Step 3: Improve Healthy Eating Habits

Confession time:
I have really poor eating habit. Perhaps, shockingly bad.
and point of fact; I'm eating a "fleur de sel caramel" from trader Joes as I type this.

so innocent looking, right?

I know I could stand to lose a few (or 10) pounds, but I have almost no willpower when it comes to "bad" food. My only saving grace is that I'm pretty picky about my food. I tend to not like the taste of really junky junk foods (doritos, cheep chocolate, snack cake, really greasy stuff, etc.) but I also don't like veggies.

I know, I'm 36 years old, I really should have grow out of this by now. But I haven't. I have a really tough time with cooked veggies (although I did discover recently that I do like grilled veggies - if you put enough feta or Parmesan cheese on them). I will eat tomato sauce with other veggies in there, as long as I can't see them...

yes, I am a toddler when it comes to vegetables.

I do like roasted asparagus, a lot. And I can enjoy a fresh salad (I do like to make my own dressing, which is fun) and carrot sticks... but seriously anything else is a struggle.

I had big plans for the off-season. I was going to follow the amazing eating habit examples of fellow triathletes; Kelly, Sonja and Megan. These ladies have it all, good eating habits, and from what I can tell COOKING SKILLS.

That's the other problem, I get overwhelmed in the kitchen very easily. no real cooking skills.

Sonja went on a pretty amazing food journey during the off season where she delved into a vegan diet and I think she was surprised by what she found. I enjoyed following her along this journey and all the food looked so yummy so I tried to do it to. Kelly spent the last year (as far as I can tell) learning about healthy eating an making small and large adjustments in her food choices. Megan is a gluten free gourmet. I'm in awe of them.

I've been able to successfully make a few things (The Mushroom Gravy from the Jai Seed cookbook is amazing - and you guessed it, I don't really like mushrooms) and I look forward to trying out some more. But I think I'm going to have to realize
I'm not a food overhaul kind of person.

I have all of these new products (lentils, beans, quinoa, chia seed, etc.) on my pantry shelves and they mock me when I look in there to determine what to make for dinner. They snicker at me when I reach for the tried and true Barilla Plus pasta.

the peanut gallery

and if I'm being really honest, they sit there because I'm afraid I'll screw up dinner for everyone if I try them. Which is one of my personality traits I'm not too fond of (being scared to fail, so not trying at all). However, I'm making some strides in this area over the past few months, so I'm going cut myself some slack.
I've decided to take it slow.

I guess we will call it "step 3a"
Drink a stadium cup of water in the morning BEFORE I'm allowed to drink coffee

I'm pretty much chronically dehydrated, and I'm thinking this would be a great place to start "eating cleanly" because what is more clean than water, right?
Step 3b
No more ice cream at night.

This one is completely an emotional eating habit for me. When I was a little girl, my daddy and I would eat ice cream together every night. and in fact when I'm at my parents, we still tend to do this! I have a head start on this one, I haven't had ice cream at home, after dinner for over a month. This does NOT mean I haven't had ice cream at all. ha ha

To remind me, I put a little sign on the Freezer door:

Step 3c
No more snack foods

I SOOOOOO stress eat, and I reach for salt snacks. Just because Annie's Cheddar Bunny snack mix is organic, doesn't mean it is good for me. Especially when I sit down and eat half of a box myself. I keep the snacks in the house for the boys and in moderation (which THEY are GREAT at) they are totally fine. so to keep my little mitts out of the snack mix, I put this on the pantry door:

and the piece d' resistance (okay I know I butchered that) Step 3d:
make one vegetarian dinner each week

I'm thinking if I can introduce myself to one new dinner each week I'll be able to tackle my fear of cooking the unknown. and this way, I'm only risking one dinner a week, that's not so big a deal, right?!?!

Wow, Step 3 documented. It feels good. Now to make good on this promise to myself. I'll be adding more steps soon too!

What do you guys do to improve your eating habits?!?!


  1. I put spices on veggies and roast in the oven-they get crispy on the outside with a kind of grilled taste-very yummy. you CAN do step at a time. You you're reaching for the ice cream late at night, and need a "sponsor" to call-I am here for ya :). We both have the Kona goal this year-gotta help each other out-whatever it takes!!

  2. Wow- aside from the fact that I love veggies, you and I have very similar eating issues. (Klondike bars at bedtime with my grandfather was a tradition, or frozen cookie dough with my Dad). I have started using the Quinoa recently. The kids love it. I made spaghetti sauce with turkey sausage and put it on top of quinoa instead of pasta. The kids loved it. Perhaps we can help each other along this journey. Check out Jessi's dinner club idea, too. We are going to try it here.

