I don’t have enough time.
It’s too expensive.
I don’t know where to start.
Do you know what the above three sentences represent? The most common excuses I hear for why people don’t eat healthy. Let’s address each one of these:
1- I don’t have enough time. No one really has enough time. There is always something to do and somewhere to be. Just like your mama always told you – money doesn’t grow on trees – well neither does time. Just like you have to work hard to make money, you have to work hard to make time; which often means changing around your schedule. For me, I used to always wake up late (unable to pack my lunch and eat a healthy breakfast). Now, I try to wake up an hour earlier in order to make egg beaters and turkey sausage (no buttery toast as I am running out the door) and for lunch I make sure I plan for something healthy and low-carb (a salad, wrap, etc). Another suggestion is cleaning your plate – not literally the plate in front of you at the dinner table- rather, evaluate all the organizations, clubs, classes, etc. that you are involved in. Think of what you can eliminate from your busy schedule to give yourself valuable time to focus on your health and fitness.
2- It’s too expensive. This one gets me every time. I understand – in general- healthier foods are more expensive. However, you can eat healthy and still remain in your budget. It starts with pre-planning your meals and thinking of what you can re-use in other dishes. Think about how much money people spend on going out to eat. Sometimes Justin and I will spend $40 at dinner just between the two of us! I could buy a week of healthy meals with $40. Grilled chicken breast, vegetables, fish (this is where the cost really is noticeable), fruits, etc. Let’s apply a real-world example. A (good) frozen pizza cost about $5 – using that same money, I could get a bag of carrot sticks for $1 at Meijer (steam those puppies up and save the rest for snacks), chicken drumsticks $2.50 (to grill up) and box of brown rice $2. I spent 50 cents more and I have a healthy meal and leftover carrots for snacks! But the cost savings isn’t what matters; it’s the calories, grams of fat and grams of carbs that you end up saving that TRULY matter.
|Grilled scallops and fish (not sure which kind) and a grilled tomato stuffed with goat cheese and corn!|
|Grilled salmon, carrots and broccoli! YUM!|
3- I don’t know where to start. We’ve all been there. You feel stuck in old habits and don’t know how to change them. You aren’t sure what to cook and are always stumped at what healthy dishes to order when you dine out. Like all good things, it starts with research! Instead of picking up a Cosmo at the grocery store, pick up a health and fitness magazine such as Women’s Health or Healthy Living. Google recipes for healthy meals and side dishes. You’d be surprised by the healthy desserts you can make too.
Here are a few meals and snacks I enjoy:
• Non-fat plain Greek yogurt with one packet of splenda and add berries of your choice. I buy a large bag of frozen berries, which taste great and last longer. This is a delicious and sweet snack that fills you up at the same time!
• Hummus – my dear Hummus. I love it. Instead of eating it with pita bread or chips (high carbs) I opt for carrots or other veggies such as broccoli and cauliflower – even mushrooms are good dipped in hummus!
• Low-carb wraps filled with turkey, ham or chicken loaded with lettuce, tomato, avocado, and low-fat mozzarella cheese – sometimes light mayo. Make it a high-fiber vegetarian wrap by using black beans, corn, salsa, lettuce, low-fat mozzarella cheese and non-fat plain Greek yogurt (for those of you who love sour cream like me).
• Egg beaters or egg whites with turkey sausage crumbles are delicious. Add in chopped veggies such as peppers, mushrooms, and onions. Sprinkle low fat mozzarella cheese and salsa / hot sauce for more flavor. The best way to start your morning!
• Get rid of pop! NOW! Start drinking green tea and water. Coffee without sugar or cream is great too. It’ll grow hair on your chest, so get some Nair. Just kidding, but you really do get used to it. And if hopes for a better future in taste don’t make you change your mind, think about this: You will gain an average of 10 lbs a year simply from drinking coffee with sugar and cream every morning.
• For dinners, Justin and I usually cook a meat (typically chicken or fish – sometimes ground turkey or chicken burgers without buns) with a salad or two vegetable sides (broccoli, asparagus, zucchini, yellow squash, green beans, corn and sometimes potatoes (baked only).
• Vegetable stir fry- less rice, more veggies!
• My favorite fruit snacks, which are easy to carry with me are: bananas, mangos, peaches and oranges. I generally hate apples, but make an exception for apples with peanut butter or Apple Crisp (not on the approval list, however).
I hope this helps you stop making excuses (like I did for countless years). It’s not easy. And there have been times I cried at the thought of eating another piece of grilled chicken. Literally, I cried; tears- down my face. But I sucked it up and ate that grilled chicken. Because at the end of the day, I know I’d cry a lot more if I ate a cheesey pepperoni pizza and breadsticks dipped in nacho cheese dip.
In the meantime, what excuse do you hear most often and what is your reaction?
Read Eating Right Part 1 here.