How I Maintain Healthy Eating Habits

January 5, 2016

New year, new year you yadda yadda ya. Tis the season for starting fresh, making lifestyle changes and setting goals. If you read my New Year’s resolutions, you know that mine weren’t the typical “eat healthier” or “exercise more” type of resolutions. One of the reasons I felt like those didn’t need to be included is because I already generally live a healthy lifestyle and maintain a weight that I am happy with without having to diet or exercise like crazy. And you might be thinking, “Yeah well you’re just thin to begin with”. And yes, genetics might play a role, but I weighed as much in college as I typically do 9 months pregnant, so the potential for me to gain weight is definitley there. I’m not one of those people who can eat whatever I want without repercussions. I truly believe that I got back to a body that I am happy with by ditching the diets and just eating real, whole, minimally processed foods, and indulging in moderation. I never say no to baked goods or a a glass of cabernet (when I’m not pregnant, that is). In honor of new beginnings, I figured I would share a few of the healthy eating habits that work for me.

I don’t…

  • count calories
  • read labels
  • weigh myself

I do…

  • buy foods with whole ingredients
  • buy mostly organic
  • avoid processed foods (for the most part)

Eating Habits that Work for Me….

  • I believe that the first thing I eat in the morning sets the tone for the day. If I start with a bite of left over brownie, my day is doomed, but if I start with a protein, i.e. an egg on a whole wheat english muffin, I tend to make better choices all day.
  • I eat slowly. (Just ask my sister. It drives her nuts)
  • I’m a grazer – I’d much rather eat 6 small meals than 3 big ones.
  • If I have wine, I don’t have dessert and vise versa. (So, yes, you can bet that when I’m pregnant I definitely eat more ice cream)
  • I eat whatever I want, I just don’t eat a lot if it. I’m of the mindset that nothing is off limits. Life is short, eat the cake, just don’t eat so much that you’ll feel like crap in 5 minutes. Savor. Each. Bite.
  • I’d rather eat my calories than drink them – water is my beverage of choice. (except when pregnant – I’m craving juice these days!)
  • I snack smart. Cheese sticks, apples, and greek yogurt are my BFFs.
  • We eat pasta once per week (generally) and pizza every Friday night. Dinners every other night are typically a protein (chicken, sausage, pork, ground turkey etc…) and a vegetable.
  • I HATE the feeling of being full. Before going back for seconds, I usually wait a few minutes for my belly to catch up to my mind.
  • I don’t beat myself up if I indulge… which is pretty much every weekend. My mom and my mother in law both make THE best cheese plates in the world and have the best appetizers for our Sunday dinners. I park my butt in front of them and don’t hold back. And there is no “but”. I don’t tell myself I should exercise the next day. I don’t get mad at myself. I know that these occasional indulgences are okay so I just enjoy them.
  • I live loosely by the 90/10 rule – 90% healthy foods, 10% whatever I want.

What I ate today….

healthy habits

8am – I always start my day with one cup of regular coffee with organic, raw sugar (2 spoonfuls) and half and half. I don’t believe in fake sweeteners.

9am – I was scrambling this morning to get out of the door because I did a photoshoot for the blog and had to spend more time getting myself ready than usual (ya know…. shower ;)). I grabbed a Fig Bar and ate it in the car.

12:30pm – I don’t like having a big lunch so I usually break it into smaller meals. I started with a yogurt while I made lunch for my kids.

12:45 – I joined my son in a little Joe-Joe’s cookie party, because they are too good to pass up. I only eat the side with the cream (and give the other half to my dog;). Not to save calories, I just don’t think they are that good without the cream!

1:45pm – Lunch part 2 was toasted bread (with a little butter) and melted cheddar with a handful of fresh spinach and a dash of salt and pepper. This was pretty fancy for me – most times is pb&j or my kids’ leftover mac and cheese straight from the pot.

3:00pm – Starbucks unsweetened black tea lemonade. I needed a little pick me up (and bribed my son to come the the grocery store by promising a stop at the Starbucks drive thru for a hot chocolate).

