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Many of my readers tell me that they struggle to eat “healthy” because they feel like they just don’t know what to eat. I mean, yes – they know what to eat (ie, real food, not junk food), but what exactly does that mean in real life?
I get it. Diet changes can be intimidating when you have so many conflicting ideas of what’s healthy and what’s not and meanwhile, all you want to eat are tacos and wine (<—or is that just me?).
The Simple Trick to Changing Your Diet (and Making it Stick)
The best way to make long term diet changes, is to tackle one of your meals at a time. It might take days, weeks or months to get it where you want it, but once you’ve found a groove with food choices that fit your preference and lifestyle, you can then move on to the next meal with confidence that you’ve got the first meal squared away. The good news is that there’s only 3 meals to change, so this won’t be as hard as you think (snacks are easy).
Let’s try, shall we?
The Most Impactful Meal to Start With is Breakfast
First know this – you don’t have to eat first thing in the morning if you don’t feel hungry! I recommend breaking your fast (<- get it? Break-fast?) when you feel the urge to eat and not just because it’s what you’ve been told to eat it as soon as you wake up, because that’s old science.
Second – I’m always going to tell you to avoid sugars and grains if you can, but that’s especially true with your first meal of the day. Start your day with proteins and fats and you’ll be less hungry throughout the day and you’ll feel calmer, clearer headed and more in control of your food choices (and mood).
Lastly – keep it simple. There’s no reason to over complicate your first meal. Breakfasts were made to be easy!
Simple, Low Carb Breakfast Ideas You Can Grab + Go
- 3 Hard Boiled eggs + half an avocado mashed with hot sauce, salt + Pepper
- 60-second homemade microwave English muffin (low-carb + gluten free) with avocado or nut butter
- 2 Chicken Sausages
- Grain-free “No-Oatmeal” Chia coconut protein pudding (perfect in the summer months)
- Egg & Cheese Muffins – make a batch and eat them all week.
- Green smoothies – Use protein powder, milk (dairy or nut-based), spinach, nut butters and berries, but avoid tropical fruits and fruit juices.
Weekend breakfast ideas
- Chopped kale or cabbage fried in olive or avocado oil + 2 fried eggs (this is so freaking good!)
- Keto Pancakes
- Protein Crepes with nut butter
These are just a few ideas to get your tastebuds inspired. Don’t they sound great? In my next blog post, I’ll tackle lunch, but before I go, I want to call out some things I’d encourage you not to eat for breakfast. These options (which are very common) are filled with sugar and grains which will spike insulin, disrupt your hunger hormones and leave you wanting more and more sugar.
What NOT to eat for breakfast
- Breakfast cereals – I don’t care how many health claims are on the box, dried breakfast cereals are to be avoided. Period.
- Bread, bagels, muffins and the like – I know, I love bread too! But honestly, this is something that will only spike insulin and leave you hungry for more. Is it worth it?
- Tropical fruit – bananas, papayas, mango and pineapple – all great fruits, but very high in sugar. They’re lovely as a treat, but not as a daily staple.
What about bacon?
I knew you’d ask me this! Personally I don’t eat bacon, but if you do, that’s fine. Just keep in mind that even though bacon is low carb and high in protein and fat, it’s also high in nitrates and salt. Not ideal if you’re looking to improve overall health (IMHO), but that’s your call. With anything you choose – just do your research, first.
This leaves me with one more point I want to leave you with…
Just because it’s low carb, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily good for you.
Do I want you to avoid sugar and grains? Yes, of course. But does that mean that I advocate eating nothing but bacon and Jimmy Dean sausage? Not so! I try not to be preachy in my suggestions (although I probably failed at that in this post), but here’s the thing – low carb does not necessarily mean healthy.
What does healthy look like to you?
I will leave that for you to decide, but I encourage you to have a barometer of what you think is acceptable to eat and what’s not. For me, if it’s a cheap, processed food, particularly meat, I’ll probably avoid it, especially if it has weird ingredients I don’t recognize. Simple enough, right?
I believe that having high standards when it comes to food, lovers, friends and jobs is a bold and wildly successful way to love yourself!
Caren is a certified yoga teacher, fitness instructor and author of The Fit Habit. Here she shares simple, healthy recipes, home workout ideas and practical ways to foster mind + body wellness.