There’s lots of advice out there on how to stay healthy: drinking green juice, never eating at night, and enrolling for the newest fad workout regimen (sweaty yoga in a 105-degree-Fahrenheit heated room with strangers anyone?!) However, we live in the real world and sometimes reality doesn’t look like the magazine photo shoot we’d like it to. Each one of us is making health-related choices all day long, whether we realize it or not; we don’t always make the best ones. We all struggle with bad habits and cravings – but now there’s a way to do it wisely, without “breaking the bank.”
Keep A Food Journal
It’s surprising how much easier is to change your bad patterns once you recognize them. Once on paper, like when balancing a checkbook, you can balance your food intake throughout the day – not allowing hunger to take over and cause poor choices.
The Morning is for Fat
Some fats are good for you and the best time to consume them is in the AM; they do the heavy work of keeping you feeling hungry for a longer amount of time. Start the day with a full-fat yogurt garnished with granola and berries. Alternatively, one could try a slice of whole grain toast enhanced with cream cheese and a few slices of salmon and cucumber or half an avocado with sea salt for flavor. These all have a good-sized amount of fat, protein and fiber to balance the body’s metabolism.
Every person reacts differently to different foods. If you listen well, you can feel your body telling you which foods make it feel more satisfied and full. Try and create your meals based on those items.
Lunch Like you Want to
Ignoring hunger at midday and eating emergency hold-me-overs are not a good tactic. It’s better to plan ahead and build a snack around the types of food which you usually crave at that time. If you’re always dying for bread at lunch, just make sure that it’s complex carbohydrates you’re using and prepare a dish involving brown rice, whole-grain bread or a sweet potato. If you prefer greens in the afternoon, you can spruce up a salad with nuts, avocado or a small amount of cheese. The body will even digest the vegetables more efficiently with some healthy fats attached to them.
One out of Two isn’t Bad
We all find ourselves snacking, whether in front of the TV or computer screen. When you do, set a visual limit for yourself: once you’ve eaten half of whatever amount of food you’ve got in front of you – stop. It’ll give you some time to digest and contemplate whether you’re still actually hungry.
Don’t try and fool yourself! If you usually yearn for chocolate in the afternoon, the vegetable you brought with you to work just won’t cut it. The key to smart choices is not necessarily abstinence. Plan ahead and bring a few pieces of dark chocolate as a snack, instead of leaving yourself high & dry and hitting the office vending machine. For those who prefer savory or need a bit of crunch during the day – veggies and salsa or bean dip works great and is easily portable.