Cutting cooked meat on plate

5 common healthy eating hurdles (and how to overcome them)

Eating healthier, now that’s a worthwhile goal. But with every worthwhile goal comes a hurdle or two. If you have a moment of weakness, don’t dwell on it – tomorrow is a new day! A positive attitude will get you a long way but it’s also helpful to know the common hurdles you’ll face and ways you can overcome them.


1. I'm really busy

Containers_FridgeEven if you have a packed schedule, it doesn’t mean you have to buy into the perception that healthy food is time consuming food. If you’re time poor, there are plenty of easy ways to invest in your diet without spending too much time.

  • Meal plans. They’re a great way to remove the ‘what will I have?’ moments from the supermarket and the kitchen. All those minutes add up. Check out our Healthier Eating Starts with Planning article.
  • Keep it simple. Healthy eating does not have to mean complicated eating. If your time is precious, plan basic meals.
  • Leftovers. Cooking for two takes just as long as cooking for one, so double the amount, freeze half and have it later in the week. Leftovers also make a great lunch.

2. It's more expensive

Checking_FridgeIt’s a common misconception that healthy food is more expensive than processed convenience food but a little know-how can go a long way. See our article on Healthy Eating on a Budget.

  • Understand the pricing. Much of the confusion about healthy eating comes from the fact that fresh food is often priced per kilo and processed food is priced per serve. Check out Healthy Eating on a Budget to see what we mean.
  • Frozen or canned. When it comes to fruit and vegetables, frozen and canned can be just as healthy as fresh. Plus you can buy in bulk.
  • Meal plans. If you know your meals for the week, you know your ingredients. Take that list to the shops and you won’t end up paying for things you don’t need. Here’s one Meal Planner to get you started.

3. I eat out a lot

Cutting_MeatYep, we’ve heard that one too. Here are a few tips we’ve borrowed from our longer article on 7 Ways to Eat Healthier When You’re Out.

  • Pre-eat. A healthy snack before you go out will stop you over-ordering.
  • Double entree. If you really like a starter and main, why not get two entrees instead to keep your portion size down?
  • Vegetables. Order some on the side or select a main meal with plenty of vegetables. Try choosing vegetables instead of chips. Vegetables will fill you up and provide you with lots of vitamins and minerals.
  • Lean protein. Avoid coated, crumbed or deep fried meat, chicken or fish. Choose grilled, steamed, pan-fried, poached, baked or roasted options instead.
  • Slow down. It can take your brain up to 20 minutes to register it’s full. Eat slowly and you will probably find you eat less. Pace yourself with a ‘slow’ eater or even the clock. Try putting your cutlery down between mouthfuls when you’re chewing, or sip water in between swallows. Even concentrating on how a food looks, smells, tastes and feels in your mouth and stomach will help.

4. I eat when I'm bored

Mowing_Lawn2Healthy eating can be easy, but for some people it all gets undone when boredom gets the better of them. Slow day at work, procrastinating or just plain bored… there are all sorts of triggers. The trick is not using food to deal with them.

  • Exercise. Imagine if you threw yourself into a vigorous walk instead of that chocolate mousse dessert. Exercise is a healthy way to cope with stress or emotional upsets and numerous studies have shown that regular exercise can help lift your mood.
  • Meal plan. Set a Meal Plan and keep to regular meals and snacks. Having it in writing and knowing what’s on your plate can make it that much easier to stick to.
  • Empty the house of junk. And the office for that matter. If you don’t have junk food close to hand, you’re much less likely to reach for it.
  • Mindful eating. Mindfulness is all about being in the present moment and listening to your body. Read how it can seriously help with healthy eating.

5. Influences all around

Standing_BBQYou know what we’re talking about. Those friends and family who encourage you to choose the creme brulee instead of the fruit stack. The environment and people around you can encourage and support you to eat either healthily or unhealthily. Here are some ways to tip it in your favour.

  • Choose healthier restaurants. Peer pressure is much less powerful when there’s less on the menu to peer pressure you with.
  • Pre-decide your meal. Hesitation when choosing a meal is an invitation for your influencer friend’s opinion, so if you’re eating out look up the menu online beforehand and make your decision.
  • Explain. Sometimes all a bad influencer needs to hear is that you’re trying to eat healthier, so lay it out for them and see if they will support you.
  • Invite them to your place. Your house, your rules, that way you control the menu, right?
  • Suggest going for a walk or meeting at a park instead of a café.