Our Top Tips for Making Healthy and Sustainable Lifestyle Changes
We’re already a few weeks into the New Year now so it’s not too soon to reflect on any resolutions you made or desires you have to make a healthy lifestyle for your family this year.
Through our posts and recipes at One Handed Cooks we hope to inspire many to make healthy eating and lifestyle choices for the long-term health and wellbeing of your children. For most people wanting to change a habit is easy but finding the time, motivation and then trying to stick with it is often the hardest part. It’s all to easy to go back to ‘what you’ve always done’ – especially when the kids start kicking up a fuss in protest.
However, if you set some goals, commit to them, be consistent and persevere through some of the challenging moments you will have success. And it will be worth it.
Here are our top tips to making successful changes for a healthier lifestyle.
1. Take some time.
Set aside a few minutes out of your day to sit down and think about what you would like to change. What do you want to be doing in 6 months time? What don’t you want to be doing in 6 months? It might be sitting down with the kids to eat a nutritious breakfast every day. Or, increasing the variety of healthy foods you offer to your children. Even, trying to reduce your amount of food wastage each week might be something you’d like to achieve.
If you have a few things that you would like to change, think about the ones that you feel are most important to you and your family. Talk to your partner, involve your kids – let them know why it is important for you and for them. You might be setting yourself up to fail right from the get go if your goal doesn’t fit in with your family’s priorities.
3. Don’t change too much at once.
After you have prioritised your goals, choose to act on only 1 or 2 at a time. Once they have become second nature you can move on to the next. If you decide to make all your changes at once it will become overwhelming, too difficult and too hard. Especially if the changes involve young children – you will be inviting chaos into your life! Most people give up at this point.
4. KISS. Keep it simple stupid.
We’ve heard it before. We’ve heard it often. But don’t make life difficult for yourself through periods of change. Keeping goals simple is a recipe for success.
5. Make them measurable.
If you can quantify your change then you can notice even the smallest amount of success to help keep you motivated. For example, if you sit down with the kids to eat are they better behaved? Do they eat better? If it’s variety, are you finding new recipes to cook or new foods to try and are your kids eating them? And if you’re reducing food wastage you should be noticing you’re saving money on your grocery bill. Progress is progress not matter how small.
6. Are they achievable?
For any goal you set, you should know from the start that you can achieve it. What works for one family might not work for yours. It might be unrealistic for you to sit down as a family and eat breakfast with your children every morning or dinner every night, but even 2 or 3 times per week can make a huge difference to their eating behaviours, what they eat and how much. You can build on it from there and find a balance that works for your family.
7. Try breaking them down.
Breaking a big goal down into a few smaller ones can help to make them more achievable. For example, if your goal is reducing food wastage, you can break this down into smaller goals like:
- start meal planning
- write a shopping list and don’t buy what you don’t need
- make the most of leftovers e.g. freezing them, turning them into a different meal altogether (e.g. leftover spaghetti Bolognese muffins)
- get creative and combine leftover fruit and veg with pantry staples to create simple meals or lunchbox snacks for the kids (e.g. pick n mix fried rice, pick n mix savoury muffins or veggie rice cakes)
The key is to start on one of the smaller goals and as they become a new habit, move to the next. In no time you will have achieved your main goal and could be saving lots of money!
8. Tomorrow is always a new day.
Allow yourself time to achieve your goals. If it takes a few months to move towards family mealtimes it is better than not at all. If you have a week where you don’t eat together at all, don’t give up. Tomorrow is always a new day and it is important to keep moving forward and build on positive change.
9. Enjoy your success.
After all your hard work in making healthier food choices become the norm for your family it is important to reflect and notice the positive outcomes. And enjoy and celebrate them. Your children might be happier little eaters, better behaved, even better sleepers? Permission to brag. And you could be more relaxed at mealtimes, more organised with planning, shopping and cooking meals even saving some money – to spend on shoes.
Have you been successful in maintaining healthier lifestyle choices? What is your recipe for success?Join us on Facebook for other foodie bits and pieces.