  3. thanks for the shout-out, Jill! It has (and still is) been an ongoing process for me, for sure. Here's a delish smoothie recipe for you that I LOVE!!!

    1 cup almond milk, 2 cups raw spinach, 1 cup frozen cherries, 1 tbs. cacao powder, 1 tbs. chia seed, and you can add 1 scoop chocolate protein powder OR 1/2 cup plain greek might need to add a bit of water to get it to blend...SO GOOD (and you can't even taste the spinach!)

    Let me know if you need more easy ideas...I have lot!

  4. FIRST - that mushroom gravy ROCKS. Wow.

    I am also 36 and have similar eating issues to you - although I do like veggies, they have not always been my first choice. But I am getting better and find it is all in the preparation. I have an AWESOME lentil sloppy joe recipe for you if you want..My meat loving man ate it and had seconds he liked it so much. That is saying something.

  5. I love it!! You are doing great, and it is a total process. I can't wait to hear about your progress!

    And that picture reminded me--you asked me at carpool a few weeks ago if there was another lost and found for your kid's sweatshirt...right?

    So, we have technically met :-)

    Keep it up, and share what you try out!

  6. I hear ya as I have just learned to like veggies the last two years or so. Big fan of grilled veggies - especially the asperagus!

    My wife and I went through our fridge and pantry and just tossed everything that was junk. We found that if it is out of sight it is out of mind. This has helped tremendously!

  7. I'm so with you on the veggies... cheese makes any veggie taste better and it's calcium which my diet needs, right? Ugh, yeah, I know I'm wrong. I'm anxious to hear how all of this goes for you - please keep us updated... I could stand to learn a thing or two! :)

  8. i have SO SO SO SO SO much to say on this topic... but first. You are doing great! It does take babysteps and I think HYDRATION is a great first step. You are less likely to be reaching for the snacky stuff if you are dehydrated. Next time you want to reach for a snack. STOP. Drink a glass of water. If you still want the snack.. you are hungry.. and you will likely eat less bc of the water. Check to see if your local library has that Clean Food book that Sonja mentioned I got it and it's pretty darn good. I might have to go buy it!

    And the snack foods that you have in the house for the kids.. while you are trying to figure it out.. ditch the snacks. There are healthier options for them too. :) Like apples and carrot sticks w/ PB... nuts (raw) and raisins... a tortilla w/ PB.

    The smoothie from Kelly is a GREAT one!

  9. I meant to say you are less likely to snack if you are HYDRATED... not dehydrated..

  10. Ok, did I write this post?? While I adore vegetables, I feel the exact same way you do only with fruit. Yuck..ugh..i'll eat pineapple and banana bread (does that count) but I know what you are going through.

    AND I JUST made the SAME deal with myself about coffee, must drink two glasses of water before I drink coffee.

    The other deal I gave myself is: I can either have wine or dessert at night but not both. And sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn't, it usually depends on what day i'm having (ha, so much for willpower!)

    Anyway, I read all the twitters from Sonja and the other healthy kids, and I do eat healthy most of the time, but I TOO have many items sitting on my shelf because i'll be pissed if I waste time making it and it sucks :)

    Guess we can try it one thing at a time!!

    AWESOME blog!

    One snack I do, similar to Laura who posted above is one caramel rice cake with creamy peanut butter and a glass of milk..takes my hunger (or fake hunger?) away and satisfies my sweet tooth!

  11. Wow guys!! Thank you so much for taking the time to write down your helpful tips!!! I love 'em!! I'm going to try everything and let you all know how it's going. So far so good! :D Thanks for all of the awesome support!!

  12. You didn't have to say all that just to make me feel better about my eating habits! Just hanging around with Sonja, Kelly and Megan will make it easier to change. Just remember, baby steps...

  13. We are nearly the same age, and I am in the same place. It is just so hard to change. Small steps are the way to go! Love the sticker - motivation is key.

  14. Jill what a great post!!! I am totally a stress eater as well. And I find since i work from home that it is just to easy to be on a stressful conf call and open a bag of chips or some other high GI nasty food. And your ice cream is my D&D cookies! What I have done to get around this is I will jump on the trainer and spin for a bit take the dogs for a walk. Any thing that I can do to change focus!

  15. I'm very similar - although I do like veggies, I just hate BUYING them because I hate COOKING them. In fact, I hate cooking in general most of the time. I like to graze...if I can pull it from the pantry or the fridge and put it together with little effort, I'm golden. The microwave is my friend. I put rice in my rice cooker and keep plenty in the fridge to reheat. I love throwing fruit, chicken, and fresh moz on top, with a drizzle of agave nectar, and maybe a sprinkle of pecan pieces. I'm going to try the smoothie thing when I get home - maybe I can get more veggies in my system that way. I like your reminder on the fridge - I need to post something like that too.



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