How many times have you heard or said to yourself something along the lines of, “I don’t have the money to eat healthy.” This is such a common excuse and, to be honest, I’ve said it myself in the past. We assume that “eating healthy” means buying tons of fresh fruit and vegetables and needing to go to the grocery store multiple times per week in order to keep our salads fresh. The only time that this might be the case is if you are deciding to be 100% vegetarian, and even then, it is probably better to ease yourself into it until it is practical and simple to make the switch.
I've learned it's much better to focus on the smaller habits you can do that add up. If you do that, you’ll find it truly is not any more costly and it can also be an easy and enjoyable change to make. In this post, I will share tips given by nutrition experts as well as small habit changes to make it easy for you to follow their advice.
Tip #1 - Water
Shawn Stevenson, nutritionist and general health expert, suggests drinking half your bodyweight each day in water, switching pounds for ounces. For example, if you weight 150lbs, he states that you should drink 75oz (about 9 glasses) of water each day. He says that there is no reason to exceed 100oz unless you have a heavy workout that day. This is similar to other respected health experts’ recommendations like Dr. Cate Shanahan and Ben Greenfield.
Habits Involving Water
Shawn suggests starting your day off with 20-30oz of water to both get a head start on this goal and to wash your body of toxins first thing in the morning. He then suggests keeping a water bottle with you throughout the day. These two habits paired together make drinking a healthy amount of water each day easily attainable.1
Tip #2 - Fruits & Vegetables
Another tip by Shawn Stevenson is to eat at least two servings of green leafy vegetables and one cup of berries each day. He warns not to overdo the berries because they are loaded with sugars and states that avocados are also a great option to add in at breakfast time. Dr. Steven Gundry, nutrition expert and former cardiologist, also suggests the same amount of daily green leafy vegetables.
Habits Involving Fruits & Vegetables
Shawn suggests starting your day with a green smoothie or a shake with vegetables and/or berries that you don’t think you’ll get throughout the day. Personally, I try to get these amounts of fruits and vegetables each day but if I am unable to reach them, I use pre-made smoothies from the grocery store and/or supergreen supplement powders at the end of the day to make up for what I’ve missed.
Another simple habit to help this is by, rather than keeping your fruit hidden in your fridge, leave it in a bowl on the counter so you walk by and see it every day. This is a tip I’ve heard from multiple experts, including James Clear, an expert on motivation and success through improving your habits.2-4
Tip #3 - Soda Kick
Dr. Cate Shanahan, physician and nutrition expert, states that one soda each day can increase your risk of heart attack by 30% and increase calcium buildup in your arteries by 70%. She also states, “I don’t recommend diet soda unless you are using it as a bridge to kick the regular soda habit.”
Habits to Help Kick the Soda
In order to kick this habit, you need to find an alternative you enjoy. Dr. Cate suggests the following alternatives: ice-cold sparkling water with a lemon wedge, herbal tea, or 6-10oz of kombucha with the lowest amount of sugar you can find.
Although Dr. Cate does not advocate for any sweeteners, Shawn Stevenson and Ben Greenfield both believe Stevia is a good and safe alternative to sugar. Personally, the alternatives I use are iced tea, lemonade (made with water and lemon juice), or an iced tea/lemonade mixture sweetened with stevia.5
I’m sure these habits sound like a lot but they have been very helpful for me and if you fall short some days, don’t stress – it’s better to make some effort than not try at all. Dr. Cate recommends trying to make one new change each time you go to the market rather than making a whole list of changes at once. You can also start small and work your way up by limiting soda rather than going cold turkey or trying to work in just 1 serving of vegetables each day and don’t worry about the type of vegetable, just pick something you enjoy eating.6
Next time you go to the market, try one of these habit changes. Small changes each day turn into enormous improvements over time. Thank you for reading and I hope this helps you. If you find one habit is successful and you enjoy it, try the next one. Let me know how it goes in the comments below! Also, if you have any questions, feel free to comment below or ask me via email @ firstname.lastname@example.org.
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