May. 27. 2020
Eat Well
Written By:
McKel (Hill) Kooienga
McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

Founder of NS and Creator of The Method

Do you ever feel that you’re not able to create healthy eating habits that you can use in your daily life, without it feeling really challenging to maintain?

Maybe you’re jumping from plan to plan or trend to trend or you have an idea of what to eat to be healthy, but you struggle to follow through on being consistent in eating that way every day.

You may be feeling a little stressed with making food choices or find it challenging to nourish yourself while also having balance to enjoy yourself.

I’m going to share what three things to focus on if you want to make the biggest impact on maintaining healthy eating habits.

When you have all three of these things working together, eating healthfully can become so much easier and more enjoyable for you!

1. Knowing What to Eat to Nourish Yourself

So the first thing is, of course, knowing what to eat to nourish your body so it can function at its best, and I focus on doing that through eating an abundance of plant-based, whole foods.

It’s no secret that plant-based and whole foods provide us with so many vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that support our wellbeing.

All of these things contribute to how you feel on a daily basis by keeping you satiated, your focus sharp, and energy stabilized and supporting your digestion.

And they also contribute to your long-term health, with many studies showing that these powerful plant-based foods can improve heart health, stabilize blog sugar, prevent diabetes, maintain healthy blood pressure, support our digestive, cardiovascular, and immune systems, and the list goes on and on.

If you want to take a deeper look into the specific foods you should be eating to ensure you’re getting the right mix of macronutrients in your daily diet, then download my free guide for creating healthy eating habits, where I dive into these recommendations and give you a few simple meal ideas!

Now to me, eating an abundance of plant-based foods doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy all foods.

You can absolutely focus on eating plenty of plant-based foods and still have a place to enjoy any other food that you’d like in your life, and we do that through the second pillar of my nutrition philosophy which is about how we eat.

2. Learning Mindful Eating to Enjoy All Foods and Navigate Different Situations

Most people only focus on what they eat, but they never take it a step further and explore how they’re eating, and the way we do that is through mindful eating.

Mindful eating is all about creating balance and having the freedom to enjoy all foods, but doing so in a mindful way.

Through this practice, we bring more awareness and positivity to your experience around food and meals, and using your body’s signals to guide you in making choices based on what you want and need.

For example, a lot of my members joined my membership because they were struggling with things like feeling that certain foods were “bad,” eating when bored, feeling out of control around certain foods, or something similar.

Once they start using mindful eating practices, they notice their body’s hunger cues and their behaviors and thoughts around food.

When they have these insights, it helps them create healthy eating habits by making small changes that better align with what they want to feel when they’re eating.

It’s using this practice that you can more easily practice balance and eat those nutrient-dense plant-based foods that I just shared that are so important to your health, and also fully enjoy a really rich dessert without feeling guilt or shame for doing so.

Is that something you’d like to experience? I hope so! Because that makes it so much easier to create healthy habits and help make them stick because you aren’t restricting yourself and creating a lack-mentality.

Instead, you’re learning how to navigate situations that we all experience in our daily lives and learning to listen to what you truly want or need and honoring that.

3. Cooking Skills to Be More Efficient and Enjoy the Process

So the third piece of my philosophy for creating healthy eating habits is to have the skills you need to put all of this into practice in your daily life.

And the way you can do that is by investing some of your time and energy into learning simple cooking techniques and skills that will help make you more efficient in the kitchen.

Have you ever felt like cooking is overwhelming or too time-consuming?

I know that it can feel that way in the beginning, but by learning a few skills in the kitchen, you will not only save time, but you will also learn to enjoy cooking more.

And I can say from both personal experience and from witnessing this with my members when you’re able to enjoy the process of cooking, you’re going to be much more likely to stick with those healthy eating habits (and make healthy food you’re truly excited to eat!)

If you can focus on these three things — eating an abundance of plant-based, whole foods; practicing mindful eating; and learning a few cooking skills — you can create healthy eating habits in a really easy and enjoyable way, all without needing to eliminate any foods from what you eat on a daily basis or following the latest trends or fads.

Putting This Into Practice to Create Healthy Eating Habits

So now you know the three areas you need to focus on to create healthy eating habits in your daily life. But how do you begin to put this into practice?

The first step is to identify which of these three areas you need to focus on the most that would make the biggest impact for you.

You can download my free guide for creating healthy eating habits where you’ll learn how to better identify which area to focus on and then find practices and tips to help you dive deeper into that area.

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