1. I refuse to buy anything with high fructose corn syrup or partially hydrogenated oils in it. Anything. No exceptions. When I started this about 15 years ago, it was almost impossible. Now, most companies have reformulated to exclude these ingredients. Check the ingredient list on your bread, crackers, cereal, whatever – you probably buy the same brand every time you go the store anyway, so find a brand without these offenders.
2. I drink calorie-free beverages. Yes, I drink a significant amount of water each day, but I also drink coffee and tea. I just don’t put anything in them. If you can’t stand the idea of coffee by itself, try adding a little bit of unsweetened, plain almond milk. It is sweeter than regular milk, so you get the “cream and sugar” taste with fewer unwanted side effects. Tea isn’t just black. It’s green, red, white, and herbal. Herbal teas come in about a billion flavors, so you can get sweet tastes, too! Two exceptions: I do occasionally drink protein/meal replacement shakes and I do NOT include diet soda on my list of okay beverages. Sure, no calories, but the other terrible things they do to my body do not make up for that.
3. I eat a healthy breakfast every day. It sounds so simple, but it really makes a huge difference. And yes, I know, mornings are busy enough without trying to add something complicated. That’s why I don’t get complicated! A lot of days, I’m on the bus at 6am to go to work. I’ve been known to start work as early as 5am, so trust me, I know how hard it is to get up and get ready. My go-to breakfast is oatmeal, the cook-on-the-stove-in-5-minutes kind, not instant. It took some practice, but I’ve perfected it and I eat it nearly every day. I add some combination of blueberries, cinnamon, protein powder (vanilla or chocolate), or whatever else. The other day I added a half-cup of pumpkin and some pie spice. It wasn’t great, but the potential is there and I’ll try it again. Plus, a sneaky serving of vegetables for me! My point is, find something healthy you can cook quickly and easily and stick with a solid breakfast routine. Totally worth it.
So there you are – a Chicago mom’s three tricks to living a healthier and ultimately happier life! If you have questions, please ask them. I’m here to help!