4:00pm – I’m majorly craving pineapple and grapefruit these days so my fridge is always stocked with both.

5:30Sausage, Kale Pasta Bake (super easy dinner that went over really well with my kids and my husband). The picture above is my portion. I would have gone back for seconds but was distracted with feeding my youngest. By the time he was done, I realized I was full enough.

8:30 – I haven’t had this yet, but as soon as my kids are asleep, I will definitely be having a scoop or three.

So there you have it. I have absolutely no clue how many calories I ate, I just know that the food I ate (for the most part) was healthy, and I listened to my sweet tooth without going overboard. When I was hungry, I ate, and when I was full, I stopped.

Any dietitians out there? How did I do?

What are your tips for staying healthy??

  • Kelly Strogen, MS, RD, LDN
    January 7, 2016 at 4:54 pm

    Hey Lindsey, dietitian to the rescue!!!

    I REALLY like all your “do’s” and “don’t’s” on the list, many of them I relay to my clients on a daily basis…. especially the tip to eat slowly (from experience dealing with clients, friends, and family members). Those that eat slow tend to be the thin ones! People who eat quickly tend to be the ones that struggle with their weight. I also stress eating foods as close to nature as possible, not beating yourself up if you have a few “indulgences” and allow yourself a treat here or there (mine is a good wheat beer!). I also like the tip to eat small snacks/meals throughout the day- and I know young mother’s always say they don’t have time to eat a meal, so if you can grab small pieces here or there that is great. The only problem is for people who don’t register that they have eaten a “meal”- they might say, “I didn’t have lunch” and eat more… so that leads to over-snacking. The one thing I have to disagree on is how you say you don’t read the label- ingredients are super important (so I don’t know if you just meant the nutrition label)- but I ALWAYS have people look to the ingredients list to see what the manufacturer put in their so called “healthy” food.

    As far as your daily diet, DEFINITELY better than most people out there. You have a good balance, though I would focus on trying to consume a more well-balanced breakfast (such as oat bran with fruit and milk 😉 most days… I realize this day you chose may be atypical.

    I would also say that I don’t think you are eating enough. Since you are pretty active, I think you could use some more healthy calories (whole grains, fish, beans, nuts, etc). Otherwise, if you’re not eating enough calories, your body starts breaking down your muscle, your metabolism may slow, you might get headaches, be lethargic, etc…

    I think protein and veggies might be lacking in your daily routine. I have people keep records for 3 days so then we go through to really see how their day to day compares to “ideal”. Obviously no one is perfect, but if there are easy ways to add a veggie here or there, only buy whole grains, cook a batch of quinoa and veggies to keep on stand by, it’s always worth improving!

    Okay so that’s my input, take it or leave it! But hands down you are doing well and nothing stands out as detrimental to your health (again, we need to figure out if you are eating enough calories & protein, b/c that could be problematic…), so good work! 🙂

    • Lindsey
      January 7, 2016 at 8:07 pm

      Amazing!!! I feel like I just got my diet analyzed by a professional for FREE! Oh wait, I did! Thank you so much for taking the time to write this out for me. I agree on all the things I am lacking – I think it is busy-mom syndrome and agree that I could add more to my diet in terms of protein etc…Some days are better than others. In terms of reading labels, I pretty much only buy brand that I know have good stuff in them, which is why I don’t feel like I need to read them. Totally agree that ingredients are most important! Thanks again for your input! Mind if I share a snippet of this on my FB page??

  • Julia
    January 8, 2016 at 9:42 pm

    Lately due to pregnancy I’ve been finding I really can’t do big meals and that splitting lunch into 2 small meals really helps. I usually have yogurt or a small cup of soup and then a homemade fruit smoothie . I’ve started looking forward to my 2 part lunch and I find myself having a 2 part breakfast.

  • Jen
    January 15, 2016 at 11:40 am

    Love reading about healthy eating… So I appreciate this post so much!;)

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