Keeping to a meal plan or diet long-term can seem daunting. How am I supposed to eat healthy forever?! But the truth is, long-term success means replacing bad habits with good ones and transforming your entire lifestyle, not just subbing in temporary changes. While that may seem overwhelming, when done a little at a time, it’s actually much easier and more subtle than you might think. I’m breaking down 6 simple tricks Chris and I have implemented in our home to make our healthy lifestyle just that…a lifestyle! To start, here are some tools I can’t live without.
Keep fruits and veggies easy and accessible: Years ago, Chris and I shot a What’s in Our Fridge segment, showcasing what we really eat on a daily basis. One tip we shared is a staple in our home: As soon as we get home from the store with fresh produce, we wash it, cut it (if necessary), and place it in clear storage containers right in our line of vision in the fridge. Bonus tip: This set is only $27.99 on SALE!
Stashing away fruits and veggies has proven to make us less prone to reach for them when raiding the fridge for a quick snack. Instead, tuck away those less than healthy options in drawers or almost hidden behind their healthier counterparts.
Don’t buy the bad: A little obvious, right? But somehow, this is something many of us still can’t grasp. As a mother, I get it—you want to buy your littles the foods they love and will eat, even if they don’t fit into your meal plan. Unfortunately though, until reaching for a healthy option becomes second nature, having any off-plan foods at home can lead to a diet disaster. I can’t tell you how many times I wound up shoveling goldfish crackers and fruit snacks into my mouth at the end of a rough day just because they were in my pantry. If eliminating these treats entirely from your grocery list isn’t possible, make sure to keep them hidden. Out of sight, out of mind rings so true when it comes to diet temptations!
Work out first thing in the morning: Over the years, my schedule has changed hundreds of times. The only really consistent thing about my day-to-day is how often it changes! Although working out bright and early isn’t always an option, I’ve found hands down that getting my exercise in as soon as I wake up (or waking up extra early to exercise!) always leads to a better day of eating. If you’re looking for daily workouts, we have the Transform app to make your morning even easier!
Cheat every day: No, really, cheat every single day. I addressed this a while ago here, and I actually received some backlash from readers doubting whether or not this was truly a part of my daily meal plan. Guys, YES it is, 100%. Keeping to a healthy, nutrient-dense, diet long-term can be extremely tricky, and completely eliminating all of your old favorites can lead down a rocky path of deprivation and self-destruction. What I’ve found is that allowing myself a little daily “hug,” or a comfort food that won’t completely trash my diet, keeps me on track the rest of the day, and not leaving any wiggle room for foods I love is a proven way to end up bingeing later on. The key is making sure your treat isn’t one that will undo all of your hard work, so try to aim for something with less than 30 grams of carbs and 10 grams of fat.
Since going gluten-free, I’ve traded in my daily morning bun for a Marshmallow Dream Bar, and I LOVE it! I have one every morning with my protein shake, and I stay temptation-free the rest of the day. Try it for a week and see how you do!
Use smaller plates: Sometimes, the key to success is simply tricking yourself. Realizing what a diet friendly portion is can be deflating—the amount of pasta a typical restaurant serves versus what fits into your meal plan is almost shocking! I’ve had many friends starting out on their macro meal plans text me in disbelief about how tiny their rice or noodles look on a big, empty plate.
Seeing so much empty space makes you feel like you’re eating so much less than you are, but in turn, a small plate with seemingly heaping portions will trick your brain into thinking you’re eating a meal fit for a king. Try trading out your dinner plates with simple salad plates for all of your meals.
Be prepared: Prepping your food beforehand (see tip #1) and having a meal plan for your week is essential to diet success. I know I’m a broken record, but the old adage is SO true: Fail to plan, and plan to fail. That is exactly why I am so passionate about our newest venture, Fresh by Transform .
It makes staying on track and eating healthy meals truly effortless. Seriously. All of the nutritional information is already figured out for you, the meal is fresh and fully cooked, and each meal is full of real, natural, ingredients your body needs. No more playing mathematician to figure out your macros or standing in front of the fridge praying a fully cooked meal will magically appear. Whether it’s through Fresh, or you’re into good ol’ fashioned meal prepping, the important thing is that you make a plan, prep accordingly, and stick to your goals.
Transforming your lifestyle for a healthier one can be difficult, especially when you’re first starting out. But starting small and learning the tricks of the trade along the way (like these 6!) is an easy way to create quick wins and find greater success in your journey. What’s your favorite tip for diet success? I want to hear it! Let me know in the comments below.
Meal Prep Tips and Tricks You Need to Know
Eat More, Lose More: Settling The Fresh vs. Fast Food Debate
Grocery Shopping 101
4 Kitchen Must-Haves for Transformation Success
Heidi-Approved (& Macro-Friendly) Fast Food Picks