Make A Healthy Eating Routine

Filed under: General Health, Nutrition

For many people who try to change their eating habits and can never make it stick (and for all of you who maybe have fallen off the wagon for your New Year’s resolution), this is often due to a lack of a routine. Humans are creatures of habit. Every morning we do the same thing; get up, eat breakfast (probably the same), take a shower, go to work, etc. The trick is to utilize this, and make it work for you, not against you.

Often times when people want to begin eating better they buy all this healthy food, but have no game plan for what their meals will look like. They try lots of different combinations, and all kinds of cool “healthy” recipes, but somehow they still can’t seem to stick to it. As weird as it may sound, including too much variety in the beginning can make things much more challenging, and less likely to work. In fact that was one of the only complaints with the original Warp Speed Fat Loss, so when when Warp Speed Fat Loss 2.0 came out, Mike offered a diet plan with a lot more continuity and a lot less variety, to great success.

Sometimes, actually most of the time, removing the thinking from the equation makes life, and eating, a hell of a lot easier. One of the best things that I have found with my clients is to keep things are routine as possible, especially for the first few months. This means less variety, but more consistency.

Find meals that you like and stick with them. I usually suggest finding 3 options for each meal or snack, and either rotating them as needed, or just alternate days. These options do not even have to be very different to make it feel like you are having some variety, but still being consistent. For example having an omelet with 2 slices of sprouted grain toast could be changed to some scrambled eggs with some oatmeal and blueberries the next day. Usually the less drastic the difference, the better.

This may sound boring, as variety is the spice of life, but until you have your eating habits locked in place and you are able to kind of put it on cruise control, then this can make that transition from poor eater to good eater go much more smoothly. Make a routine and stick with it for a while. Slowly add in substitutions, or maybe just have a different dinner every night to keep things more exciting. Find what works best for you, and stick to it, as that is the fastest way to success.

Another good thing about making a routine is that you can see how you respond to different foods and/or meals. If you are consistently eating the same things, or basically the same things day in and day out, it allows you to monitor your response for a few hours after each meal and see how you feel. Are you sluggish? Are you sleepy? Are you full or hungry? Are you energized? Things of that nature.

To wrap it up, in the beginning take the guesswork out and keep it as basic and consistent as possible. Monitor your responses to foods, slowly add in more variety as you feel comfortable and can stay consistent to your eating habits (see my suggestions here and here), and learn to enjoy the taste of real food!

Once you have mastered that, then you can really take advantage of some awesome cookbooks like Gourmet Nutrition, Body By Eats, and The Healthiest Meals on Earth and enjoy everything they have to offer.

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Posted on February 17th, 2010 by Brian St. Pierre

26 Comments

  1. Deborah Says:

    Well this post makes me feel SO much better. I’ve definitely fallen into a routine with my meals — breakfast the same, lunch the same, dinner something I cooked on the weekend and eat all week — and truly enjoy the meals. However, all along I’ve felt as though I should apologize for taking this route. Funny how you can let someone else’s perception cloud the reality that what you are doing is working. I have lost 32 pounds and a ton of inches (working with a personal trainer twice a week along with cleaning up my nutrition) so I have seen great results with my “routine.” I also keep things interesting by being flexible on weekends. Great post for us creature of habit types!

  2. Dave Sherwood-Adcock Says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more, it is so important to have a plan and a routine, one that works. For our little ones it ca be quite a challenge to get them into a healthy routine in the first place. How many parents have said, ‘my child eats every vegetable (or most of them any way)with no complaints? Very few I am sure – I know my Son battles to even look at Spinach.

    In follow-on to your fantastic post, many parents would like to know how to overcome getting their children to eat whole foods? So whats’s the plan?

    Understanding what food is nutritious enough to serve our children and then how we serve it up, to make it attractive, makes all the difference in the world.

    The truth of the matter is that children are mini adults therefore they too have motivating factors to inspire them to eat healthy foods. Adults are in some way more stubborn than children, ironically however these five factors are true of all of us.

    1) Tasty choices. Many kids love plums, pears, watermelon, peaches, raspberries, blackberries, tangerines, cherries, blueberries, strawberries, and pineapples and it’s far too often kids’ fruit alternatives are restricted to only apples and bananas, and maybe oranges and grapes too. Try corn bran, Spoon-Sized Shredded Wheat, or oatmeal with fresh berries. Instead of crackers or toast made from white flour try bran crispbread as a snack especially whole-grain pancakes, children love these. Children will develop their tastes the sooner they start in this direction. Butter on green beans makes them a lot tastier so during the preschool years, make butter a treat for vegetables. Raw carrot sticks go down very well because of the “crunch,” many kids like all by themselves.

    2) The limitation factor. If there are healthy foods readily available, children will pick their favorites from amongst those healthy choices.

    3) Presentation needs to be FUN. Multimillion-dollar advertising campaigns compete against us all the time when we are deciding what to feed our children. TV doesn’t always help either because there are many commercials that promote sweetened breakfast cereals which while reaching their right audience, sweetened cereals are not as healthy as the unsweetened variety. Add fruit to cereals which would take place of the ‘sweetners’. Where are the commercials for fresh fruit and veggies? That job is left to us to promote. Children love shapes and things more interesting in color. Preschool children often love food that is shaped like a clown, a face, favorite hero or cartoon character or even a dinosaur etc. Processed macaroni is manufactured this way because it sells. How do we make healthy food as appealing as the empty or harmful alternatives? Try a whole-grain pancake with a strawberry for a nose, kiwi slices for eyes, and banana for the mouth. Stand corn on the cob up right when serving it (pretend it’s a rocket ship), decorate food in ways that children can ‘see something else’ besides a plate full of veggies – think like a preschool child – let your imagination run.

    4) If that happens to fail, be a sneak and sneak it in. Make carrot muffins with zucchini bread. Add pieces of fruit or shaved vegetables to virtually any baked dish. While dried fruit is high in sugar, it is also high in fiber so dried cranberries can be a hit. Kids love smoothies! A great way to hide fruit and vegetables is in whole-food smoothies and juices. The Sneaky Chef and Deceptively Delicious are two recently published cookbooks that offer more ideas on how to hide the healthy stuff!

    5) Multivitamins are essential. In this day and age so many foods are processed so give a daily multivitamin as a safety net. Vitamins are compounds necessary in trace amounts for the normal functioning of children and adults alike.

    I have great respect for the longstanding relationship between humans and their natural foods. By eating whole foods (fresh fruit, vegetables and whole grains, etc.), your child can get the necessary vitamins in the healthiest way.

    In order to see the world around us we need these vitamins to grow as they help bones and connective tissue to grow, stop us from bleeding to death, heal wounds, fight infections and cancer, and keep our teeth from falling out.

    As we know most preschoolers and toddlers are often picky eaters. As children’s tastes change as they grow, and they do eventually get to eating a more well-rounded diet. So vitamins (the “safety net”) takes the pressure off feeding issues during the primary years. You can be free to be creative about increasing whole foods in your child’s diet, knowing that vitamins are present to help your child grow strong and healthy without pressure or worry.

    Now that we have mass advertising, children’s fun meals, and peer pressure makes the battle all the harder. Never push or force them, entice them, persuade them and most importantly teach them. Battle bad nutrition rather. The battle should never be with your kids.

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