I had a great question from one of my readers recently, and wanted to share the answer with everyone:
The question is about trying to lose weight when you don’t like fruits and vegetables, and live with someone who often cooks unhealthy meals.
How to eat a healthy diet
One of the most important things you can do, when trying to eat healthier, is to make small changes, which you can stick with.
So, rather than trying to change everything at once, take it step by step, accomplishing one or two goals at a time.
Something you may want to try is goal setting, as this is an excellent way to focus your mind on what you want to achieve.
Brief guidelines for daily healthy eating:
- Plenty of fruit and vegetables (aim for 1-2 portions of fruit, and 5+ portions of vegetables)
- If you are not seeking to lose weight, carbs like brown rice or sweet potatoes are a good choice at each main meal
- Some milk and dairy foods
- Protein rich foods like meat, poultry, fish, eggs and beans
- Very little processed foods and sugar rich foods
- No trans fats
What to do if you dislike fruits and vegetables
For those who dislike most fruits and vegetables, unfortunately there is no magic pill which can take their place.
Eating a variety of different colored fruits and vegetables is essential when it comes to achieving optimum health.
Without adequate intake we put our bodies at risk for certain diseases, illnesses, and possibly even vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
1) Go with what you have initially
If you already enjoy eating particular fruits and vegetables, this a good starting point.
My advice would be to regularly serve the vegetables and fruits which you enjoy, and then try to increase the variety of your intake little by little.
It’s important to try out new varieties as often as you can – there really are so many to choose from, you’re sure to find something you enjoy!
2) Try out new methods:
Remember, that some vegetables can be disguised in meals:
- Grate carrots or zuccini into curries or stews.
- Mash white beans into minced beef.
- Blend vegetables and add to pasta sauce.
Experiment with different styles of cooking:
- BBQ, or roasted vegetables taste very different to boiled, or steamed vegetables.
- Try eating your vegetables raw for extra variety, and crunch.
- For quick cooking options, vegetables can be microwaved in a little water.
If fresh fruits and vegetables are too expensive:
- Opt for those that are in season, as they tend to be cheaper.
- Have a selection of frozen and canned (choose low salt/sugar versions) vegetable options, as these are also acceptable.
- Keep a supply of frozen and canned (in natural juices) fruit for quick and easy desserts, or snacks.
- For lunch always try to have a salad with, or in, your sandwich, for example dark green lettuce, peppers, tomatoes, onion, cucumbers, and grated carrot etc.
- Take care with sauces, dressings, and other condiments etc as they tend to be either high in unhealthy oils, sugar, and salt, or a combination of all three. Try flavoring your foods with herbs, spices, olive oil, lemon juice etc.
- Ultimately the responsibility lies with you as to what you put into your body. Therefore, if unhealthy foods are served, choose for example to eat chicken and vegetables, and opt not to have the French fries. If you still feel hungry have a piece of fruit and natural yogurt afterwards.
- Check out my article, A Visual View of Serving Sizes Using Everyday Items, to learn about portion sizing.
Eat well at work to help you reach your fruit and veggie portions:
- Have a piece of fruit, or fruit salad, on hand for an easy mid-morning snack
- Prepare sliced raw vegetables, as a mid-afternoon snack.
Finding time for exercise
If you really want to lose weight, the fastest way to do so is to combine a healthy diet with exercise.
This doesn’t necessarily mean expensive gym membership, or joining a fitness class; however you should choose an activity that will raise your heart and breathing rate, and aim for 15 to 30 minutes a day, at least 5 days each week.
If you’ve been inactive for some time, you can start with 10 minutes each day, and gradually increase the duration, as your strength improves. Here are a few examples of aerobic exercise:
- Brisk walking
- Aerobic classes
- Swimming, or water aerobics
- Playing tennis, squash, or badminton
You should also try to incorporate strength training in your routine a couple of times each week.
This will help to build strong bones and muscles.
If you can’t afford to join a class, or gym, you could lift weights at home, however take care to learn exactly how to use them safely.
It’s important to be as active as you possibly can throughout the day, as every little helps. Check out my previous articles, for more tips on how to achieve this:
- How to Increase your Physical Activity While you Work
- 6 Top Tips for Increasing your Physical Activity
Here are a few additional tips from Diet and Fitness Resources:
- Park at the far end of the car park.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.
- Walk the dog for an extra 5 minutes.
- Go for a walk during your lunch break, or walk to buy your lunch.
- Walk to the corner shop instead of driving.
- Walk to a friends houses instead of driving.
- Get friends and family out of the house for a game of football or Frisbee.
- Remember, gardening and household chores count as well.
If you have any other tips or suggestions, please feel free to comment below.