Eating healthier can be tough, but that task becomes extremely difficult when temptations from within the kitchen seem to beckon you. Squash those diet-breakers with these five strategies recommended by top personal trainers and health coaches to help you stay focused on your goals ahead.
1. Begin at the Grocery Store
Your grocery cart is the first point of entrance for tempting foods to reach your home. If these foods don’t make it into your kitchen, they’ll have a much more difficult time tempting you. So before shopping, it’s best to create a listof all the items you’ll need including snacks. This requires a few minutes of planning each week; however, the amount of time you invest now will save you the effort and disappointment in the long run with having to re-start another program. Keep in mind that your list is only effective if you stick to it. Unplanned purchases can prove disastrous, so minimize them by buying only what is on your list and making sure that you don’t shop while hungry.
2. Put Your Pantry on the Program
Troublesome foods exert much less temptation power when they aren’t within your immediate reach. Remember the saying, “Out of sight, out of mind”? Give away or discard all the foods that will make it more difficult for you to stick to your plan. If you have to go to the store to buy a tempting food, you will have extra time to consciously think about whether this is something that’s really important to you or just a momentary whim. Once the tempting foods are out of your pantry, you’ll have an opportunity to reorganize items in a way that puts the healthy stuff up front, visible and within easy reach.
3. Shrink Your Dishes
Oversized glasses, bowls and plates tend to make us feel like we need to fill up the entire space with food or drink. This translates into consuming much more than we originally planned. We often eat first with our eyes, so to speak, and then with our stomachs—meaning that if a meal appears small at first glance because it’s served in a larger plate, chances are we’ll likely eat more to feel satisfied. By choosing smaller-sized dishes, your meals will naturally appear larger and you won’t feel slighted in portion size.
4. Plan It Out
Planning is key to making many healthy changes. Whether it’s creating a grocery list, organizing your pantry or having dishes that make your meal look satisfying, planning helps you prepare in advance to be successful in your endeavors. A great way to plan ahead is to have healthy snacks ready to go. Whether its individual containers of light yogurt, cut up fruits and veggies, or snack-sized bags filled with pre-measured amounts of nuts or whole-wheat pretzels, prepared snacks can serve as important tools to helping you stay on track between meals. They are easily portable and may be brought to work as a great alternative to mid-day vending machine options.
5. Get Out of the Kitchen
Finally, one of the best ways to avoid kitchen temptations is to simply engage in an activity that takes you away from that room in the house. A distraction that takes the focus off the kitchen can help minimize unplanned eating. This could mean engaging in a hobby or craft, reading or even scheduling a little time for physical activity. By participating in other enjoyable activities that benefit you mentally and physically, you’ll likely have the motivation to eat healthier and avoid those kitchen temptations.
By Gina Crome
Gina M. Crome, M.S., M.P.H., R.D.