With the epidemic the United States currently faces of obesity, there is a growing focus around what it takes to be healthy and keep weight at a normal level. However, society makes it difficult. With tempting fast food restaurants, convenient unhealthy frozen meals and candy at every corner of the grocery store, the temptation for children and families to keep on a healthy mindset and on track for success can be difficult. When the enticement of sugary and salty snacks hits day after day, planning becomes crucial.
Planning your meals can help you become more conscious about your intake and help you and your family stay on better track for healthy success. Here are a few tips to get you started.
• Simplify your meals – When cooking becomes complicated it also becomes undesirable for many people who are used to the convenience of most unhealthy options. Instead, keep your meals as simple as possible. This will make them easier to stick to and help you stay on course.
• Don’t go cold turkey – For many people, going cold turkey from the foods they are used to can send their body into shock. This shock can cause them to ultimately crave unhealthy options. If you are used to eating salty or sugary foods, you will undoubtedly fall victim to cravings. By going completely off course, when you finally do give in to your cravings, you will become more likely to binge eat and make your unhealthy appetite even more detrimental to your overall health. Instead, start your meal planning slowly and schedule in cheat meals to help curb cravings and avoid binging.
• Celebrate each healthy choice – Healthy decisions can be difficult even for the most well trained athletes. When you eat healthily for a few days in a row, be proud of yourself and congratulate your accomplishments. When you take pride in the small accomplishments, you will feel better all-around for the larger accomplishments which will help you to stay focused and see results faster. On the same token, do not beat yourself up for negative decisions. Instead, continue to focus on your end goal and move forward without looking back too frequently.
• Plan portions in your meals – Portion control is just as important as what you are eating. Plan how much of each item you will eat and avoid going back for seconds whenever possible. This will help you to stay moderate in your diet and not overindulge, good or bad. Making portion control a habit early on will help your weight loss goals significantly.
• Stay well-hydrated –Many people consider their thirst hunger. When you are dehydrated you feel lethargic and it can be extremely difficult to tell if you are lacking calories or if you are lacking simple hydration through water. If hunger strikes at a time outside of when you planned to eat, drink a cup of water and see if your hunger dissipates. If not, eat a small, healthy snack to hold you over until your next meal.
• Make your food look good too – Many people eat with their eyes. When the food on your plate is visually appealing, you are more inclined to eat slowly. Eating slowly ultimately leads to eating less because your brain has more of a chance to know that your stomach is full. Make your plate look beautiful when you serve up your meal and you will naturally eat less without feeling like you are eating smaller portions.
As you get started on your health meal plan, use these tips to transform the way you think of dieting, one step at a time.
– Joyce Del Rosario