When it comes to food, I’m a creature of comfort. I admit it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not boring, I just appreciate the foods and places I know and love, and tend to be loyal to them. If I like a Japanese restaurant, I have no problem going back to that same restaurant every time I want Japanese. Similarly, if I know that certain foods are easy to make and are healthy, I have no problem eating them day after day, week after week. Granted, when it comes to indulging, I do my fair share. On weekends, I have my wine and my cake (and eat it too!), and I have no problem indulging in a few extra calories or extra grams of fat. That’s what my weekends are for.
In reality, if you are a healthy eater 80 percent of the time, you can easily have your “unhealthy” indulgences the other 20 percent of the time. How do you make this work for you? Here are a few tips:
1. Become a Loyalist
Basically, if you can find healthy foods that you enjoy and can eat on a somewhat repetitive basis, you are golden. I don’t have time to be too creative, so I have found the things I love to eat at each time of the day and that is what I eat. It takes away the guessing game of what is good and what is bad and it saves me time in preparing every meal. If you are a person who gets bored easily, this might not be for you … but you have 7 other tips to help!
2. Schedule in Your Snacks
I can’t repeat enough how important it is to eat 5 to 6 small meals a day. If you spread your meals too far apart, you will inevitably be over-hungry, tempting you to over-eat when you finally do get the chance to chow down.
3. Keep It Balanced
Every time you eat, try to make sure you have some carbs, protein, and fat as part of the meal/snack. Keep the proportions of each to a healthy amount. This will keep you more satisfied and will prevent you from getting too hungry too quickly.
4. Be Goal-Oriented
Yeah, you are having a hard week, but try not to let food become your therapy. Instead, look forward to the designated treat time when you can indulge. If that is a Thursday night, a Friday night, a Sunday brunch, or whatever, use that as a goal.
5. Prepare Ahead
Every Sunday night I make a big batch of something that is healthy so that I have it for the rest of the week for dinner. This allows me to be lazy when I get home from work, at the time I least want to cook or think about what I should make.
6. Drink Your Water
You have heard it before—drink a lot of water. Why? It keeps you hydrated, which is important in a lot of ways, and even more importantly, it helps you stomach from feeling empty.
7. Eat Your Greens
Just like number six, eating salad provides a lot of benefits. You can never eat enough vegetables. Really. Forget the 5 to 7 servings a day and just go hog wild on the veggies. First off, they provide a ton of nutrients (vitamins and minerals). Second, they are extremely low in calories. Third, they provide a lot of good fiber. And lastly, they are very filling. Have I made my case?
8. Listen to Your Body
Okay so I know in number four I tell you to be goal-oriented about when you can indulge. That said, if you are desperately wanting to eat a piece of chocolate on your healthy day, do so. Personally, every night I have an 1/8 of a serving of 85 percent dark chocolate. That little taste of chocolate at the end of the night is very gratifying. Find a way to monitor how desperate you really feel. If it is something you just will never put out of your mind, then just eat it. Don’t eat the whole chocolate bar, just have a little bit and see how you feel. A tiny bit might be enough to get you over the hump.