4 Ways to Reward Yourself for Healthy Habits (No Donut in Sight!)

476533427Some days it may seem tough. But your healthy lifestyle, diet and outlook are moving you toward your goals: You might want to build muscle, lose weight, eat more greens or simply maintain your current healthy weight. Maybe you want to get into shape to be able to play with your kids or your grandkids. Or just improve your energy overall.

Whatever your end goal, we all have different methods to help us get there. For example, that new blender may have been purchased with the idea of making green smoothies for 60 days. Or you bought that pricey new thinking you would juice fresh fruits and vegetables for 30 days straight.

But we all don’t succeed, all the time. People tend to get down on themselves when they nit a roadblock or tip the scales in the wrong direction. But I think you should be proud every time you make a healthy food choice. One way to take pride in your accomplishments is to implement a reward system. Remember the gold stars in grade school? Here are four ways to properly reward yourself while still maintaining your healthy lifestyle.

1. Eat Dark Chocolate Bars

In most cases I wouldn’t say reward yourself with food because it could be a slippery slope into giving in and possibly overeating; however, some forms of dark chocolate have lots of nutritional benefits. You’re allowed to enjoy your “junk” food, and not feel guilty because there are some options that contain no junk. One of the best dark chocolate bars I would recommend is the Giddy Yoyo. These bars have several nutritious flavors such as orange, banana, ginger, maca, and spirulina. Every chocolate bar has about five ingredients, which are primarily organic. They even list love and gratitude as ingredients, which makes it so easy to love yourself and have gratitude for the healthy foods you eat, too. The perfect reward, really!

2. Buy New Appliances (Like a High-Performance Blender)

For every pound you lose, or for every day you eat healthy foods, put a dollar in a jar. Once you’ve achieved your goal, count up your money and put your savings toward something supportive of your healthy eating habits, like a high-performance blender, or consider an upgrade on your juicer, pots or pans. It’s a reward that supports your healthy choices and allows you to embrace your healthy lifestyle to the best of your ability. You don’t need high-end food appliances; however, if it’s in your budget, reward yourself.

3. Get Back to Nature

You might purchase a lot of organic fruits, vegetables or meat. (Great decisions!) Reward yourself by visiting the source, where all that food once came from. Spend a day in nature, enjoying the outdoors. Most farmers are open to meet their customers. Shake their hand and make a connection, similar to the connection you make with your food every day. If you’re lucky, the farmer might let you pick some vegetables. You may even find you want to start purchasing your food straight from the farmer you just met. There’s nothing more satisfying then knowing exactly what you’re eating.

4. Go Health Food Shopping

Reward yourself for eating healthy foods by buying more healthy foods. When the weather starts to get warm, the farmers’ markets are perfect places to visit for some of your organic fruits and vegetables. Also, visit your local health stores for ingredients you can’t get from your farmers. If it’s in your budget, reward yourself by upgrading your ingredients as well. Is there a particular extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil you’ve wanted to try? Choosing ingredients that you love can help you enjoy your healthy foods even more. Try exotic spices and herbs; they will keep you on track for your goals and allow you to splurge a little, too.

On the road to your success, you’ve made lots of great food choices, but what’s in it for you? Well, just look at yourself. Are you healthy and happy, feeling strong and vibrant? You are really your own reward. So keep those rewards in line and forget the cheesecake; it will make it that much easier to continue on the path to the happiest, healthiest life possible.

Kramer, M., “Remember to Reward Yourself,” SparkPeople web site; http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/motivation_articles.asp?id=86, last accessed April 22, 2014.