Do you crave junk food? Do you mindlessly grab a snack because you are bored or need a mental break from work/bills? Do you find yourself overeating between meals? Are you hungry between meals? Here are some easy ways to change things up and make healthier food choices:
1. Prepare easy to reach healthy snacks and put them front and center in your refrigerator or pantry. For example, fill a small bowl with water and put baby carrots or sticks of celery in it, uncovered, on the main shelf of your refrigerator or put a colander filled with grapes on a central shelf so it is the first thing you see when you open the door.
2. When you take a break from work or school and head to the cupboard for a snack, ask yourself, "Am I really hungry or bored?" Sometimes just being aware of your habit gives you pause and reminds you to make a healthier choice.
3. When feeling the desire to eat between meals, take 5 swallows of water first. This will not only keep you hydrated but also remind you to ask the question in #2.
4. You've heard it a million times: "Don't drink sugary drinks at meals". People generally don't think liquids have calories so they drink without thinking. Instead, try a drop of lemon essential oil in a glass of water or put slices of a strawberry or cucumber and a sprig of mint in a glass of water to get a little flavor, some vitamins, and your quota of water for the day.
5. Put junk food and unhealthy snacks out of sight and out of easy reach.
6. When making a snack, put a portion into a bowl and put the large bag of pretzels, nuts, cereal, granola, chips, trail mix away. It is too easy to lose track of how much
you are eating and polish off a large amount without thinking.
7. Try distraction. Chew on a piece of sugarless gum or suck on a sugar-free hard candy. Call a friend, do a yoga pose, read, journal, take a walk.
8. Put a sticky note on your fridge with a reminder to try one of the above suggestions first.
9. Portion size. If you are craving something sweet, eat 1 chocolate truffle instead of 5. It is OK to indulge every once in a while. Better that than feel deprived, guilty, or punished
10. When making a meal, balance carbohydrates, fats and proteins to stay fuller longer. You likely will not feel hungry between meals or be tempted to snack. Ideas: yogurt (protein and fat) paired with granola (fat and carbohydrate) and fruit (carbohydrate) for breakfast; baked or grilled chicken breast sandwich on whole wheat bread with lettuce, tomato, mayo (protein, carbohydrate, fat) with a side of baby carrots for lunch(carbohydrate, vitamins, & fiber); or baked fish filet (protein) with rice (carbohydrate) or better yet quinoa (carbohydrate, protein, & fiber) and salad with dressing ( carbohydrate and fat) for dinner