When it comes to not just maintaining a diet, but changing your eating habits in the long-term, there are few things as important as understanding your impulses and doing what you can to fight them. One of the best ways is to simply make unhealthier foods less available by taking a closer look at what you’re stocking in the pantry and the fridge. Here, we’re going to show how to make it much easier to ensure you always stay well stocked in the good and avoid the bad.
Make a meal plan
Healthy meals are best planned in advance. While you’re out and about, shopping, it’s all easy for the convenience of picking up a processed meal to take over. Cut down the time you spend shopping, and make sure that you have nutritional meals planned out in advance so that the trip is spent picking up what you already know that you want. There is a range of meal planning websites that can help you find meals based on the ingredients you want to buy, what your health goals are and even how much of a shopping budget that you have. Meal plans also help you make the most efficient use of all the ingredients available by finding meals that use the same components, so you avoid wasting them instead.
Quickly judge those foods
If you’re out shopping and you want to know just how good it is for you, you can always spend time deciphering the labels on them. However, a much more efficient way is to simply scan the barcode. Some of the latest healthy eating apps let you scan foods to quickly and helpfully show the nutritional information in much clearer detail, showing how many calories are in a serving, as well as graphs to show how much fat, protein, and carbs it has compared to one another. Even if you’re buying a snack, you can quickly see whether or not it fits in with your healthy eating habits.
Keep the supply coming
There are a few health food staples you should always keep in the home that can help quickly serve as the basis of a healthy meal. Chicken, seafood, quinoa, Greek yogurt, leafy greens and avocados are just some examples of what you should always have in stock. However, they’re not always easy to acquire fresh in store but the online world is here to help. With sites that are able to offer even the freshest seafood delivery, you can make it much easier to source harder-to-find healthy foods, experiment with your recipes, and ensure you always have the building blocks of a healthy meal on hand. If you have fresh salmon in the freezer, it’s much easier to whip up some brown rice to eat with it instead of spending on a takeout.
Treat yourself responsibly
One of the biggest mistakes people make when approaching healthy eating is that they think they have to cut out absolutely everything that’s superfluous. However, as subject as we are to human nature, we’re going to crave a treat now and then. If you want a dessert after dinner or something sweet to eat on a special occasion, it’s easier than ever to do it with recipes for healthy alternatives like gluten-free, sugar-free banana bread widely available on the internet. Avoid rewarding yourself with unhealthy foods, but instead find those few tasty, healthy treats you can gladly keep coming back to. Your cravings for those other treats are soon going to fade and you’re going to look forward to your new replacement treats, instead.
Keep snacks handy and healthy
Snacking is a problem. If you’re able to cut it out of your life, then you should do so. However, if you’re rushed or have a busy day, you might not have time to sit down to a real meal and snacks can stop you from feeling starved by the time that dinner comes around. Instead of bread or chocolate or other super unhealthy snacks, you should instead look at low mass, high volume foods like popcorn. These foods are safe enough to eat in larger quantities, helping you maintain your appetite, but don’t come with as many calories as you might suspect, so they won’t throw off your daily nutrition goals quite so hard.
Handle those cravings
Keeping healthier snacks on hand is one way to beat cravings, but there are plenty of other ways to do it, too. If you simply try to ignore them, it’s easy to buckle and give into something you should be trying to avoid. For instance, avoid going to the store for smaller shops as much as possible and try to get everything you need in one big shop. Stores are designed to appeal to cravings, with the sweetest treats often positioned closest to the checkout area so it’s easy to pick up something “extra” every time you visit them. Remember to drink plenty of water, too. Staying hydrated helps keep your appetite even.
Take time with your food
The long-term goal is to keep snacking and grazing on smaller foods to a minimum. You should be trying to eat only the meals you have set out for the day and one of the best ways to do that is to practice mindful eating. This means sitting down at the table, not the TV or computer screen, with your food and taking your time with it. Appreciate the taste, take smaller bites, chew more thoroughly, and eat at a slower pace. It helps to fill you up much sooner and can help you appreciate the subtler tastes of healthier foods so that they feel much more flavorful and stop you from going back to unhealthy alternatives.
When you have better snacks available, can easily source the staples of nutritional meals, and avoid unnecessary shopping, not only is it easier to eat healthier but it can also help you save a lot of the money you spend on buying takeout and processed meals