A friend asked me
“Do you have to stop yourself from having chocolate bars and other snacky stuff? Do you have to force yourself to eat the way you do?”
The short answer is – no, but I do make it easy on myself to eat the good stuff and avoid the temptation of other foods.
My daily foods are vegetables, fruit, legumes, wholegrains, nuts, yoghurt and so on. I don’t have sweet stuff or junk foods every day and I try to restrict alcohol to just a few days a week. This is my normal way of eating.
And I’m not living in a constant state of dietary denial. I enjoy chocolate, cake, ice-cream and a glass of wine or two, but I also genuinely love brocolli, lentils, peaches, salad and the other foods I eat. I eat these foods because I want to live a long and healthy life, but they also make me feel a whole lot better NOW.
But I do actively try to make it as easy as possible for me to eat well.
1. I keep healthy foods in the house
Our weekly shopping list includes fruit, vegetables, cheese, yoghurt (when I don’t make my own- which is surprisingly easy if you own a homemade yogurt maker), bread, tofu, legumes and eggs. These foods are the backbone of my diet and having them in the house means there’s always something good to eat.
What I don’t buy are chips, chocolate, lollies and biscuits. These are not regular foods in our shopping trolley or our house. If either of us want something like this, we have to go out and buy it. While the shop is only 10 minutes walk away and is open until 9pm every day, it’s amazing how rarely I do go and buy something extra.
2. I buy the fruit and veg I like
I can’t stand paw paw and most apples, while kiwi fruit leave me cold. These are really healthy foods. But I don’t like them, so I don’t buy them. While I try to eat well, I’m not a nutritional martyr.
However, I do LOVE mangoes, peaches, beetroot, asparagus, cherries, lychees, blueberries, sugar snap peas – so these are the foods I buy. I’d prefer to spend my money on good quality fruit and veg, than junk food, biscuits and chips.
3. I concentrate on the foods I should be eating
When it comes to making a decision about a meal, I concentrate on what I should be eating. Every day I aim to eat at least
- 2 pieces of fruit
- 6 – 7 serves of vegetables
- 3 different kinds of protein
- some nuts, seeds or avocado
By the time I’ve eaten all that, there simply isn’t room for a lot of extras.
4. I categorise foods as “every day” and “occasional”
I do enjoy a slice of good cake or some ice-cream. However, I categorise these as occasional foods. They are not foods I eat every day. Instead there something I’m more likely to have on the weekend, if out for dinner, or having coffee with a friend.
5. I buy smaller quantities of good quality treats
When I do buy ice-cream, chocolate or cake, I’m more likely to buy a small amount of really good quality stuff. I don’t look for bumper bargains or “value packs”. Instead I’ll go for the expensive luxury chocolate and ice-cream, or a fantastic dessert.
I find these small, rich treats immensely satisfying and there are no leftovers.
So that’s what I do. What about you – what strategies have you found make it easier for you to eat well?