By Justinne Lou Go, RND
GETTING into a healthy lifestyle is one thing, staying in it is another. It is common knowledge that a healthy lifestyle would involve two main things to put into practice — healthy diet and exercise. When it comes to dieting, most people would usually start with eating out less or cutting back on sweets and junk food. That is definitely a good way to start. But, beginning a healthy lifestyle hits closer to home than you think. The healthy lifestyle is not just about diet and exercise; it’s also about thriving in a healthy environment.
Stress is one of the major factors that could cause health deterioration. Although it is impossible to avoid all stresses in life, it is possible to minimize stress. It’s a matter of finding a place or simply making time to slow down and tune in to rest and recover from the daily hustle. When you can’t find a place with a calming environment — whether it’s a corner in the office, or a café, or even your car — you create one. This can be applied in healthy eating as well. If you can’t find a good, healthful place to eat, you create one — right in your own kitchen!
If you have decided to start a healthy lifestyle, you must also be fully aware that this entails changes and challenges, and you must be ready for it. In this generation, eating home-cooked meals has become a rare occasion — a luxury, even while eating out has become the norm. I could talk about the pros and cons of cooking and eating at home but I’ll save that for another article.
Setting up a healthy home base is your first line of defense for the antagonist environment — fastfood, buffets, convenience store food — that awaits you as you step outside your doorstep. There’s a battle of wits and will and you must not go unprepared. Here are tips for you to gear up your kitchen and turn it into your camp of refuge that will recharge and refuel you:
1. Stock up on the goods
Stuff your pantry… with vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds! Surround yourself with the right kind of food, so whenever you’re feeling hungry or just craving for something, you’re sure that whatever you grab won’t hurt you in any way. Making sure you have fresh produce at home will force you to use it because it hurts to just see them rot away.
2. Plan, plan, plan.
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Plan your meals for a week and make a grocery list. And then you can actually just take two days in a week, say, Sunday and Wednesday, to prep for your meals throughout the week and just keep them in the freezer. When you shop for ingredients and cook in bulk, you save on gas and time. Who doesn’t love savings?
3. Reverse the trend
When you prepare your meals for the week, you’re sure to have food in stock which you can just bring with you to the office to reheat (supposing you have an office pantry). And you can come home to good food with you knowing every single ingredient that’s in it. With that, eating at home or home-cooked meals will be a luxury you can enjoy more often and you can just treat yourself to dining out once or twice a week. You will find that this is one change you won’t mind at all, especially with the traffic that’s only getting worse each day.
Set your mind on it and get started. Just get started. When you get started, you’ll get the hang of it. It will definitely be challenging especially if you have a very busy lifestyle but if you value your health, you will prioritize it no matter what. Sooner or later, you will actually prefer eating at home than outside; at least on most days. It’s time to get back to our kitchens and reacquaint ourselves with what real food is about.