One of the most effective ways I’ve found to eat healthy is to make healthy eating a game. After all, what’s the point of living healthy if you aren’t enjoying it? So that’s where these 4 healthy eating activities for adults come into play!
I created this activities for my clients when I was running a nutrition consulting business several years ago (before I realized that nutrition consulting was NOT, in fact, something I wanted to do for a living. Teaching new freelancers how to succeed in business is much more up my alley!). My clients really liked these activities and found them to be super helpful for getting on track with healthier eating and finding more enjoyment with it. You might discover the same thing!
Healthy Eating Activities for Adults:
1) Secret Ingredient Week
The goal of this exercise is to try eating a new healthy ingredient each week so as to expand your horizons and get a broader variety of nutrients into your diet (compared to if you just eat the exact same things every single day). The next time you’re at the grocery store, buy a new healthy ingredient you’ve never tried before (some kind of vegetable, fruit, spice, legume, etc.), and then when you get home, find a recipe that features that ingredient and cook it up! This is an especially good activity for family bonding because you can choose the recipe and cook it together.
2) Favorite Recipes
This activity will help you to make cooking so much easier. Carve out some time one evening or on the weekend, gather up all of your favorite cookbooks (or pull up pages on your favorite recipe website), and choose 20 recipes from these sources that you’ve already tried and really enjoyed in the past. Ideally these recipes should also be fairly straightforward to put together and they should include ingredients you typically have in your kitchen.
Now put those recipes into a spreadsheet (don’t forget to include the source!). If the recipe is online, make sure you copy and paste it (and cite the source) into a document because you just never know when a website will close down without warning—and it would be a shame to never have access to that recipe again, wouldn’t it?
The idea behind this activity is that now you have a full list of recipe ideas, so the next time you’re scrambling to find something to make for dinner or you’re too tired to menu-plan, you can just consult your list and you’ll be good to go.
3) Label-reading Mogul
If you want to get better at reading food labels, this healthy eating activity is for you. It’s quite simple: go into your cupboard, choose a product, and read the health/nutrition claim on the front of the package (e.g. “low fat” or “all-natural” etc.). Check in with yourself: how does the claim make you feel? What do you think of when you see that health claim?
Next, turn the package over and read the ingredient list. Do any of the ingredients surprise you? Do you know what all of the ingredients are? If you don’t recognize an ingredient, don’t be afraid to look it up to find out what it is! One of my favorite resources for understanding food additives is the Centre for Science in the Public Interest’s comprehensive list of ingredients.
This kind of practice will help make you more cognizant of what’s in the food products you buy.
4) Daily mantras
This healthy living activity will enable you to better identify and overcome emotional eating. First, identify your triggers that contribute to your emotional eating. The next time you find yourself eating for emotional reasons, write down what was happening right before you began eating emotionally. Do this several times and you might discover a pattern.
Second, create a mantra to repeat to yourself when your trigger happens. Try to keep your mantra positive, and focus on something that’s the right fit for YOU and your personal triggers. The more customized it is, the more effective it will be. Start repeating this mantra to yourself on a regular basis so that it will be easier to bring to mind when you are feeling triggered to eat emotionally.