Ever ‘resolved’ to start eating healthy only to have the wheels fall off after a short time?
Well you’re not alone!
There have been plenty of times where I’ve tried (and failed) to make healthy changes in my life.
The good news is it wasn’t your fault your resolution didn’t stick. Pretty much everyone struggles to succeed if they’re relying on willpower.
As Kelly Mc Gonigal Ph.D writes in her book, ‘The Will Power Instinct’ willpower is something we all only have a finite amount of. This is why it can be so difficult to exert self control at times.
Especially when we’re tired. Because our willpower ‘reserves’ are at there lowest at the end of the day.
So what’s the alternative?
In a word. Habits.
By making healthy habits a part of your everyday life you can essentially ‘automate’ daily decisions. And avoid the need for willpower.
This way, eating healthy isn’t something you battle with every meal. It’s on autopilot so healthy choices become effortless. Even enjoyable.
What sort of habits are we talking about?
For me, my weekly shopping habit is the foundation because without it I wouldn’t have lots of veggies in the house. And you can’t eat something that isn’t there.
Cooking for my family on a daily basis is another key. As are getting 8 hours sleep and making sure I eat my meals sitting at the table (no snacking on the go).
It’s different for every person of course.
We don’t all need to follow the exact same habits. The secret is working enough healthy habits into your life so your ‘autopilot’ is steering you in a healthy direction most of the time.
That way you can not only indulge in that Friday night pizza, you can enjoy it completely guilt-free. And without any ill effects.
Chinese Beef & Beans
I’ve never really been excited about green beans. Until now. I’m not exaggerating when I say, halving and roasting the beans transforms them from ‘ho-hum’ to ‘OMG-are-there-any-more-beans’. I’m not kidding. They’re that good. The only thing is halving the beans takes a lot of time, but it makes a difference to the results. The halved beans end up crispier and way more tasty so it’s worth it. But if you’re really pushed, see the ‘short on time’ variation below. I like to serve with cauliflower ‘rice’ (grated raw cauliflower).
enough for: 2
takes: 25 minutes
450g (1lb) green beans, halved lengthwise
450g (1lb) ground (minced) beef
2-6 fresh chillies, chopped
4 tablespoons soy sauce
1 bunch mint, leaves picked (optional)
1. Preheat your oven to 250C (480F). Trim the stalks and discard the bean stalks then halve the beans lengthwise. It’s a bit fiddly but worth it.
2. Toss beans in a little oil and place on a baking tray lined with paper. Bake for 15 minutes (stirring half way through) or until tender and really well browned.
3. Meanwhile, heat a little oil in a wok or frying pan and stir fry the beef and chilli on a really high heat until the beef is well browned.
4. Remove beef from the heat. When the beans are ready, stir in beans, soy sauce and mint (if using). Taste and season with more soy if needed.
short on time – skip halving the beans (they wont be as crispy though) and allow an extra 5 minutes for them to cook in the oven.
vegetarian / vegan – I’d use crumbled firm tofu instead of the beef. Or try tossing in drained cooked white beans. Or stir fry some some mushrooms instead.
more veg – add in any of your favourite stir fry veg to cook after the beef is done. Red bell peppers (capsicum), snow peas, carrots or green onion would all be lovely. Serve with cauliflower ‘rice’.
more complex – toss in some chopped garlic and ginger in with the beef.
tiny person-friendly – either skip or deseed the chilli to keep the heat down (you could add the chilli at the table for any adults).
soy-free – replace soy sauce with coconut aminos or fish sauce (careful, you may not need as much!).
carb lovers – serve with steamed rice or rice noodles cooked according to the packet.