How to create healthy habits

I’m sure you’ve heard the term “out of sight out of mind” and for me it rings true.

How many times have you been bored, stressed, or sad and reached for whatever snacks and junk food you have stocked in the pantry regardless if you’re hungry or not. I know I’ve been there…a million times. 

For most of us, when we’re under any amount of physical or emotional stress or discomfort we reach for something that will make us feel better- and in most cases it’s food.

Something sweet when you’re sad or missing connection with others…something salty when you’re stressed or bored.

Cravings come from both physical and emotional imbalances- more to explore around that later! 

How many times have you been under one of those conditions, turned off your Netflix marathon, changed out of your sweats, grabbed the car keys, and headed out to the store? Sure, maybe once of twice- but that’s MUCH more unlikely to happen then heading to the pantry and grabbing something that's super accessible and a perceived quick fix to the feelings you're experiencing. Maybe instead you hang out with your loved one, take a shower, drink some tea, dance around the room, stretch, or call a friend. 

So, if you’re making a change this year and starting to eat healthier, create an atmosphere that SCREAMS success.

Some individuals can practice moderation and keep that pint of ice cream in the freezer or bar of chocolate in the pantry, and have one serving once a week when they’re treating themselves without the need to eat the whole thing.

But for many of us- especially those who are making a shift to a healthier way of eating for the first time ever, and all of this is very new, it’s wiser to make your home a safe space that lends itself to effortless healthy choices and behaviors.

Because if all you have in your pantry are good options and nourishing real food- that’s what you’re going to eat, plain and simple! 

There is enough temptation out there already- every commercial, billboard, and magazine (only to name a few) are advertising unhealthy temptations to us 24/7. It’s near impossible to avoid them!!

Make your home a place where you can focus on what’s important to you-maintaining your health and feeling good, and leave the treats for that special dinner our with your honey or friends at a great restaurant. 

So how do you do it? 

1. Clean out your pantry and fridge

If you’re not comfortable with just tossing things, donate them or give them away. Get rid of anything in a bag or box that is made up of ingredients that you don’t understand.

If you don’t understand it, your body won’t either! This is industrial seed oils (soybean, corn, cottonseed, canola), excess sugars and artificial sugars, additives, preservatives, fillers and gums- anything that doesn’t make sense to you. 

This will also get you in the habit of reading nutrition labels and looking at the ingredients, versus just the calorie content. Often marketers will advertise buzz words like "natural" and "heart-healthy" to get you to buy their products- it’s smart and it works. But don’t be fooled! There are no regulations on those words and they don’t really mean anything. 

You’ll feel empowered when you start to be a proactive consumer and check the ingredients. You will most definitely learn a lot about what goes into processed foods and won’t be so inclined to purchase them anymore when you find out what’s really in there.

I don’t care how low-calorie, low-fat, or low-carb something is, or if it says "healthy" on the package- if it’s made up of crap, it’s crap. 

Easy way to avoid this all-together? Start purchasing more real, whole foods! Shop the perimeter of the store- fill your cart with fruit, veggies, eggs, nuts, meat, and seafood- there’s no confusion to their ingredients!

2. Stock your fridge and pantry with healthy options

I’m a big fan of meal prepping and keeping lots of ingredients around the house that can be put together for a quick healthy meal. I often cook ahead a bunch of protein options- like chicken breasts or thighs and grass-fed ground beef. When I get home from the store I chop all my veggies so I can easily roast, sauté, or steam them. I make my own almond milk or buy hemp milk for smoothies or to add to tea, have frozen fruit for smoothies easily available, and keep healthy carbs like sweet potatoes, plantains, and canned organic pumpkin around.

Other fantastic options to keep in the house are pasture-raised eggs, nut butters, coconut oil, olive oil, canned wild salmon or tuna, and lots of greens for salads. Keep things easily visible so you know they’re there! 

3. Organize your kitchen and make sure you have everything you need

It’s really important to stock your kitchen with the necessary tools so you can start prepping and cooking more at home instead of running out for takeout or going out to eat.

The more you have to work with the more you’ll be excited to play around in the kitchen. I know this is true for me, as most of the Christmas gifts I received this year were kitchen gadgets- my loved ones know me well! 

I recommend good sharp knives, plenty of glass containers or BPA-free tupperware for meal prepping and taking food to-go, a good blender, a good vegetable peeler, measuring spoons and cups, and a slow cooker as some fantastic staples for getting started in the kitchen.

Start perusing recipes for inspiration and to get a better idea of what sorts of ingredients and kitchen tools you’ll always want to have in the house!

I love checking out Instagram and watching cooking shows on the food network- my guilty pleasure for sure! 

The more you set yourself up with the proper tools to cook in the kitchen, the more you’re creating an atmosphere for success in a healthier lifestyle!

4. Let others know what you’re up to

Often times having support and accountability are the things that help us keep going.

When you know others are there supporting you in achieving your goals, keeping you accountable, or even taking part in the journey with you- you’re creating a community conducive to success. So tell your family and loved ones the plan!

Let them know this is really important to you-and tell them WHY.

If they really love you, they’ll help you reach your goals, especially when they know the why behind them! 

Experiment with healthy snacks and new recipes- and don’t tell them, show them that eating healthy tastes good!

Go grocery shopping together and pick out some produce you've never tried before, ingredients for a new fun recipe, or prep and cook together to get everyone involved.

The more you take action, the more others will follow suit- lead by example.

And for those of you who are shaking your head right now thinking that your family will not be one to change no matter what you do- then let it go. I’ve experienced this before as well, and even though I’m excited about eating well and feeling good, some people just prefer not to hear it and are stuck in their ways. And that’s fine. So let it be and keep going on your own journey! Soon you’ll be feeling so good and having more energy that other people won’t have any other choice but to take notice!!

What ways do you create an atmosphere for success??