It’s pretty simple: You are what you eat!
For a lot of people, making healthy eating a habit is a huge challenge. After all, a great deal of the processed garbage that is sold as food in the grocery stores is not exactly good for the body. Things are engineered for convenience, and to appeal to our taste buds, which have been programmed to expect excessive amounts of sugar, salt and fat. And then, when we don’t have those things — particularly sugar — we crave them to the point of headaches and crankiness. It’s an addiction, and it must be broken.
Unfortunately, like all addictions, breaking a processed food habit can be difficult. It requires making a commitment, and really, it should be a commitment by every person in the family. In a lot of cases, though, they’ll fight you on it.
“I just can’t seem to stick to a diet,” I hear all the time. There’s all kinds of junk in the house for the kids. My husband eats ice cream in front of me. The chips are calling to me. I just have two pops a day, while I used to have four.
The harsh reality is this: If you are truly going to be making a change, that stuff shouldn’t really be in your house at all.
Don’t get me wrong, you can and SHOULD make room in your life for treats, but they should be just that — treats. Don’t eat ice cream in front of the TV every night, while you’re zon- ing out to whatever’s on the screen and not really enjoying it anyway. Instead, make plans to go out as a family, perhaps on Friday after school or on Sunday before you hit the grocery store. Try someplace new, like Blend, where you can choose from a variety of frozen yogurts and yummy toppings, and you can sit together and enjoy your treat AND your family. Make it something to look forward to.
But, of course, we snack at home too. Just the word, “snack,” makes one think of the crinkle of packaging, a salty crunch or something sweet. That’s where we need to change our thinking, and our habits, and it’s hard because we want what we want, and what we “should” have generally doesn’t line up.
Not long ago, I realized my sons and I were falling into “snack attack” mode way too often. As far as the boys go, they want to snack so much right after school that it was making them not want to eat dinner.
One of the first things I started doing was making sure there are plenty of “any time” snacks that the boys can reach easily. I keep a dish of cut-up vegetables and fruits in the fridge, and there’s usually some hummus too. I try to keep things like low-fat string cheese and Greek yogurt around, and healthy cereals, and we have occasional treats like natural tortilla chips and salsa, whole grain crackers with cheddar cheese, and popcorn, which I pop in our machine with coconut oil, sea salt and coarse pepper.
Don’t get me wrong, the kids still enjoy junk. But the candy and other goodies are tucked far back in a high cupboard, and it’s not an every day thing. I think they appreciate it a little more now if they are allowed to have a junky treat, or a pop. Stopping for a Happy Meal has once again become a “yay!” moment rather than something that is just expected. A Shamrock shake makes it a day to remember.
The same goes for grown-ups. I have a weakness for a bacon cheeseburger and a beer, but eating like that every day will not get me any closer to my wellness goals. Looking forward to it for a week or two makes it that much better when I do get to have it.
If you’re serious about changing the