I'm not sure how or what role food plays in other countries, but I know that here in America it has a tendency to dominate everything that people do. Groceries, diners, cooking classes, pinterest meal ideas, coffee shops, and delivery meals are all just a normal (and large) part of every single day activities. Thankfully, a lot of people are gaining the desire to be healthy and happy so that they are able to enjoy the other aspects of living that are not ruled by food. Here are a few easy ways that you can enjoy food while still being able to consume necessary nutrients!
1. Make/Cook at least two daily meals at your home.
This might seem excessive to some, but there are so many known benefits from eating at home. You get to control exactly what you are fueling your body with-no hidden calories (or other grosser things!). Take the time to focus on what you are putting into your body, and choose things according to what you like. This is also a good idea in terms of not constantly relying on food to be the reason for a social outing. Of course everybody has different schedules, but aim for two meals at home regardless of your work schedule. Whatever you can attain, anything is a step in the right direction.
2. Be simple.
Not everything that you cook has to be some gourmet work of art, despite the billions of pictures of meals that everybody is posting on Instagram. You can easily slap some eggs cooked to preference on a plate with a slice of toast and some fruit, without having to make it a work of art. With breakfast I try to think of not only getting nutrients, but also being satisfied so that I am ready to succeed on a potentially stressful workday. Bread and potatoes personally are helpful to curb hunger for me, and I like to pair either of these with bananas and/or cookied tofu. I eat so many bananas, I have learned to buy them in bulk when they are ripe and freeze them to pop into a simple smoothie. If I'm in a huge hurry or my fridge is a little sad and empty, I just throw frozen banana in the blender with cold water.
3. Meal prep is hard, just prep your proteins.
In theory, meal prep is a great idea! Sunday evening you make a ton of pre-planned meals for you to consume over the next few days. That's it, right? No that isn't it; it's such a mess and takes up a lot of free time. Not to mention trying to choose good and exciting meals for the next few days that will keep you interested in your lack of selection. Also for me personally, my gladware situation isn't in a place for me to be successful with meal prepping (the size of the containers and the lids, and the planning and the thinking…it puts me off the idea entirely).
That's why I have learned to pre-cook a few proteins in advance to add to meals when I'm ready to eat them. Any time I am going to cook some chicken, salmon, tofu or tempah, I make extra to freeze for another future meal! That way I just have to pull it out and add it to a meal as I am craving it without worrying about taking the time to properly cook it and using separate utensils. Plus cooking meat is messy and kind of gross, so the less often that I have to do it the better for me.
I'm not trying to be mean to people who successfully meal-prep, I am jealous of your skills as I do not have them.
4. Toss the entire shaker of salt over your shoulder. And kick it.
That's right, ditch the salt. If there is one thing that I track, its my daily sodium intake. It's not easy, and I know that it makes everything so much more delicious. This is why it is important to find a good substitute. Liquid aminos are a staple in my diet and come in multiple forms. Well, I mean, they're all liquid. But there are different varieties, such as coconut liquid aminos which have a bit more of a sweet salty taste, and Bragg's liquid aminos which very closely resemble soy sauce. These provide the salts that your body actually needs versus toxic table salt. This option also contains many amino acids which are important for your overall health- including your mental health. Try other seasonings as well to add different flavors to your meal in place of salt, you will be surprised how quickly you get over its absence. You will feel so much better. Have you ever researched the effects that sodium has on your body? You should google it right now, that will help inspire you.
These are just a few ideas that I think anybody can try to make a habit of to become healthier in general. People aren't all complete idiots, we just have too much demanded of us nowadays to be focusing on our diet constantly. I hope that this is in some way helpful to someone out there.