Most of us try to eat healthy and, kudos to you for making the effort! Trying to eat healthy can be difficult; especially when you’re attempting to just "get on the wagon”.
In this post, I’m not going to tell you what specific foods you need to eat to be healthy. I think we all know (generally speaking) what foods are good and what foods are bad. For example: McDonald’s Big Mac with super-sized fries and a milkshake = bad; steamed asparagus with wild rice and grilled chicken = good.
Simple concept. But…not always easy to follow through with. Am I right?
I want to talk about those times that cause us the most trouble… the times we know what we should do; what we really want to do; but we are just too freaking hungry to do the ‘right’ thing.
On the way home from work
You’re on your way home; physically tired; mentally exhausted. Now, ‘What to cook?’ says your brain. Your first thought is, ‘Why don’t I just stop off and pick up some food, but not fast food’ [you know better than that.] But…[you start to rationalize] if I buy food at a grocery store - like a cooked chicken or a ‘healthy’ frozen lasagna - that still counts as home cooking right?
At home after work
You’ve survived another day; still exhausted but managed not to pick up food on the way home. You are starving! There’s got to be something here to cook. You open the cupboard [munch on a few crackers while you look]; you look in the freezer [take a scoop or two out of the ice cream bucket while you’re poking around]; you look in the refrigerator [chomp on a few pepperoni sticks - protein is good right?]. Before you’ve even decided what to cook, you have just consumed the caloric requirement of your entire dinner!
After a workout
You just worked out. You mentally start to count the calories you “burned”. You know you’re right… the machine told you so. You feel like a rockstar -- and so you should! And now, your stomach is telling you that it’s time to eat like a king. You believe all of your efforts need to be rewarded; that it’s ‘OK’ to eat a little less healthy after all of the hard work you just put in.
Night time munchies
You’ve just returned home from an evening out with the girls, or boys, or both -- you know what I am saying -- adult friends/family funtime. You’re tired, but hungry. You inhibitions may be lowered due to the contents of your chosen beverage. You want junk. You crave junk. And you need food now!!
How can we handle these situations?
Plan your meals.
Not just in your head - write them down and post it on the fridge. Each morning, take a look at your list, choose a meal option, and take out and foods that you need to defrost. This eliminates any frantic thoughts after work, or the mindless chomping while you look for inspiration in your cupboards.
Sip something awesome while preparing foods.
It going to take some time to prepare the foods - the Jetson's conveyor belt of food did not come to fruition and, we now know that putting a frozen something in the microwave is not the best choice. Curb that feeling of starvation with a satisfying drink -- not a milkshake :). Try to choose something that is good for you, like water (I love sparkling water), or any kind of herbal tea.
Prepare yourself for snack time. Think about what you LOVE when you want to snack and find a comparable alternative. Try yogurt instead of ice cream, try hummus and vegetable sticks or pita instead of chips. Have your chosen snack on-hand all of the time. 'Come on!' (I can hear you saying) 'Hummus and pita instead of chips?!?' I know, I know it’s not the exact same - but I can assure you, your body will thank you.
If it’s not there, you can’t eat it.
If you really want to live a healthy lifestyle… stop buying crappy foods. It’s really that simple. Sure, there may be a short period where you may mentally (or even physically) crave these foods. That will pass.
Here’s a thought… when it feels like you need to eat the processed junk food; that your body is craving it; I want you to think about the healthy whole foods that you crave. Do you ever need to eat an apple -- you just can’t think about anything else until you get it? Do you ever pull into the quick-stop store at night to pick up broccoli to scarf down the moment you get home? Probably not.
If you would like free read on “discovering why you crave what you do” feel free to download my guide here.