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Be Successful at Eating Healthy

One of the biggest issues people have with food – is how they look at it. For years, my clients have told me how difficult it is to eat healthy. Now I always try to be compassionate when having these conversations, but I just don’t agree. Nowadays if you want to eat healthy, it’s really not that hard! The quote “abs are made in the kitchen – not in the gym” fits perfectly into this paragraph.

We know that most Americans have a weight problem because of a bad diet, and as a result a lot of health issues. It seems like everywhere we look someone we know is struggling with their weight. Obesity continues to be an epidemic as we are seeing a steady increase in heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and other health related disorders.

The truth is, most of us could stand to lose a few pounds. So how do we learn to look at food differently? How do we learn to make better food choices? Here are a few tips to get you started.

Change Your Mindset

Start with small, easy changes to keep yourself motivated as your work towards your goals. For example, if you’re trying to cut down on soda, and drink more water, substitute water once a day for soda. If you can’t live without chips, look for a no salt alternative with healthier ingredients. It may take a week or two to adjust, but before you know it, it will become a habit.

Make “On-the-Go” Healthy

As parents, we often think that healthy food for our children can’t be “on-the-go”, but that’s not necessarily true. Keep bottled water and nonperishable snacks such as organic animal crackers, whole-grain pretzels, raisins and nuts on hand at all times. This way there will be no excuse to stop at a fast food restaurant.

Plan Ahead

The decision to eat healthier must involve the whole family. That means that you, as a parent, have to commit to new eating habits as well. A recent study found that children whose parents weighed more and had a higher body mass index (BMI), weighed more and were more likely to have a higher BMI themselves.

Your family’s eating plan should be specific as to what you plan to do, such as eat at home more often or have more vegetables with each meal. Decide ahead of time how you will keep track of your progress and make sure there is a reward with each goal that is met.

Make It Fun

Healthy eating doesn’t have to be boring! The trick is to make it fun, diverse and age appropriate. There are so many healthy recipes out there that taste good! Choose recipes that the whole family can participate in making. It’s a great way to spend time with the kids and familiarize them with the kitchen!

A Family Affair

Involve the whole family in the food planning, purchasing, and preparing process. Take them on a trip to the grocery store or farmers’ market. If you get them started young it will become a part of their lifestyle as they get older.

Make a Shopping List

Never go to the store empty handed! Before you leave home, make a list or better yet take a picture of your refrigerator and pantry. What are you missing? Is there anything that you can change to a healthier option?

Eat from the Rainbow

If you are making a pasta dish, double the number of veggies you throw in. This will fill you up with good nutrients and prevent your dishes from being so calorie dense. Choose vibrant colored veggies and fruit. The more color, the more antioxidants.

Use Smaller Plates

Plates seem to get bigger and bigger! If the plate is smaller, you can finish everything on there without feeling guilty. You can also avoid taking in too many calories.

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

Keep all junk food out of sight. If you don’t see it you won’t be tempted to eat it! Better yet just don’t bring it into the house! Keep healthy food like a bowl of fresh fruit, sliced veggies, or a dish of unsalted nuts in the kitchen at all times. You will be amazed at how much this helps you cut down on the amount of junk food you eat.

Food prep and quick easy meals is key to your success. Prep your food weekly and be diligent about making meals easily assessable. Here are a few ideas:

• Hard boil a dozen eggs

• Measure out and bag up protein shakes

• Wash, cut and bag up produce

• Scramble together eggs or egg beaters for an easy breakfast

• Make homemade gluten-free granola, protein bars and smoothies

• Chop up and put all your salad veggies in a bowl

• Make up separate salads in Tupperware

• Make a big pot of healthy home-made soup for easy lunches or dinners

• Cook up a whole package of chicken, then portion and/or freeze as needed

• Portion and bag unsalted nuts

• Cook up 3-4 sweet potatoes

• Make a big pot of quinoa to add to a salad, dinner side or breakfast

• Fill up a gallon of water and add lemon

• Make a pitcher of unsweetened green or black tea

Check out these easy-to-make Peanut Butter Granola Bars. Just 6 ingredients are all you need to have a healthy and delicious snack for your busy lifestyle. They’re gluten-free and vegan friendly too!

Peanut Butter Granola Bars


• 1 cup oat flour (ground rolled oats)

• 1 cup rolled oats

• 1/4 tsp sea salt

• 2 T ground flax

• 1/2 cup natural, smooth peanut butter

• 1/3 cup pure maple syrup

• 1-2 T water (as needed)

• 1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Line an 8 x 8-inch baking pan with
parchment or spray/grease with coconut oil.

3. In a large bowl add the oat flour, rolled oats, sea salt and ground flax.

4. Top with peanut butter and maple syrup.

5. The batter should be slightly sticky, but not wet. Add water as needed to get the right consistency.

6. Add in chocolate chips. (optional)

7. Spread out batter in baking pan using wet hands. Pack in tightly and ensure top is flat.

8. Bake for 18-20 mins or until edges are slightly brown.

9. Let sit for 20 minutes before removing from pan and cutting into 12 bars.

10. Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days or freeze for several months.

Prep Time: 10 mins Cook Time: 20 mins Total Time: 30 mins Yield: 12 bars

In Conclusion:

Embrace a fresh start! Set goals, create a plan and take small steps to achieve them! Stick to the plan and make sure you exercise daily. Yes, we sometimes eat too many cookies, binge on reality television shows and skip out on our workouts. It’s not what we do once in a while; it’s what we do every day. Good luck to you!

Jennifer Nastasi Guzelak
I have been a personal trainer for over seventeen years and I absolutely love what I do. I honestly feel that I have one of the best jobs out there! The most rewarding part of my profession is helping one of my clients succeed at reaching their personal fitness goals. Making a difference in someone’s life makes it all worthwhile. I am currently certified by the National Sports Conditioning Association, Apex Fitness Group, and the International Sports Science Association.