Why are you struggling to eat healthy? Well, other than a strong desire to enjoy chocolate, crusty bread and cookie dough ice-cream, society seems to go out of its way to make nutrition difficult. These 6 reasons explain why:
Salads are not good value for money
Salad eaters usually have two options: A bunch of leaves in a small box worth £6 with two mouthfuls of fancy salmon, or an assortment of bland veg with a serving of high calorie sauce. And if you opt to use the sauce, your salad will likely match the calories of a toasted sandwich.
When I was working at a London office, on the odd days I forgot to make lunch, I’d have to accept a break from “clean eating”. Cafe and supermarket lunch salads rarely fill me up, and I can’t justify spending a high amount on a meal that will make my stomach grumble an hour later. Besides, the temptation at food outlets is too tempting.
Cafes offer every delicious “bad food” going. How many nutritious options are there in a mix of muffins, croissants, cakes and cookies? Perhaps a brown shaded banana? The NHS has published a guide on healthy eating out tips, recommending for sauces to be kept seperate from food and sticking to non-large sizing options.
Healthy food packaging is unpractical
Okay, not a direct reason you’re probably struggling to eat healthy. But it’s annoying enough to mention. When I switched my diet to plant-based, I stocked up on lentils, chickpeas, pumpkin seeds and quinoa. A month later, I realised my cupboard was a mess and every product had spilled ingredients out of its flimsy plastic. I now use pegs to keep things together.
When you’re struggling to eat healthy because of friends
Friends are typically supportive in the beginning, when you first declare you’re going to improve your lifestyle. That changes however when out for dinner. If they don’t fancy a vegetable medley and a fruit platter, you’re not suppose to either.
Hasn’t everyone had a friend remark: “You’re allowed a treat.”
Which is true, it’s all about balance right? Yet when the tables turn and you offer friends to have a night of nothing but healthy produce, watch them squirm as they say: “No.”
It’s difficult to eat well if friends and colleagues don’t follow similar eating habits. Especially in offices when staff members (usually your boss) brings in donuts on a Friday or for a celebration.
Healthy recipes are hard to make
As a non-animal eater, I’ve learnt to expect recipes to list rare ingredients like xanthan gum. Though even without the veganism, anything remotely healthy tends to require a month’s worth of vegetables in one meal. I love cooking soups, stews and curries, but there’s only so much veg cutting I’m prepared to do. With baking, many advertised healthy desserts require an expensive blender and a selection of pricey nuts such as walnuts and cashew.
Another issue is the optional section, where a “clean” recipe suddenly suggests you add cheese and chocolate. This always makes me want to add them, to the point where I’m debating if I should have simply made junk food in the first place.
For instance, I once made a pizza with sourdough bread and olive, tomato and pepper toppings. I then added the (Optional) cheese and my “healthy” treat became equivalent to what I’d normally eat, having not wasted time cooking from scratch.
When you feel shamed by other health addicts
I use to follow a body competitor on Instagram. She followed a strict diet I found inspiring. I understood she had to eat very specific to achieve her goals.
How disheartening though, when she uploaded a meal of carrots, broccoli and cabbage, with 3 potatoes and chicken in gravy. Her caption read: “Today I’m treating myself.” It completely put me off my healthy living because I felt the food choices I was making weren’t adequate. I looked at what I was preparing and wondered whether it was good enough.
Struggling to eat healthy due to healthy food braggers
Bringing me to my last point. There’s countless health bloggers and Instagrammers who all post the same meals. The same smoothie bowls, salads, oatmeal with fruit… it’s easy to get weighed down by how others define eating well.
It took a long time for me to edit my habits. What didn’t help, was people who’d make comments like “You shouldn’t snack. I only eat 3 meals as it’s healthier”, and “You should cut bread out your diet.” While this advice may be true, it’s better figure things out slowly and focus on what feels right for you.