I inquired with my Facebook and blog readers on any topics they are interested in for the new year. One of my readers (thanks, mom!) requested the following:
To help regular people with bad food choices gradually move to healthier eating.
I do consider myself a regular person (others may disagree) but I think what she means is someone that wants to move towards healthier food choices and she sees me as a person that has that pretty dialed in.
Most things we do as humans are developed and lead to habits. The good news is you can develop new habits that might be better for you than older habits.
It seems when people make too big of changes at one time they don’t stick to it as it becomes overwhelming and may lead to failure. I like to suggest incorporating small changes that lead to bigger shifts and new habits. A practice I like to recommend is:
Adding in more nutritious choices and at some point they crowd out the not so nutritious choices or “add in the positive, crowd out the negative!”
An example of this was after my bike ride I was so hungry as I didn’t bring enough food (more on this in a minute). Since my blood sugar was low if there was not so nutritious options available in the house (such as chips) I might have gone to those to satisfy my hunger but instead I grabbed edamame (soy beans) and sprinkled them with sea salt to satisfy my salt craving. After my lunch of a small salad and edamame I wanted something sweet so I ate some raisins and nuts (a little P&J).
Another trick that I mentioned above is to always have nutritious snacks with you. When you are on the go and feel your blood sugar drop and hunger pains set in you can grab the healthy snack you have with you instead of going through a drive through or stopping into a convenience store to buy something not as nutritious. Here’s some on-the-go options:
- Fresh or dried fruit
- Fruit/nut bars
- Kale chips
- Smoothie (throw in a lunch cooler on the go!)
An easy way to incorporate a new healthy habit into your day is by starting the day out with a glass of water. You can also make this a practice to drink a glass of water before a meal. I usually do this before bed too, however be prepared for a late night bathroom break!
I recently heard another great suggestion of incorporating healthy foods that have some sweetness to them to meals to help curb sugar/sweet cravings. An example is adding raisins to salads or if you like a starch with your meal try adding in squash or sweet potatoes.
I also use a lot of spices such as cinnamon (balances blood sugar), cumin (aids in digestion) and red pepper flakes (stimulate metabolism).
If you find you usually buy the same fruits and vegetables, look around the produce department and try something new! With the Internet at our disposal it is easy to search for suggestions and recipes on using the new produce item.
When you are thinking about the meals you are going to prepare, does it have a lot of color? If not consider what you could add in to bring color to the dish which usually means nutrients! Throwing in spinach to most dishes is a quick way to add in color and nutrients!
Try logging your meals for a couple of days. It doesn’t have to be anything detailed or fancy. Then take time to review it and consider what you could do for each meal to increase the nutritional content and try it the next time. I try to view food as fuel and focus on foods that make me thrive. Before you eat think about if that food is going to make you feel energetic or lethargic.
What are your tips and tricks for adding in more nutritious choices to help crowd out the not so nutritious choices? How do you add in the positive to crowd out the negative?