I love working out, but my relationship with food is not the best, especially since I’m a picky eater. I eat a couple of vegetables and love smoothies, but the problem comes when I don’t have time to make dinner because it was a busy day or we end up getting either pizza, Chinese or some kind of fast food.
I try to portion control when we eat out but would like to cut down more on it. Also, I would love to meal prep but by the following day, the food tastes super dry. So I don’t even attempt to do it.
I would like to eat more healthy so I can feel better but being a picky eater makes it so hard.
I think about giving up but I don’t want to. Any advice will be kindly appreciated.
Hey Picky Eater!
I need to start out by saying THANK YOU for asking this question. I think there are so many people out there with the same problem, but they feel like they either need to force themselves to eat food they don’t enjoy or just give up and believe that they’re too picky to eat healthy.
Neither is true.
A healthy relationship with food looks a little different for everyone. It’s just finding whatever way you can eat as much nutritious food as possible, in ways that you enjoy. Because although nutrition and variety is important, forcing food into your diet that you don’t enjoy won’t be sustainable in the long run.
So how can you get more nutrition, and maybe rely less on eating out? I have some tips. Ready?!
Think big picture.
Life happens, so don’t feel guilty if it’s hard to get your family out of the habit of fast food. Instead, look for ways you can add value to your meal. What I mean is, how can you add nutrition? Most fast food or pizza places offer salad, and Chinese restaurants typically have steamed broccoli or sauteéd veggies.
Learning how to “compromise” is an amazing tool to change your eating habits in a subtle way. You don’t have to completely overhaul your diet from day 1 – it’s all about the big picture!
Find your meal prep staples.
Meal prep is soooo helpful – once you find what works for you!
Not everything tastes great when it’s prepped in advance. I totally agree that some foods get super dry, or soggy. Not sure which is worse! Anyways, you have to find your “staple” foods that you can easily prep and look forward to using later. Some of my favorite ones are:
Fruit – I like to have it washed, cut, and ready to eat.
Veggies – I like keeping some raw, ready to eat veggies for snacking, and I also love roasting a big batch of something super versatile that keeps for a couple days like sweet potatoes or green beans!
I also looove stocking up on frozen veggies to have something easy to add to any meal. They make life so much easier!
Grains – Quinoa or rice keep well and make a great side or base for a bowl.
Protein – Shredded chicken (slow cooking and then shredding helps to keep it from drying out), ground turkey, hard boiled eggs, beans, lentils, chickpeas.
Do I have all of these things prepped all the time? Definitely not. I try to focus on a couple each week. I know I’ll almost always run into a time when they come in handy!
Don’t forget about flavor.
Healthy food should still have flavor! When I say I put Everything But The Bagel and Everything But The Elote from Trader Joe’s on everything… I’m not kidding 🙂 I also love adding sriracha and dipping veggies in hummus and guacamole.
People are sometimes afraid of sauces and dips because they add more calories, but I think they’re totally okay if it makes veggies taste good.
Have an open mind.
Mindset is important for making change. First, you have to believe that you’re not too picky to eat healthy! Then, commit to an open mind.
Tastes and preferences change all the time! Circle back to some foods you haven’t liked in the past and give them another shot. Even experiment with different cooking techniques, flavors, or pairings with foods that you know you enjoy. You might surprise yourself!
Set yourself up for success.
If you know your day tends to get super busy, having a plan will save you time and stress. Get into the habit of making a casual meal plan for your family each week, and go grocery shopping before the week starts! You can even plan “backup” meals for when something comes up or you just don’t feel like cooking. It doesn’t have to be anything complicated.
Backup meals can be something easy and healthy in your freezer, or something you know you can order and feel great about from a restaurant.
Like, smaller than you think. It’s not easy to change your eating habits (or ANY habit!), and gradual change is much more sustainable. So pick one teeny change to accomplish at a time. Maybe start with trying one new recipe. Or meal prepping one food. Keeping salad in the fridge as a side for pizza night. Small!
I’ve been the picky eater before too. I even remember thinking maybe I was too picky to eat healthy! Once I addressed what was truly holding me back and went into slooooow change with an open mind, things started shifting. We all have busy times when there’s just no way we can cook 3 meals a day or eat perfectly, and that’s okay! The amazing thing about lifestyle change is that even though life will still throw us off every now and then, we can always get right back on track.
You can do this!
PS – If you have a burning question you want to ask me, leave your questions below! I may answer it in an upcoming Dear Cassey post!