Sticking to Healthy Culinary Nutrition Habits

We bet most of you would say you’d like to live a long, healthy and happy life. It’s easy to communicate our goals, yet it’s often more challenging to translate those desires into action. Following through with healthy habits for a few days during a diet or cleanse is typically much simpler than cultivating those habits every single day of the year. How do we stay committed to our health habits all year long, rather than abandoning them after our enthusiasm or willpower wanes? There are definitely some tricks to sticking to healthy culinary nutrition habits – and these tips will help you stay motivated and excited about supporting your health and wellbeing.

Sticking to Healthy Culinary Nutrition Habits

Write down your health goals

The concept of ‘health’ means different things to each and every one of us. For some, the measure of good health may mean the ability to run a marathon this year, while for others optimal health is humming if they can go for a daily 10-minute walk. Consider what health and wellness mean to you, as you’re more likely to stick to healthy culinary nutrition habits when you have a clear, overarching goal (or goals) that you can work towards.

If it helps, you can formulate your goals based on how you want to feel as opposed to what you want to do.  While the to-do lists are certainly helpful, for some of us lists can be never-ending and our success becomes wrapped up in our ability to conquer them. Goals that are associated with our feelings (i.e. happy, content, strong, creative, relaxed, grounded, loving) allow us a bit more flexibility in how we can approach or achieve them, and aren’t necessarily tied to completing 10 things on your to-do list.

Take small, actionable steps

Overarching health goals can seem big and wide and daunting; reduce the overwhelm by considering small, actionable steps that will help you reach your goals. Having those small habits in place add up in the end. It may not seem like a big deal to take a few minutes to brush your teeth and floss every day, but over the course of a year that relatively quick habit will often lead to better dental health and fewer cavities.

Behavioural psychologists use a term called ‘chunking’, which involves the brain breaking up larger tasks into smaller ones. Evidence indicates that ‘chunking’ can help us learn and retain habits. When you are trying to achieve better health, think about the small chunks you can use to get there – and here are 10 easy health habits you can start right now.

Make a plan

Want to eat more dark leafy greens or cook more meals at home from scratch? Those vegetables aren’t going to magically appear in your fridge, nor is that dinner going to show up on the table without your efforts. One of the first skills we teach our students in the Culinary Nutrition Expert Program is menu planning, which is an essential part of healthy eating.

Some other resources that might help you in your healthy habits planning are:

Design ways to be accountable

Once you have your goals and plans in place, devise strategies that will help you stay accountable to them. Perhaps you schedule a weekly check-in with yourself on your calendar, keep a health journal, or develop a reward system to keep you excited and motivated.

Recruit a community

Working on your health is something that you are primarily responsible for, but that doesn’t mean you have to do it alone. At the Academy of Culinary Nutrition, we have seen our students and alumni thrive on the support and cheerleading they provide to one another. Sticking to healthy culinary nutrition habits can be easier when you have others to help keep you accountable. Plus, you reap the benefits of group wisdom as share your challenges and triumphs.

You might find it helpful to work on healthy habits with one person, your family members, or a larger accountability group. Whichever you choose, ensure that the people you are working with are committed and responsible; those who will push you towards growth and change, rather than drag you down.

Make it fun

Let’s face it: we’re more likely to stick with healthy culinary nutrition habits when we actually enjoy them. Figure out how you can bring more joy to your health habits – that might mean starting a cooking cooperative with friends, throwing on some tunes or a great podcast while you meal prep, or delighting in the health benefits of being in nature.

It probably won’t surprise you to hear that one of the ways we make healthy habits fun is by cooking delicious food! Here are some of our favourites to inspire you:

Sticking to healthy culinary nutrition habits may be tough at first, but once you get into the swing of it – and reap the rewards – you will be grateful to have them in your life.

Image:  Lisovskaya