Again, its been a while since my last blog post... but I've been wanting to post about eating healthy because, although we all have those horrible "binge" moments, for the most part, as a society we're learning to eat less and less healthy and more and more junk.
I am not an expert. But for all of those people who have commented to me "how do you always have something healthy to eat" this is how.
1- ALWAYS COME PREPARED.
Whenever I know I have to be somewhere for more than an hour (and this includes driving time), I pre-pack some snacks. Usually, I over-pack just in case. But I typically have at least one type of fruit, one type of vegetable, and one bag of pretzels/air popped pop-corn/wheat thins. If I know I'll be gone the whole day (which typically means I'll be too sleepy for dinner when I get home), then I'll add a home-made sandwich or salad (with some bread), an extra fruit, and extra veggie, and depending on my mood maybe some extra pretzels.
2- ALWAYS HAVE FRESH FRUIT AND VEGGIES IN THE FRIDGE.
I realize that when I start to get those "binge" cravings for something not quite healthy its usually after the fridge only has run out of fruit options... and all that is left is a rotting apple, orange, and a grapefruit from three weeks ago that doesn't seem safe to eat. And I'm talking about fruits, not veggies so much. Maybe fruits fulfill any sugar cravings because of the fructose, but if there are yummy fresh fruits as an option, I rarely want junk.
3- Pre-cut veggies and have some dip.
Sometimes, I want to snack on something but I'm too lazy to prep it. I don't buy baby carrots, but cut my own carrot sticks. I don't buy pre-sliced mushrooms, or chopped broccoli. On the whole, I believe and I may be wrong, that pre-cut veggies tend to go bad faster. Plus, they taste better, at least to me, when I cut them myself. Anyhow.... Sometimes, I know I'm in a snacking mood (like today!) and in an hour or so, I'm going to want to attack the fridge, but am too lazy to do so. So, I'll just cut up enough veggies for two days worth of snacking, seal it in some Tupperware, and then pull it out when I'm ready to attack.
4- Always have a water bottle.
I think we tend to know this by now.... but always have a water bottle (or if you're at home, a tall glass) at hand. I am always drinking water, and I'm not going to list all of the benefits of drinking water, but overall, water makes me feel better. Energized, light, and more conscious of my food intake. Here is a WEBMD's 6 Reasons to drink more water.
5- Friends (lol, and family) make a difference...
If you eat junk with your friends, you're eating junk. If you eat healthy, you eat healthy. I'm not saying that you should never go out for dessert (I mean those cupcakes yesterday were great!). Overall, though, every time you hang out shouldn't be for junk. For example, whenever I visit of friend of mine, she always offers water/juice/tea and popcorn. So, I never regret going to her place (yes, I know you know who you are ^____^). Then there are some friends who just encourage not as healthy eating habits, (that may be me I'm talking about!) where you're always eating candy and more candy and more candy when you're together. For example, because I usually eat healthy during the weekdays, when people come over or we go out, I want to just loosen up a little. However, if you have these types of sessions multiple times a week, you've just splurged on junk 4/7 days... and you've entered into a cycle of need. Once you get junk into your system at large doses, you literally need to detox it to get it out... I guess in this case, just be upfront with your friends and family and be like "do you have anything healthier?" or if you don't want to sound rude by implying that their food isn't healthy, you can just ask for some fresh fruit/veggies.
6- We pick up habits... and quirks
Okay. So, sometimes I used to get so sad that my parents NEVER let us eat junk as a kid. So, we'd sneak behind their backs just to eat some junk food. This turned into a cycle of binge eating. So, maybe for some parents, find alternatives to "NO!". But, this is about something else. My dad used to walk into the kitchen, open the fridge, and grab a head of lettuce. He literally would just eat lettuce like it was a bag of chips. Now, you may think that is weird, you may never have seen someone do that before, but I can tell you, that seeing that happen as a kid, makes me crave lettuce every once in a while. I will do the same, I'll go into the fridge and grab some lettuce. This also happened with yogurt (homemade), grapefruits (which both seem a bit more normal), and carrots. So, I'm guessing that kids, to some extent, pick up their parents habits. Hopefully, your parents were pretty healthy, so you picked up some good eating/cooking habits. But if not, maybe start a new cycle with your kids.
7- Exercise is a deterrent for junk.
Well, one it depends on what you consider "junk," but I typically will avoid foods that make me feel extremely lethargic, "food-coma" "itis" inducing, situations. So, usually fried (and breaded) food isn't an option for me. This is because exercise is a central part of my life... I use it to reduce stress, to get rid of migraines, and to just feel good about myself. Without exercise, I literally can't function. On top of that, no exercise + junk makes me feel like a zombie, rotting on the ground, too lazy to function....
8- Make your own stuff
When I first lived on my own, I used to buy frozen meals, frozen dough, anything that was just easier to make. The problem with that is you are never really conscious of what your food contains. For example, biscuits. When you buy them, you just think, "oh dough".... but when you make them at home and you scoop tons and tons of butter and flower into the mixture, you start to recognize the reasons why you should exceed the recommended serving size. On the other hand, pre-packaged meals really taught me to portion my meals more effectively. So now, although I don't really buy pre-packaged meals, I am a lot better at portioning my homemade meals into healthy servings.
9- Buy the big packages, serve in smaller ones.
Its a rip off buying things that are packages in "100 calorie bags".... or in individual servings. Seriously, a giant bag of pretzels can cost roughly $2... an individual sized one (which is probably one-fourth or one-fifth of the size of the larger bag typically costs $1. Its a rip off. Just buy the bigger package, and give yourself the serving size and no more. It took me a few years to get used to the process of only eating recommended serving sizes as opposed to a whole bag... and sometimes, I can slip up. But for the most part, just get the snack sized baggies or containers, and just fill it up with your snacks.
10- FIND OUT HOW TO CONTROL YOURSELF
Everyone is different... but you need to find out the best method that keeps you on top of your eating game. If stress makes you eat, then try and find ways to relax yourself before attacking that family sized bag of Doritos.
You could always do what my mom used to do when we were kids... she bought a container with a lock, and would only give us our "snacks" in the morning before school. Otherwise, during the day, we had no option...
If you're worried about your self control, make sure a friend, a sibling, a spouse, or a parent (ect) can monitor what you eat. Not aggressively, but so that you never have to hide what you eat or how much you eat. One thing that works for me, is if I buy candy (and I am ADDICTED TO CANDY) I will leave in the pantry for anyone to have access to it, just to make sure I don't eat the whole bag in one sitting. So, when the bag suddenly finishes, and someone says to me "where'd all the jelly bellies go?" I basically have the walk of shame and avoid eating the whole bag in a day or two. And because I love having "goals," I typically have a goal that if I have candy, I have to make the bag last a whole week... then I won't feel guilty. A twisted sense of logic, maybe.
Anyway, thats it... those are my suggestions...
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3 years ago