Healthy Eating Made Easy (Part 1)

You may think maintaining a healthy lifestyle takes a lot of work. Well, I would say it takes a lot of getting used to. It’s as easy as falling in love with Chris Pine, or Ryan Gosling, or Adam Levine… need I say more? It’s also not as expensive as I thought it would be, you’ll see. I’ve been doing this for years now so let me share with you some useful tips to start eating healthy, and actually stick to it this time.

I can’t say that my lifestyle is purely healthy, because the definition may vary from person to person. I want to tell you how I changed from the insatiable person that I used to be, who also did not mind the type of food I ate and put into my body, into someone who is more aware of her food choices. Oh no, don’t get me wrong. I am not an expert and I definitely still binge eat (it is my guilty pleasure). But in a month, for example, I am confident that more than 80% of the time, my food choices are healthy and my eating habit is apt for my body’s needs. Okay, enough of the disclaimer. Let’s get started!

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Who said healthy cannot be delicious?

This was supposed to be a single blog entry but after realizing that this entry was becoming more like a novel (LOL not really), I decided to divide it into two parts:

Part 1:

  • The reason and the motivation
  • The grocery list
  • How to prepare your meals

Part 2:

  • Snacks and drinks of a healthy eater
  • Peer pressure: eating out with friends
  • All about intuitive eating

1. The reason and the motivation

I think consciously changing an aspect in one’s life needs to have a legitimate reason or moving force for it to be successful. For me, to have a healthy body and to prevent future diseases are the main reason why I tried to change the way I eat. I would also say that I was greatly influenced by my parents.

Both of my parents are hypertensive (with high blood pressure) on maintenance meds for more than five years now. My dad was also previously diagnosed with hypercholesterolemia (abnormally high cholesterol in the blood). Since they have realized that they were not getting any younger, they started avoiding food rich in cholesterol and other forms of saturated fat (the unhealthy fat). They started eating less pork, and avoided egg yolks (with high cholesterol) as much as possible. Compared to chicken and fish, pork contains more saturated fat (more calories, too) in the equivalent serving size. The same goes for beef.

It’s a good thing that my parents became conscious of their health, because the change in their diet definitely had an impact on mine, too. Not only did I start to eat less pork, my dad also is a “no fat” police, always checking on me if I would eat the chicken skin on my plate. Sometimes, I would be successful at sneaking, but most of the time, he already took the skin off before I know it. Haha. Love you, Tay! If your parents are the ones serving you unhealthy food, you can try to suggest a change in that aspect of your household little by little. They’ll be touched on how concerned you are for their health!

2. The grocery list

Eating healthy need not be expensive. It’s close to impossible to have a part-time job while studying (especially here in the Philippines) so I only rely on my monthly allowance. I try my best to spend it wisely. It is definitely cheaper if you’re going to prepare your own food.

The constant items on my to-buy list are the following:

  • Loaf or pita bread (made of wheat or sugar-free, it depends on my mood actually haha)
  • Cheese (I prefer the quick-melt type, but please use this in moderation!)
  • Chicken breast
  • Fish fillet (cream dory, usually)
  • String beans (Baguio beans)
  • Tomatoes (healthy, yummy, and makes any dish look pretty LOL)
  • Olive oil
  • My favorite condiments: Sriracha sauce, mustard, raw honey, red cane vinegar, soy sauce, salt, ground pepper, dried herbs (basil, rosemary, thyme) — flavor is really important for you to enjoy eating healthy
  • Fruits — avocado, watermelon, apple, pear, banana, or papaya
  • Eggs
  • Harvey Fresh Skim Milk

I avoid getting anything from the junk food and candy/chocolate section. This helps me a lot since when I am in my apartment, I have no choice but to eat the healthy stuff I bought at the supermarket. Not splurging on chocolates and junk food also saves me money. The only pricey items on my list are the fruits. I haven’t tried going to the wet market in our area but I am pretty sure it is cheaper there.

