When we start talking about diet what is the first thing that comes to mind, starvation and restriction, right? When I look at changing my eating patterns I always think about the things I can't or shouldn't have. But I want you to again think about adding food and not taking away everything at once. What is the one food group that you can eat a lot of and not worry about over consuming and actually most of us don't even hit the daily recommended intake? Vegetables! The recommended servings of vegetables is 6-10 servings a day. How many of us really achieve that number daily. I really like vegetables but I think I am still short every day.
To really get your vegetables you should include one with your breakfast which really isn't bad depending on what you are having that day. If I eat eggs I really like to have broccoli or a salad with it but if I have yogurt or cereal not really my side dish of choice. Look at ways you can add the vegetables into your diet and soon you will be replacing other foods with the vegetables. If you are having a sandwich for lunch add lettuce, tomato, cucumber and alfalfa sprouts. Or instead of having a sandwich, have a salad with a meat or bean protein on top. Replace the potato side dish with another vegetable. Contrary to what most of us were taught, potatoes and corn are not really vegetables. They are starches so they should be put in that category when planning our meals.
Vegetables in the raw form are generally the best as far as higher nutritional value but cooked is great also. I recommend staying away from the canned vegetables as much as possible. There are days my littlest girls will fight me on their vegetables at lunch. I don't mind giving them salad dressing if it means they will eat their vegetables. I know we can slowly remove the dressing with time. For me, the biggest pain with eating raw vegetables is cleaning and cutting them. So I cut all my vegetables along with a big salad every Monday (that is my day off) so I have no excuses the rest of the week.
Every Thursday I plan my meals for the following week. If I have a crazy night with activities and work, I make sure that meal will fit our schedule. I work until 6pm on Tuesdays and occasionally Thursdays so who wants to cook then? I make sure the meal is simple enough so Erik can cook or I have something in the slow cooker (great for fall and winter). This eliminates the dining out which leaves very few healthy options. I also pack my lunch for work the night before. If I do it in the morning I am always running late and decide to just pick something up for lunch. There are still nights with all the planning that we just don't want what was on the menu or we are both too tired to cook so pick up happens. Just try to make wise food choices and maybe eat more slowly so you will consume less food (stomach has more time to signal the brain that it is full).
Food can truly be a battle and the pitfall for our weight loss. I can have a bad day of food choices but the next day stay on target. Just try to be conscious about your food selections and don't beat yourself up if you have one bad day. There is so much more I can say about nutrition but instead of restricting yourself start to add the vegetables. Over time, healthy food choices will become easier.