Eating and Living Healthier As a Couple
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We've been working on our eating habits this year and we've been happy with the results. We've both dropped weight and we feel much better than we did before. My husband has lost about 25lbs and I've dropped 11lbs! What I'm most happy about is the fact that we lost the weight months ago and it's stayed off. Maintaining our weight has been relatively easy since we have a system in place. It's a bit like handling our finances – it took work at the beginning as we tried to figure what would work for us, but it gradually got easier.
I wanted to recap and review our food plan that we had in 2010 and highlight what we did right, what we did wrong, and what worked for us.
80/20 Rule for Our Eating Habits
I will be up front and let you know that we are not completely throwing out junk food in favor of healthy ones. We just managed it so we make healthier choice the majority of the time in order to have fun the rest of the time.
Making Breakfast a Routine
Having breakfast as part of our morning routine is an adjustment. Too often we’re grabbing coffee (or maybe a smoothie if we have time) and get started with the day. However we need to have our weekday morning be more like our weekend morning, by having a solid breakfast. Since time is an issue, we decided to have a cold cereal option to help us. We kept reading how skipping breakfast can sabotage your blood sugar and hinder weight loss. Having a good breakfast can increase your energy level and reduce your chances of gorging later.
Watching What We Drink
What we eat is only part of what we changed. We also reduced how many calories we took in by changing our drinking habits a little bit. It's a made a big difference.
- Water: We've incorporated more water through out the day. I carry a reusable water bottle around the house so I keep on my goal. It's our main drink for the day.
- Juice: We try to drink juices with no high fructose corn syrup and not go overboard drinking it.
- Soda: This wasn't a big change for us since we weren't big soda drinkers. We have friends bring over soda if they want them for our game nights.
- Alcoholic Beverages: When we were jump-starting our new eating habits, we temporarily stopped drinking booze.
Changing Up Our Grocery List to Eat Healthy
We've had to make some noticeable adjustments to our grocery shopping, but so far, they've been great.
- Fresh Vegetables – We've never been too keen on canned veggies, we've focused on getting frozen vegetables. Now if we can get some fresh vegetables at a reasonable price, we go ahead and grab them.
- Portion Control – We meat is divided and bagged for the freezer, I go ahead and keep them to reasonable portions. It makes it easier to grab and make a dinner that'll won't go overboard with calories.
- No Sweets on Grocery Lists – This is a huge weakness for me, so when planning shopping lists, I don't include desserts unless we're having guests over.
- More Fruits/Smoothies – I'm really picky when it comes to fruit. While I love most fruit juices, I'm not a fan of every fresh fruit at the store.
- More Fiber – I feel like we've become this old couple at the store due to our conversations. “How about this cereal?” “How much fiber does it have?”
If you need some ideas on sprucing up your diet, I recommend Nerd Fitness Guide. Not only can it get you on the right track with food, it has exercise routines based on your current fitness level.
General Shopping List for Us
I've mentioned it before,but I thought it might be a bit helpful to include our grocery shopping list for us. For vegetables and fruits, we vary it based on what's in season and on sale.
To save some money, I buy the big packs of meat and split them up into portions for multiple meals.
- Ground Beef
- Pork Chops
- Fish (Tilapia, Tuna, Salmon) and Crab Meat (special occasions)
- Chicken (Thighs)
- Lunch Meats (Honey Ham and Roast Beef)
We try to vary our vegetables up to keep it interesting to us. Here's what we usually include, but I know I'm still leaving some stuff out.
- Green Beans
- Peppers (Green, Red, Habanero, etc)
- Leafy Spinach
- Bag Salads ( We have lazy days too)
- Asparagus Stir Fry Veggies
- Snap Pea Stir Fry Veggies
- Red Potatoes
- Sweet Potatoes
Yes, I sometimes get my fruit it by making smoothies.
- 100% Juices (Cranberry, Grape, Apple, etc)
- What’s on Sale Juices (Sometimes we find some good deals)
- Simply Limeade/Lemonade
- Almond Milk
- Cheese (Cheddar mainly for chili and potatoes)
We've cut down the amount of grains we usually eat and it's worked out well for us.
- Brown Rice
- Whole Grain Bread
- Pasta (Trying to mix it up between regular and the wheat variety)
- Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
- Kashi Go Lean Cereal
- Olive Oil
- Butter (lighten up on that considerably)
- Beans (Black, Red, Pink, Pigeon)
- Soups and Broths
Thoughts on Eating Healthy as a Couple
What are you guys doing to eat better? What has been the hardest change? What has been an easy adjustment for you? How does your shopping list look like? Do you have any ideas or suggestions that could help us a bit more?
Photo Credit: Masahiro Ihara
Very nice! I take it you guys cook a lot?
When I first started work, I usually buy lunch but now 99% of the time I bring lunch. It saves a little money, but more importantly I can control what I eat. We also eat out a lot less these days. The portions are just ridiculous in many restaurants and it’s much easier to eat healthy at home.
Our hardest change was not buying premade stuff like frozen meals. I’ve been doing more “batch” cooking and make ahead meals. Also to save money we’ve been buying more stuff and freezing. Glad to hear someone else cut out soda!
We are doing pretty much the same for about 6 months or so. It started with the idea of loosing weight, but then we decided to just continue get healthier. We now enjoy our food more and spend more time together cooking. Friday or Saturday night is often a time when we cook a real nice supper (sometimes we do it alone for the other to add some romance to it!) and talk for hours. Those are my favorite couple times, and I did lose a 10 pounds or so!
These are some great ideas elle. It’s important in healthy eating with your parter to have the partner on board (just like finances!). It makes things so much easier and you can help each other stay accountable.
A tip on the beans – I’m not sure if you purchased canned beans or not, but dried beans are quite a bit cheaper (6 cups for ~1.25) but do take a considerable amount of time. What I do is soak the beans overnight when they are bought and freeze them. That way I can have beans after 2 hours (for cooking) instead of 10+ (when soaking the same day). You can also freeze them after soaking & cooking and they taste just fine.
I’m trying to eat more primal and eat higher quality food, though it is hard to avoid grain-fed meats around here without paying an exorbitant price. At least it’s not all CAFO.
I agree strongly with avoiding sweets and grains and going for vegetables and clean cuts of meat. Grains aren’t “evil” but unless you want to expand like a blimp, better not to make them a primary stable.