Does life get in the way of healthy eating?
How many times have you been told to just “eat better”? As if that’s such an easy thing to do. Sure, you know you should eat more vegetables (shouldn’t everyone?), and you dutifully count your carbs (or can recite the carbs in all of your meals from memory), but the time and effort it takes to “eat better” can make you feel even more stressed. Or bored.
Everywhere you turn, you’re bombarded by images of food—the kind that makes your mouth water, but usually not the kind that’s high-fiber, low-fat, and full of nutrition. Instead of beating yourself up for not eating up to your ideals, take comfort—no one eats right, at least not all the time. If you’re stress-eating, cornered by convenience foods, or just plain tired of the same old menu, you’re not alone. Does this sound like you?
I just want to bury myself in a bag of chips (or donuts).
After a tough day at work or a frenzied day of family activities, comfort food may seem like the best remedy. The wonderful taste and texture of something crunchy or coated in powdered sugar may seem like just the “fix”, especially straight from the container—with your feet up. That indulgence may satisfy your craving for the moment, but after you wipe your greasy fingers or dab the powdered sugar off your shirt, you’ll probably feel worse—mentally and physically.
I don’t know what to make for dinner, so I’ll just microwave this.
Following a healthy meal plan isn’t always easy. How do you find the time to look up recipes, shop for ingredients and whip up the perfect meal? Or when you do cook, do you feel like you’re always making the same five meals? Instead of picking up dinner at a drive-through window or microwaving a frozen meal, focus on keeping meals simple to minimize the planning-ahead-requirement. Start with a simple technique, like oven roasting or grilling, and go from there. If grilling is your thing, drop chicken or fish with an assortment of easy fruits or vegetables (tomatoes, zucchini, parboiled sweet potatoes or pineapple) into a grill basket or onto skewers. You could have that every day of the week and not get bored.
Maybe it’s just me.
Feel as though your life is in a rut with the same activities, responsibilities and boring meals? You may not be aware of how often you’re eating or whether you’re even enjoying it. If you find yourself eating just for the sake of it, take a moment to think about one small aspect of your life you could change. Maybe it’s as simple as starting a new hobby, signing up for a class or doing volunteer work—anything that gets you out of “eating dutifully” and can help infuse some excitement or change into your life.
Change your eating habits
When it seems like too much trouble to eat well, try a few (or all) of these simple changes:
- Don’t buy high-calorie, low nutrition snacks. If they’re not in the house, they can’t tempt you
- Tweak your schedule so you’re busy or having fun at the times you usually feel like snacking
- Put the least-healthy foods on the highest shelves or in the back of the pantry so they’re hard to reach
- Change your route so you can avoid your favorite fast-food restaurants or tempting sidewalk food vendors
- If you eat in front of the TV, turn it off for 10 minutes and take a short walk or call a friend
- Treat yourself at a new restaurant that offers healthy menu items
- Ask your server to leave the bread basket, chips and other extras in the kitchen
- Save time cooking by using pre-washed, pre-sliced vegetables
- Ask your family to help prepare the meal