Welcome to Week 1 of the STRONG Challenge! While we focus on prioritizing healthy living, the first step is setting goals. Living a healthy lifestyle is more than just exercising; what you eat is just as important! That’s why we’re going to talk about setting your food goals today.
Food goals aren’t necessarily about losing weight, and by no means should be. Your food goals are meant to help you take small steps toward a healthier lifestyle. These small adjustments are key to fitting eating healthier into your daily routine. When it comes to eating healthier, it’s easy to get overwhelmed which is why setting your own personal goals is so important. Remember, what’s right for you might not be right for your friends, your sister, your brother, your spouse, etc.
I hear people say it all the time…. “Well this is what worked for my (fill in the blank) so it has to work for me too!” The truth is that everyone is different. Our age, weight, and level of exercise can all play a role in what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to eating healthy. While setting your goals around healthier eating, try not to think about what foods you need to restrict, or how many unhealthy ingredients are in your snacks and meals. Think about how slowly adding healthier options will help you to become the best version of yourself and help alter your mindset for the better when it comes to food.
Start by making sure your pantry is stocked with foods that appeal to you! We’ve compiled a list of pantry staples that are a great starting point to ensure your kitchen is always equipped with the proper ingredients to craft healthy meals. And for more inspiration, be sure to read the blog on kitchen essentials that can make life easier.
If you’re still not sure where to start when it comes to making some healthier food choices, here are a few ideas to get you started with meals.
Choose from some whole grains—like cereals—that are lightly sweetened with no more than 8g of sugar per serving and at least 5g of fiber. Try having your cereal with low-fat milk, skim milk, or even switching it up with some almond milk or a non-dairy alternative.
Be sure to read and understand the serving size. You can also add fresh berries for a boost of antioxidants and nuts for extra protein. Oatmeal and eggs are other nutritious options to start your mornings off on the right foot.
Choose a protein such as turkey, or some leftover roasted or grilled chicken, and make a sandwich with whole-grain bread. Smash up avocado with some salt and pepper to use a spread as a healthy alternative to mayo (with all the flavor!). Add a small salad on the side, or throw some lettuce and tomato onto your sandwich for a simple healthy lunch.
Choose a grilled or baked protein such as fish, chicken, or even a burger. Add a steamed or roasted veggie of your choice, along with a salad, and/or whole-grain for a well-balanced meal. Make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day and limit your sugary beverages.
Choose trail mix, nuts, veggies with hummus or ranch, an apple or banana with nut butter, whole-grain crackers with low-fat cheese, popcorn, fresh fruit of any kind, or even some chips once in a while to satisfy a craving.
Remember, the point of setting food goals is to help you create your own food freedom. Eating healthier is all about finding the balance that makes you feel good. Don’t skip a snack if you’re hungry, but try to reach for something on this list instead of the cookie jar next time! Give yourself permission, listen to your body, don’t restrict yourself, and enjoy your food.
If you have questions or need help with setting your goals, contact me through our Virtual Chef and we can discuss your personalized food goals and how to get started on a healthy lifestyle that’s right for you! As you progress through the STRONG Challenge, feel free to come back to the goals you originally set for yourself in Week 1.
I wish you strength and health as you discover what it means to be STRONG!