By Leo Babauta
With New Year’s Resolutions a fading memory, it’s time to renew your focus on eating healthy again.
With that in mind, I’m announcing a Spring Healthy Eating Challenge.
It’s designed to help you change your eating for the better, making small changes, and doing it with friends and family.
How does it work? It’s based on the principles I used to change my life, losing 70 lbs. over the course of a couple years, and keeping it off for about nine years now.
Here’s the challenge:
- Pick one small healthy change to make a week (see list below).
- Commit publicly to the challenge, and tell everyone what your change is each week (optional).
- Put your entire focus on making that change happen. Set reminders, put visual reminders around your house.
- Review at the end of each week. Did you do 5+ days of your change? Success! Tell everyone about it. If not, figure out what your obstacle is and plan to beat it.
- If you were successful, pick another change to make the next week, but also continue your first change. By the end of the four weeks, you should have four solid changes if all goes well. If you weren’t successful, just continue the same change (or pick a different one if you didn’t like that one) and try again, but this time with a plan to get around the obstacle.
This is a general recipe for making small changes in your life, but healthy eating can be especially difficult, so I encourage you to do this challenge with your family and friends.
Support & Videos for the Challenges
If you’d like to join my Sea Change Program, we’re doing this challenge together, and I’m also producing video lessons, a live video webinar, forum discussions, and small daily challenges to help people learn to eat healthy joyfully and mindfully. Join Sea Change here to be a part of this program.
In addition, we have two advanced challenges going on in Sea Change, for those of you who have already done pretty well in making your diet fairly healthy: the vegan challenge and the sugar-free challenge. It’s a part of the Eat Healthy Joyfully course in Sea Change. For the vegan challenge, I did an interview with Matt Frazier of No Meat Athlete, and for the sugar-free challenge, I interviewed Sarah Wilson of I Quit Sugar. Excellent experts, really!
Otherwise, you’re free to do it on your own … see a list of suggested changes in the next section.
Small Healthy Eating Changes
What changes should you make? Read this article on the elements of healthy eating, but here are some ideas for small changes.
- Add a vegetable to lunch.
- Add a vegetable to dinner.
- Eat a vegetable or fruit for a snack.
- Add fruit to breakfast.
- Prepare a healthy snack for when you feel like snacking (carrots, grapes, nuts, banana, raisins).
- Change a white grain at lunch to a whole grain.
- Change a white grain at dinner to a whole grain.
- Find a healthy breakfast recipe and try it (I love this oatmeal).
- Pick a healthy recipe and cook 2-3 days’ worth of it (here are a few, but there are thousands online).
- Eat a vegan meal each day.
- Pick a healthier protein for one meal (lean meats, plant-based protein).
- Eat no fried foods.
- Replace sweets with fruit.
- No liquid calories before lunch (tea, water, black coffee OK).
- No liquid calories after lunch (tea, water, black coffee OK).
- Reduce alcohol to one drink.
- Drink more water (set your goal yourself).
- Create a daily meal plan.
- Control portion sizes (set your goal yourself).
- Eat slowly and mindfully for one meal a day.
- Eat whole food instead of prepared food for one meal a day.
- Eat a salad every day.
- Replace soda with tea.
- Drink tea every day.
- Before going for seconds, take a 5-minute break.
- Cook one meal a day at home.
- Discover the pleasures of a new food.
- Add more fiber to your diet (vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans, lentils).
- Switch starches for non-starchy veggies at one meal a day.
- Try cooking dinner without using oil or added fat.
Again, these are just a few ideas … you can make up your own!
I encourage you to recruit your family and friends to join you on this challenge, or join Sea Change today for support, video lessons and more to help.