change my routines and up my efficiency. Can you relate to that one? I figured you might.
But, here’s the thing: that has really changed for me over the years. I’ve let go of a lot of those massive expectations for myself, and I’ve instead focused more towards setting intentions that feel good for exactly where I’m at, each season. Sometimes each month, depending what’s going on and where my head & heart are at.
Plus, life lately? This world lately? Mama, doing the best you can to stay grounded and calm is literally all any of us can ask for.
But, I know that a big intention a lot of people set is trying to overhaul health habits in the New Year.
And while I’m a big believer that real health is year-round and can be picked up at any time, usually the ways we’re encouraged to do that are so very ALL or NOTHING, extreme or intense. Which usually isn’t realistic for more than a week, and then creates guilt around not being perfect. But let’s agree on something together…. No guilt this year, okay?
This season has already been a lot, and I’m going to guess that it will probably keep being a lot. I wanted to share some of the ways that you can take that stress and overwhelm out of eating healthier, so that you can finally stop focusing on an all or nothing mentality, and instead implement actual, sustainable, and meaningful changes.
I always like to start with food, because when your blood sugar is stable and your body is getting flooded with nutrients (aka in real food), your emotional and mental state always follows. It’s the easiest place to start to get the most impact. Plus we HAVE to eat everyday, so you might as well upgrade it in tiny ways each day. That’s what I’m all about.
5 Ways to Make Healthy Eating Way Easier on Yourself This Season
1. Stock up on pantry staples.
I can promise you that I do not always have it all figured out when it comes to cooking, and there are some days I do *not* want to be in the kitchen. But, by implementing a little pantry staple ritual in my life from month-to-month, I’ve been able to take a ton of the stress and hassle out of cooking. Yes, PLEASE.
By constantly keeping certain things stocked in your pantry, you’ll save SO much money, time and stress when it comes to picking and cooking your meals for the week.
I’d imagine you probably already have a couple of things you tend to keep in your pantry all the time, right? For some of you, it might just be ramen packets (we can level that up, I promise!), and for some of you it might be a couple bags of beans and a box or so of pasta.
The trick? Stock up what makes sense for you and your family, and make sure you can always whip up something quick, simple and healthy, no matter what happened at work today. I love Thrive Market for this, since they have everything from coconut milk to my favorite gluten-free pasta, but I also make a point of picking up any pantry staples I can think of when I’m at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s during the day.
I had so much fun sharing all of my pantry staples a while ago (check out my pantry right here!), but the intention is the same no matter what:
When you stock up on healthy, simple favorites, cooking nutrient-packed food becomes a whole lot easier, cheaper, and more fun.
Instead of feeling like you need to run out to the store and stock up your whole pantry at once, just start being a little more intentional when it comes to what you’re picking up. If there are things you know your family and your body loves, buy some extras when you can or when you think about it. When you focus on that, it all comes together.
2. Find places to seek out cooking inspiration
I know that a big part of eating healthy with JOY comes down to actually finding things you want to COOK, right?! This is where bookmarking places that give you healthy inspiration comes into play, mama.
I have a ton of recipes saved from all sorts of sites on Pinterest that I’ll dig through when I’m in need of a little extra something something, and I love digging through some of my favorite Instagram follows to see if anything looks really good to me that night. I also love a good cookbook, because, let’s be real:
I am not inspired to cook something crazy or complicated every night, either.
When you find food blogs, Pinterest boards, or recipes that look good to ya, save ’em!
I’m also a big fan of trying to re-create recipes I’ve had and loved from restaurants, so keep track of any meals you really loved in the Notes app on your phone. Instant inspiration!
If you’re looking for some done-for-you meal planning help that takes the chaos out of cooking and puts the FUN back in it, come join us in the BRAND NEW Simply Real Health Cooking Club! You’ll be able to customize your meals (aka sorting via ingredients you already have in your fridge, any food sensitivities, type of meal, etc), weekly inspiration pulled for you, plus the ability to adjust serving sizes and create exact shopping lists each week.
3. Don’t try to do it all alone
The best way to get yourself overwhelmed is to try to do everything by yourself, right? When you try to do everything on your own, the simple joy of cooking and eating healthy food is gone– and we don’t want that for each other, right?!
Whether you have a cooking buddy, a friend who you FaceTime during your walks, a podcast that makes you feel a little less alone while chopping your veggies, or a Facebook group that helps you with healthy meal ideas (come say hi in the free SRH Cooking Club FB group. It’s so fun in there!), it’s really all about community.
Don’t do it all alone, mama. When you bring other people into cooking and living a healthy lifestyle, it’s so much easier to find the light in it all– and there’s so much!
Really, healthy eating becoming a burden is one of the reasons I created the Simply Real Health Cooking Club… because I get it, too. On top of customized meal plans and hundreds of recipes, you ‘ll be able to talk to and share joys with a built-in community that loves real food and simple living as much as you do.
4. Plan it out (lightly)!
I think there’s a stigma around meal planning in the wellness community… that real meal prep involves 27 Tupperware containers in the fridge, full of eggs and brown rice and chicken breast.
No, thanks from me over here…
Meal planning brings me tons of joy and saves me tons of time, but I also don’t do it the ~fitness-y~ way… instead, I’d recommend planning out three or so meals a week that you know you want to make, and then deciding what days you think you want to make them.
Plus, if you’re a SRH Cooking Club member, you get 3 ideas for suggested seasonal meals to make from me each week… just sayin.’ 🙂
Those other days can be a little more flexible. Maybe they’re for leftovers, maybe they’re for a good gluten-free pizza night, maybe they’re for a whole new recipe you hadn’t planned on… and that’s okay.
To keep the lightness around food, you have to leave yourself room to be flexible and intentional, and that’s where my version of planning meals comes in. When you start adding tons of restriction around it, you end up A) resentful towards your food or B) more stressed out than you were before.
Plus, a real, healthy lifestyle leaves room for the pizza nights and the restaurant orders, too. Don’t ever, ever let yourself forget that one.
5. Keep it simple
The most beautiful, lasting changes and joys we implement in our lives are simple. They’re little changes. They’re intentional switches.
When you’re thinking about healthy living, I want you to always think of the simple… the from-the-earth foods, the easy ingredients, the happiness that can come from eating well. I don’t ever want you to look at healthy eating as something that needs to be complicated, because that’s where all of the good stuff gets lost.
That simple, joyful method of eating is one that’s sustainable, that makes you happy, and that keeps you coming back for more. When you put tons of pressure around all of it, you start to run into an all-or-nothing mentality, which isn’t a good place to be, and doesn’t help with anything.
So, if you take anything from me with this, let it be: simple is always better. Simple changes, simple food, simple joys. That’s it.