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Pizza bread — perfect for breakfast, lunch, or dinner! Sometimes, I put pizza sauce as the base, making it more full with flavor. Top with herbs and spices of your choice. (cooked in the over for 8-10 minutes)

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Alternative: roasted chicken ham (Purefoods Deli) to fill your sandwich

How about processed food? I seldom buy hotdogs nowadays, but when I do, I pick Purefoods Turkey Hotdog. Of course, it’s not pure meat but it’s way better (with less fat) than the ordinary ones.

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Omelette cooked inside the oven like a pie. I usually use three eggs (2 yolks discarded). I try to limit my egg yolk intake to only one to two in a week. Other ingredients: Turkey hotdog, bell pepper, tomatoes, onions. No salt included. I also make omelette cups using a cupcake tray (they look really nice hehe). Sometimes, I only put cheese cubes (in moderation!) instead of hotdog slices.

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Roasted string beans in olive oil and chicken breasts marinated in honey & mustard. Try to use less salt (or none at all).

2. What to eat and HOW to cook them

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Herbed fish fillet, eggplant, and tomatoes, drizzled with olive oil, then roasted for 15 minutes

What I prepare for myself depends on how much time I have and what I feel like eating in the moment. I’ve been living away from home for about seven years now so thinking about what I’m going to eat is usually a no-brainer. You can get inspiration from the food you eat at restaurants.

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You can buy plain pizza bread (thin- or thick-crust), available in different sizes, at the supermarket. Put a limit on the cheese! I used to be very generous on putting cheese in my meals but soon realized that there should be a limit to it. My maximum is about 4 slices of cheddar cheese per day.

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Got only a few minutes? Try this peanut butter and banana toast. I use Jif with Reduced Fat peanut butter.

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Kellogg’s Special K cereals with banana slices and skim milk (for breakfast, sometimes as a snack)

In my mini kitchen, I have a medium-sized oven (which I use to cook almost everything), rice cooker (which I actually use to steam vegetables and cook pasta), a coffee maker, and an electric kettle. That’s all of my kitchen appliances but I can do so much with them. You should have no excuse, especially if you have a stove! Haha!

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Pasta in pesto with tinapa flakes sauce (sauce cooked in the oven, pasta in the rice cooker)

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Roasted chicken (marinated in soy sauce, calamansi juice, and garlic) in toasted pita pocket, with blanched broccoli on the side

Most of my knowledge about cooking came from watching my dad or mom prepare food at home, TV shows, and the internet. When I make a dish, I am not stiff with measurements. I just add ingredients that I think would make it more tasty.

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For vegetables, raw is the ideal way to go. However, it will not always taste good so I blanch, steam, or roast them. Sometimes I would steam a large quantity of mixed vegetables then just leave the whole container in the chiller. When I want to eat them for my next meal, I just heat a bowl in the oven (you can use your microwave).

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Roasted fish fillet and veggies. Make sure that the meat is fully cooked before devouring it whole! We don’t want diarrhea or dysentery!

Aside from chicken breast and fish fillet, another favorite of mine are tofu and tilapia. Mostly, my parents just bring me cooked tofu (usually adobo), and steamed tilapia so I don’t have to cook them myself. Also, after reading this entry, my nutritionist-dietician friend (hi, Shannen!) made me aware that I should emphasize that varying the way you cook your meals really matters. This is important since too much grilling or roasting can leave your food with carcinogens (cancer-causing or -inducing chemicals).

I hope I somehow inspired you to start a change in the way you see food and choose what to eat. Part 2 is already up! If you like this post, please share this to your friends and family!

Cheers to a better health! ❤,

Rachelle

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3 thoughts on “Healthy Eating Made Easy (Part 1)

  1. Pingback: Healthy Eating Made Easy (Part 2) | In Full Bloom by Rachelle Ramilo

  2. Pingback: Getting Your Dream Body: Expectations vs Reality | In Full Bloom by Rachelle Ramilo

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