So much of healthy eating is about adjusting habits. Even though we may know the basics to eating a healthier diet, it’s the implementation that trips many of us up. These seven simple tricks might sound like small potatoes, but they add up to a much healthier relationship with food.
1. Prep Foods Before You’re Hungry
It’s 3pm. You’re starving for a snack, so you open the fridge and stare deep inside. The choices are pretty limited and so is your willpower. You could spend twenty minutes building a super healthy salad, or you could quickly grab that greasy leftover pizza. What do you do? Most of us would opt for the quick-and-easy pizza. But what if your fridge was packed with healthy, quick snacks? Would your choice be different? Probably so! It may seem silly, but a few weekend hours spent prepping foods for later can help keep your diet clean and healthy all week long. Make some hard boiled eggs, pre-chop your favorite veggies, whip up some salads-in-a-jar, make a big batch of your favorite hummus — you get the idea. Stock up on your healthy favorites so they’re the easiest foods to grab.
2. Stash Healthy Foods in Your Sight Line
You know how grocery stores are arranged to encourage you to choose certain items and spend more money? Well, you can use this same approach to encourage health eating at home. Once you’re done prepping some healthy goodies for the week, take them and put them on the top shelf of the fridge — right in your line of sight. Do the same with healthy foods in your pantry. And put a big bowl of fruit out on your countertop. Research shows that keeping unhealthy foods out-of-sight really does help to keep them out of your mind, too. And by making healthier options easy to grab-and-go, you’re setting yourself up for success.
3. Use Smaller Plates
Put away the giant Thanksgiving-sized dinner plates and instead serve up reasonable portions on smaller sized plates and bowls. When sitting down to eat, we judge the volume of food we’re about to consume with our eyes—and we make a decision if it is “enough” or not (regardless of if it actually is calorie-wise) before we ever take a bite. By using smaller dinnerware, the plates and bowls appear fuller, and we’re signaling to our brain that we have an overflowing bounty of goodies, even if it’s a smaller portion than we’d normally eat. Plus, logistically, using smaller dinnerware keeps us from serving up giant portions — they can’t fit!
4. Find Your Healthy Eating Tribe
Eating is rarely a solitary event, so why should making your diet healthier be a lonely venture? By jumping into a healthier diet with friends and family, you’re all setting yourselves up for success thanks to collective support. Can’t convince your junk-food loving family to make the change? Start a healthy eating tribe at your local Anytime Fitness gym. Or embrace the internet and find a virtual tribe of friends who can help support your decision to eat healthier. Reading this blog is great place to start!
5. Skip Diet Foods
It might seem like a good idea to pick up diet this and diet that while stocking up on groceries, but the truth is, most diet foods are actually terrible for you. Packed with nasty chemicals and preservatives, diet foods might be low-calorie and covered with labels guaranteeing your weight loss, but they’re often detrimental to weight loss efforts because they leave you feeling less satisfied. Stick with reasonable portions of the real stuff, and you’ll feel more satisfied, and your body will thank you for fueling it with nutritious food.
6. Remember that Fat Doesn’t Make You Fat
It may seem counterintuitive, and despite the fact that marketing tells you otherwise, fat doesn’t make you fat! In fact, studies have shown that people who eat a diet rich in healthy fats actually are leaner than those who have a low-fat diet. Fats help you feel full and stay feeling fuller longer. Don’t fear the fat! Embrace healthy options like avocados, nuts, and fatty fish to get your fill of healthy fats.
7. Crave a Donut? Drink Water!
Many times, dehydration manifests itself in what feels like cravings for junk food. Next time you’re craving something not-so-good for you, down a glass of water and wait 20 minutes, if you’re still craving the donut/pizza/cookie/ice cream after the waiting period, serve yourself up a reasonable portion (on a small plate!). Many times, your craving will disappear along with your thirst. But if it doesn’t, enjoy your treat without guilt!