So instead of going cold-turkey and making me and my family miserable, I turned the nutritious eating pebble into grains of sand I can stomach. Baby steps. I’m not a health expert (obviously), but here are some ways I’ve done better at promoting healthier eating in my household.
1. Annihilate the worst culprits. I picked a few of the worst things we consume to cut out of our diet. These included chips, pop and Ritz crackers. At first, we missed these (especially Ritz crackers—they were almost a staple). However, over time we have missed them less and less. We still aren’t perfect, but we’ve made a step in the right direction...which makes it easier to take the next step...and then the next.
2. Replace Junk with Spunk. Sugar and Fat make you hungrier (you’ll want to graze like a cow). Vegetables, fruits, and whole grains give you more spunk, because they are more filling than junk.
3. Savor your food. This sounds silly, but it’s easy to inhale food. That leads to overeating. Slowing down gives your body time to digest food and tell you it’s full. One friend cuts her meal in half when she eats out to keep from overeating (take the other half home for another day...or for hungry teenagers). Savoring food brings more joy. Have dessert, but limit yourself and you will find that each bite is heavenly. Even vegetables are exciting when you savor them. I never knew carrots had so many flavors until I forced myself to eat them for my midmorning snack.
4. Stay on schedule. Don’t skip meals. Limit snacks to certain times of day, and don’t eat too close to bedtime (your body won’t have time to burn it off). Having a routine will help resist impulse eating which will only make you gain weight and have gloomy thoughts.
5. Watch Portion Sizes. Read nutrition labels for an idea of what a correct serving size is. If you’ve ever seen comedian Brian Regan talk about serving sizes...it’s a riot. He tells how the serving size for Fig Newtons is 2 cookies. He then says that's CRAZY! He eats them by the SLEEVE. I think a lot of us overeat if we never look at serving size labels.
6. Take charge of your cravings. Sometimes boredom can cause you to overeat. So keep yourself busy and break routines that cause you to graze-eat. Drink enough water. Many times, we mistake hunger for thirst. When you feel hungry (and it’s not your normal time to eat/snack), drink water and force yourself to wait a half hour. Find something to do (not in the kitchen), and your hunger will disappear.
Step by step...grain by grain, these are ways I’ve tried to improve our diet. Do you have any other tips that work for you and your family? We would love to hear them.