Eating healthy made easy

In Trucker's Health, March 20226 MinutesBy Laura PeacockApril 19, 2022

Create a better diet – without giving up all the foods you love.

Eating healthy doesn’t have to mean eating 10 tonnes of broccoli and kale salad every day. It’s just about making small tweaks to what you are eating to improve it day by day, week by week.

For example, Bob currently drinks 1.5 litres of Coke every week. He aims to reduce this to one litre of coke each week. Yes, it is not a catastrophic improvement. But if you make several small changes to your diet over time it amounts to a large change and improvement. Also, that way, you don’t feel like you’re having to donate an organ to improve your diet and health.

A lot of my clients make the mistake of attempting to eliminate entire food groups or all ‘bad’ food from their diet immediately, day 1, Monday. This is often preceded by a massive binge session on the Sunday night of eating all their favourite ‘bad’ foods before their ‘good’ diet begins the following morning. This is a dangerous attitude and leans into the binge eating and diet culture.

The first step that I get my clients to take is to keep a full diary of their food for a week. This involves writing down every morsel of food and drink that touches their lips throughout the week. The purpose of this step is to get a good understanding of what you’re eating and not eating. It reveals your habits and patterns and areas you are doing well in and those that could use some improving and adjustments.

After you’ve nailed out your food diary for a week, it’s time to evaluate what small area you would like to improve on first. For example, if you’re skipping breakfast and then bingeing at morning tea or lunch, you may want to try having something small at breakfast time like a banana to try and curb your urge to binge-eat later in the day.

I usually suggest people choose just one area or meal to work on each week. That way, you don’t feel overwhelmed or like you’re turning your life upside down and inside out to improve your health.

While working on your small weekly health goals, you can also work on overall and more general goals. Basically, since birth, the importance of drinking water and eating vegetables has been drilled into us. Although we have heard this countless times, many of us often don’t drink enough water (especially throughout the hotter months when we are sweating a lot). We also don’t consume enough vegetables as we don’t still have Mum or Dad trying to force broccoli onto our plate and threatening no dessert until our vegetables are eaten.

There is an unbelievable number of different vegetables for you to choose from. There’s no real need to try and force down vegetables we hate just for the greater good. Firstly, you are less likely to stick to something you don’t enjoy and, secondly, just don’t eat things you don’t like. Of course, it is awesome to try and ‘eat the rainbow’ and enjoy a varied range of different vegetables throughout the week.

I suggest trying as many different vegetables as you can and don’t write off any of them until you’ve actually tried them. Once you’ve decided on the vegetables you enjoy, think of different ways to sneak them in and enjoy them throughout your day.

At breakfast, you could pop them into a smoothie. Vegetables such as spinach are very hard to taste in a smoothie, but you are still consuming the goodness. For lunch, you could make a quiche or frittata packed with veggies such as tomatoes, capsicum and onion.

Afternoon tea or snacks could be carrot sticks and hummus or you could grab your favourite cracker or rice cake and layer with your chosen veggies such as tomato or cucumber with cottage cheese.

Dinners are a bit easier to get veggies in. Just select a protein (chicken, pork, beef, venison, fish or eggs) and add half a plate full of your favourite veggies. You could make a delicious stir-fry and add rice to bulk up the meal and make it more filling. My personal favourite is to use the air fryer and make broccoli chips, which I know sounds weird – but don’t knock it ‘til you try it!

My overarching message is that there is no need to take drastic measures to lose weight or improve your overall health. All you need to do is look at the foods you’re currently eating and make minor changes. Good luck to you in making those baby steps to improve your health in 2022.