Practical Tips for Healthy Eating, Part 1

I’ve heard from many of you about how committed you are to following the Fit4God plan, about all the recipes you tried, about how you are feeling. I’m so proud of you! There are ups and downs to any major change…and make no mistake, Fit4God is a major change from the Standard American Diet! It will take some getting used to, but once it becomes intuitive, you’ll be doing it like it’s second nature! Here are 10 tips for making the change to eating according to your Divine Design!

1. Make yourself a priority. Skipping breakfast, eating lunch at 2 pm, and walking in the door starving at 7 pm because you were too busy with work and kids’ activities is a recipe for disaster. Take the time to plan meals, to shop for them, and to prepare them. You will be a far more productive person, employee, and parent if you are properly fueled.

2. Eat enough. You must eat breakfast and you must eat a decent lunch. Two eggs and 3 pieces of bacon might be enough for a 140-pound woman, but not for a 175-pound man. Don’t eat how much you THINK you should eat. Eat until you are full. Not stuffed, but full. A lunch salad may not be enough to get you through a full day of work. Either add plenty of fat to it with cheese, bacon, fatty cuts of meat and fatty dressing, or supplement it with something else. Or do a fatty meat and fatty veggie, like Sammie Patties with sautéed zucchini and mushrooms. Or have some starch like ½ cup rice or a small potato or banana. It is folly to eat a light lunch and expect not to overeat when you get home. You can also keep the light lunch, but plan for an afternoon snack. Try turkey and cheese rolled up with spinach, macadamia nuts and dried apricots, pumpkin seeds, or cheese. Also try deviled eggs, peanut butter or cream cheese and celery, a small scoop of tuna salad, or a few pieces of bacon.

3. Don’t resort to fast food. It takes longer than you think it does when you figure in the time to put on shoes, get out the door, drive to the restaurant, order, eat, and drive home. You could have put nitrate-free lunchmeat, cheese, homemade gluten-free banana muffins (made in batches and stored in freezer earlier in the week) and some apples and carrots on the table in 10 minutes tops. Much faster than fast food. And you wouldn’t have to deal with the inevitable kids’ tummy aches and sugar cravings from the awful food they just ate.

4. Slow cooker. Slow cookers are your friend. Buy one or two ASAP if you don’t already have one. It takes 15 minutes in the morning to put it all in the pot, then let it cook all day while you are gone and come home to a delicious-smelling house and a hot meal in minutes. You can usually get a full meal in the pot – meat and a couple of veggies. You can also often get 2 or 3 meals out of one pot, so cook it up one day and eat off it for several days. I’ve posted 14 slow cooker recipes to the web site! Get to it!

5. Leftovers. Cook once and eat it twice. When it’s this good, you’ll WANT to eat it again! Between using your slow cooker and using leftovers, you can easily reduce the days you cook an evening meal to 3 or 4.

6. Batch cooking makes breakfast easy. No one has the time to cook in the morning. Make big batches of pancakes, bacon, muffins, breakfast casseroles, and sausage and keep some in the fridge or freezer to reheat as needed in the morning. I make a batch of pancakes and freeze half and keep half in the fridge. It lasts me 2 weeks, takes 1 minute to heat up in the morning, and my kids are thrilled that they got pancakes for breakfast (while I know that it was super healthy with lots of eggs, pumpkin and coconut flour!).

7. Multitask. While you are cleaning up the dinner dishes or watching TV is a great time to do some batch cooking. Flip pancakes and bacon while you are washing dishes…you’re already in the kitchen anyway, so it doesn’t take any additional time commitment. Let a big pot of Chicken Vegetable Soup simmer in the evening while you are watching TV. Takes no additional time and you have healthy meals at the ready.

8. Cut carbs and starches. If you aren’t losing weight as fast as you want, cut your carbs to about 30-70 grams and see if that helps. Cut the starches (potato, banana, rice) and limit fruit and other starchy veggies. A typical 50 gram day would look like this: sausage and ½ banana for breakfast; sammie patties with zucchini and mushrooms and an orange for lunch; cheese and carrots for snack; pot roast and green beans for dinner.

9. Food cards. Use the Food Cards game to get your family on board. Post each person’s picture on the wall using poster putty. Each person has 2 columns under their picture. The left column has all the food cards for that day that they need to eat (4 protein, 7 fat, 3 veggie, etc.). When they eat a serving from a category, they move a card over to the right column. At the end of the day, they have all their cards moved over. It helps you learn how much of each macronutrient (protein, fat, carb) you ought to be eating. When you’ve been used to eating low fat and are suddenly eating high fat, it can be hard to know inituitively how to eat. But after a couple of weeks of practice with the Food Cards, it should start to be intuitive and you can ditch them. Helps motivate kids to eat the categories they like less (protein, veggie) and eat less of the ones they favor (starch, fruit).

10. Patience. Yes, it can seem at first like all you think about is food and meal planning. When you make a change this radical, there is a lot to learn. It took me about 4 months before it became pretty easy, and more like 6 month before it became second-nature. It will take some time at first, but I promise you won’t always be spending every second thinking about what you are going to eat next. It will become intuitive and fade into the background of your life, where it belongs.

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