5 Steps to Finding the 80/20 Food Balance!

Wait. Is there such a thing as FOOD BALANCE?! YES!! Did you ever think to yourself, “I’d love to eat better, feel better, drop some pounds, improve my health, and not be miserable while I do it!?! There IS a way to find food balance!

I know I have, and still do!  Hello, pizza and beer!! The path to a healthy lifestyle is not linear, but rather, up-down-right-left-backward and upside freakin’ down sometimes. It takes patience, education, and most of all, TIME.

So how do you get started? Let’s start with FOOD. #Duh.

In order to find food balance, let’s talk about a lovely little tool we like to call the “Green, Yellow, and Red” lists! Here’s how to use it!

Each macronutrient (Carbohydrate, Fats, and Proteins) has its own list of foods to eat “MORE” of, eat “SOME” of, and eat “LESS” of. You can find more on Macronutrients here!

I’m sure you can guess, the “eat more list”, or the GREEN list, are the wholesome, minimally processed foods. Think of those that come from the earth or animals, in their most wholesome forms (i.e. chicken breast, sweet potatoes, and nuts). Remember, GREEN means GO!

The “eat some of”, or the YELLOW list, are a bit more processed, but still somewhat wholesome and will certainly help to fuel our bodies. (i.e. protein powder, rice or granola, and nut oils).

And you guessed it, the “eat less of” list, or the RED list, are those foods that aren’t the best for us overall, but are still ok in moderation. These could also include foods that just don’t agree with us and we may need to avoid altogether (ahem…#cabbagefarts) (i.e. fried chicken wings or hot dogs, french fries, or butter and processed cheese).

So how do we get started?!

Step 1–the Food Balance Lists!

  • Look at ALL the lists! Find the printer-friendly list here and the device friendly version here! Identify what foods you find tasty, are willing to try, and/or know how to prepare. If you are willing to try the foods but aren’t sure exactly what they are or how to prepare them, do some research! #pinterestisyourfriend 😉

Step 2–Plan a Balanced Week!

  • Make a plan! How can you incorporate each list into your daily life? Can you make recipes? Can you cook these foods for your family? I make a simple Word document, with ideas for the week, and start building from there! Think outside the box here and give it your best shot! Again, #pinterestisyourfriend

Remember—stick to those foods you like and don’t try to incorporate things just because you think they are “healthy”. If you already know you don’t like them (for me, mushrooms and cauliflower rice are OFF the table… #barf) there is no point trying to gag down foods that you just HATE. Nothing will make you say “to hellllll with this” faster than eating foods that you can’t stand, but that is “good” for you. Do your best to get rid of that “good, bad, ugly” food mindset and focus on FOOD BALANCE!

Step 3–Shop for the Goods!

  • Next step—go shopping!! Take that plan you made and put it into action. Maybe that means you are making your grocery list based on the meals and snacks you have planned for the week. Take a look at what you have already, then get out there and get what you need to set you up for success!

Step 4–Get Prepped!

  • Wash and Prep! Does your chicken need to be portioned out/frozen? Veggies need cut and washed? Do nuts need portioning? Prepping also takes away excuses for throwing in the towel during times of stress! After a long day, it’s much easier to face a meal with half the work that needs to be done!

Step 5–Stick to the plan!

Finally, be sure not to OVERPREPARE. Sometimes our ambitions to hit the ground running can result in all the prep going to waste. This can lead to feelings of defeat and frustration! #lessonlearned

You can always go BACK to the store! Take It Easy Sis…one day, one step at a time. Go back to Step 2—what’s your plan?? Now stick to it.

To Summarize…

Step 1: Look at all the LISTS!
Step 2: Make a PLAN!
Step 3: Go Shopping!
Step 4: Wash and Prep!
Step 5: Don’t OVERprepare!

Remember, the key to finding FOOD BALANCE is to rid your mind of the “Good, Bad, and Ugly” foods, in order to still enjoy a flexible lifestyle! This takes time, practice, and consistency!

Still feeling overwhelmed or in need of more support? Check out The Mother Lovin’ Struggle for Nutritional Coaching!

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