Eating healthy as a full-time RVer can be challenging. We are constantly on the go (literally) and exposed to many local temptations. Half of the fun of being a nomad is immersing yourself into the local culture and taking in all that a new area has to offer. This includes nice restaurants, food trucks, hole-in-the-wall eateries, Ma & Pop bakeries, breweries, and on and on.
1. Adjust Your Mindset
Work for what you want, and work with what you got. It is really easy to come up with excuses for why you can’t follow through with eating healthy. I’ve heard them all:
“I don’t like vegetables”
“My kitchen is too small”
“My fridge freezes lettuce”
“There is no healthy food in the South” …wait, what?
If you continue to think in terms of can’t, then you never will. Embrace the power of positive thinking. Start being honest with yourself and be clear that you are the only person that controls your decisions. Losing weight isn’t easy. In fact, it is really, really hard at times. But it can be an awesome journey if you embrace the decision to improve your health and don’t hold onto the negatives.
2. Quit Chasing Quick Fixes (Fad Diets)
Now that you are in the action stage, be prepared to spend some time here. Like, the rest of your life. In the world of weight loss, everyone seems to be after a quick-fix. Fad diets are the worst. They often involve severely restricting your caloric intake or restricting entire food groups. This may work for you for a while and you may even have great results initially. But how long can you maintain this lifestyle?
Focus on adding in the good and choosing whole foods. Pay attention to how you feel after you eat certain foods. Fill up on those vegetables, lean protein sources, and healthy carbs and fats. Do some experimenting and find whole foods that you enjoy and that make you feel your best. Repeat those foods and continue to find more of them.
3. Eat-in at Home
Eating in is one of the easiest and most effective ways to clean up your eating instantly! Restaurant food tastes amazing because it is often laced with fats, salts, and sugars. When you combine these flavors together, especially in excess, the results are delicious and hard to resist.
When you cook at home you truly control the content of your meals as well as the quality of ingredients. I encourage you to figure out how many meals you currently eat out per week and put goals into place to scale that number back.
4. Read Food Labels
When scanning a label, check the ingredient list first. If you have a long list of words that you can’t say, and sugar is in the first three ingredients, put it down and run. Next, take a look at the nutritional info. Look at the serving size first so you know what you’re dealing with. Know what your serving size is so that the rest of the numbers are in perspective.
Next, look at overall calories, fat, protein, carbs, fiber, sugar, and sodium. Having a basic knowledge of what these numbers mean will aid in making healthier choices.
5. Food Prep, Food Prep, Food Prep
The first thing I do to food prep actually takes place the day I grocery shop, right in the parking lot of the store. We have a small (dorm-sized), 3.1 cubic foot, Nova Kool in our Sprinter van. In order to strategically cram my refrigerator to its maximum capacity I need to take many items out of its original packaging and transfer to my own packaging.
When cooking, prepare big containers of staple items so that it is available to put meals together quickly throughout the week. It will keep you from reaching for bad choices when you are ravenous. Bulk prep items such as proteins, starches, and vegetables.
6. Heavy up on the Spices
I know what you’re thinking…I want you to bulk prep containers of chicken, rice, and broccoli? Gross! Yeah, chicken, rice, and vegetables on their own are boring. You need to add some flavor to it!
If you are already a home chef and feel comfortable cooking, then you likely have this category down. If you are new to cooking or you don’t enjoy the food you make, chances are, you are under seasoning. Don’t be afraid of herbs, spices, aromatics, and other condiments.
7. Plan Ahead for Experience Meals
When you have travel days or city exploring days planned, get excited for them! When I think about some of our travels around the states, I often think back to food experiences. Having a set experience meal scheduled a week or two in advance will help you stay on track and eat right until then. You have something to look forward to. And while you’re out that day, practice moderation. Split your meals with your partner in crime. Don’t gorge, and you will be proud after practicing some restraint. It may take some practice but you will get used to it.
8. Have a Goal to Motivate
Pick a goal, any goal…except for chasing a number on the scale! Measurements of your success should be measured by how you feel mentally and physically, how your clothes fit, and how your meals satisfy you. The desired number on the scale is arbitrary. Don’t chase a random number and don’t let it dictate your success. Focus on non-scale victories to keep you excited and engaged.
Pick a challenging and exciting, yet realistic, goal to focus on. Your daughter’s wedding in eight months or a deep-sea fishing excursion next summer are a couple of great examples
9. Be Nice to Yourself
Be proud of yourself and give yourself some well-deserved credit. Work with yourself and not against yourself. With an attitude of progress, not perfection, you will have support and non-judgment that is truly transformational. You are beautiful, and you are perfect!