It’s no secret that many of us reach for food when we are hungry, happy, sad, or stressed. Unfortunately, we often reach for the very foods that offer nothing but empty calories, lots of fat, and more sugar than we need in the daily diet. It can take some doing to retrain our eating habits so we reach for foods that offer good carbohydrates for energy and mood elevation, as well as plenty of the vitamins and minerals we need each day. Here are some ideas on how to skip some of the ice cream, chips, and candy and avoid consuming an excessive amount of junk food.
Take inventory of what’s in the kitchen. Look long and hard at what you have in the pantry, in the refrigerator, and in the freezer. Get rid of snacky food that is loaded with empty calories and lots of fat and processed sugar. If the junk food is not in the house and readily available, there is a good chance you will look for something else that is on hand rather than going out and buying something you really don’t need.
Keep plenty of easy and nutritious foods on hand. Once you have cleared your home of the candy bars and frozen confections, stock up on snacks that will address that need for something sweet and salty, but that also offers some nutrition and possibly the kind of fats that are better for you. Keep small containers of celery and carrot sticks in the fridge. Chilled apples, oranges, and pears are a great way to enjoy a satisfying crunch while also calming the urge for something sweet. Get an ice cube tray and make small frozen treats using fruit juice. Nuts, especially offerings like walnuts, pecans, and cashews, are excellent for a quick snack. For a touch of something sweet and creamy, try a little yogurt with some cut fruit, maybe strawberries and bananas.
Only snack every other time. Instead of running to the kitchen whenever the urge to snack hits, alternate snacking with some other type of activity. Go for a quick fifteen-minute walk, ride your bicycle around the block, make a phone call to a friend. Often, the mood to snack will pass, and you’ll be ready to get on with your day.
Don’t dwell on what you’re missing. Obsessing about the cakes, pies, and frozen treats that you are not consuming is counter productive. Instead, see the exploration into alternative snacks that are healthy as a way of expanding your horizons. A positive attitude will help you look forward to these newfound snack options, as well as helping maintain your health.
Tips and Warnings
The fact that you’ve banished traditional snacks from the house does not mean that they are out of your life forever. From time to time, treat yourself to a piece of pie or cake with a little ice cream when you have a night out. As long as they don’t make it home, the possibility of temptation remains limited. Keep the portions within reason, and you’ll do fine.