5 Ways to Eat What You Want (while still staying healthy)
By Mary Ellen Phipps (owner, Milk & Honey Nutrition)
It usually happens to me about once/week. Someone will ask what I do (read more about that here)… I tell them I’m a dietitian… and then they act all shocked and shaken when I pop a French fry in my mouth! Or they want to know exactly what I eat so they can do the same.
As a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN), I’m definitely held to a higher standard… I’m sure people think I eat grass-fed organic non-GMO plant-based wheatgrass all day long. And when they see me enjoying a juicy hamburger or a fat chocolate chip cookie (gasp!), they act like their world has just been turned upside down.
So, how do I do it? How do I stay healthy and satisfied with what I’m eating, but not eat tree bark all day long? Here are 5 ways I eat what I want, while still staying healthy.
1. If I want junk food, I have to make it myself.
Whether its cookies, chips, or ice cream… if I’m going to eat it, it has to be made in my home. You won’t find me buying these items from the grocery store very often. Convenience makes eating junk food easier than it should be. By not keeping cookies in the house, I force myself to decide how badly I really want them. Is it worth taking the 45min-1hour to bake them? This also means that when I do make them, I give myself the freedom to enjoy as many as I want. I’m not going to stress about eating 3 cookies because I know I don’t eat them very often. (Check out my amazing cranberry white chocolate cookie recipe here… the secret ingredient will surprise you!)
This also helps with fried foods, like chips and French fries. Since I don’t own a deep fryer, if I’m making homemade versions of these, they’re going to be baked… which I don’t have to feel guilty about at all. (And it gives me freedom to experiment with things like carrot chips and carrot fries!)
2. When I eat food prepared outside my home, half my plate is non-starchy vegetables.
When I eat food from a restaurant, I make sure half my plate is non-starchy vegetables, like this. This helps lighten up the meal I’m eating and I can feel better about not knowing exactly how something was prepared. This also means, salads are generally off limits… surprising, right? Most restaurant salads are actually loaded with meat, cheese, and calorie-heavy dressings… so much so, that most of the plate/bowl is the toppings and not the fiber-filled greens. Try making a salad like this at home.
3. Eat a hearty plant-based breakfast.
There’s something about eating a big breakfast that makes me feel like I’m splurging a little. Eating a big satisfying breakfast also keeps me full until lunch, ensures I don’t get weak or light-headed mid-morning, and helps me not get tempted to snack. I also find when I eat a bigger breakfast, I end up not eating as much throughout the entire day as well. Some great make ahead plant-based breakfasts include: smoothies, overnight oatmeal, or warm chia seed pudding. I like getting to fill up, and not feeling like I have to limit myself.
4. Plan, plan, plan.
When forced to make a spur-the-moment decision, odds are we’re going to choose poorly compared to if we had had time to plan ahead. Planning your meals and snacks at the beginning of the week ensures not only that you’ll eat healthy, have groceries on hand, and not go over budget, but it also helps you be able to plan to splurge a little. Yes, you read that correctly. Plan to let yourself splurge. If you know a celebration, birthday, etc. is coming up and you want to eat some really good, but not-so-good-for-you food, make a plan to help you “be good” the rest of the week. Download my free meal planner here.
5. If I have a craving, I eat it.
Rather than depriving myself of something I’m just dying to have, (read: chocolate), I let myself have a little and be done with it. The longer I wait, the worse my “splurge” ends up being usually. I also always try to follow point number 1 above. Or I try a healthier version of something like this 150-calorie chocolate shake.
For more healthy (and delicious!) recipes check out Milk & Honey Nutrition on Facebook and Instagram. If you are interested in more information on what Milk & Honey Nutrition can offer you and your family, (like nutrition coaching, meal plans, grocery store tours, cooking lessons, and more) check out www.milknhoneynutrition.com!