Can Making Healthy Choices Be Easier? 6 Tips to Get You Started
It’s popular to say that making healthy choices is really hard, incredibly difficult, and impossible to sustain.
But is it?
Okay, yeah, in this modern day, when you can get a bag of salty, crunchy chips nearly any flavor under the sun 24 hours a day, it can be.
But that doesn’t mean making healthy choices can’t be a little easier.
Check it out:
- Buy produce that’s in season, because it tastes, so soooo good. I don’t blame you for thinking a pale pink strawberry looks totally flavorless and that a plate of fried chicken is way more appealing. But an in-season, freshly picked strawberry? Especially one from a local market that’s been grown somewhere nearby? Mmmmmm heaven. All seasonal produce, which can most easily be found at farmer’s markets (though many grocery chains are getting in on the act; look for “grown locally” signs popping up), tastes so, so much better than the stuff that was grown 1500 miles away and shipped to your local store. In the fall try roasting winter squashes with olive oil and spices, or making a hearty soup.
- Learn how to properly prepare produce and other whole foods. When I was growing up, green vegetables came in a box. A frozen box. They were then microwaved and often served straight from said box. Needless to say, I didn’t really get on the whole “vegetables are delicious” bandwagon. Now, though? Oh my gosh, my husband and I can eat three heads of broccoli in one sitting. The secret? Knowing how to prepare it. With heartier veggies, you just can’t go wrong with roasting (which is my preferred method for things like broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, winter squash, and sweet potatoes). It leaves veggies tender, sweet and delicious. The internet, and this site, is full of delicious ways to prepare veggies in a way that will leave you begging for more.
- Smell your food/cook foods that smell great. Your nose has quite a bit to say about whether or not a food tastes good to you, so try cooking with really flavorful and smell-iful (ha) foods. Onions and garlic, obviously, are a great place to start, because they smell fantastic and go well with anything. Cooking something sweet rather than savory? Add cinnamon and cloves and ginger to oatmeal and winter squash dishes. Your house will smell amazing and your taste buds will pleading with you to dig in!
- Stop thinking of foods as healthy. According to researcher Dr. Traci Mann, for many people the word “healthy” is strongly associated with food tasting bad or not being filling. If you think healthy food doesn’t taste good, of course you’re not going to eat it! Try re-framing foods you want to add to your diet as “satisfying” or “refreshing.” Anything that doesn’t have the negative implications of the word “healthy.”
Also, Dr. Mann refers to one study in which subjects were given the same granola bar, though some were told it was tasty and some were told it was healthy—those who were told it was healthier felt hungrier after eating it than did those who weren't told it was tasty. That means you may end up eating more than you need if you eat something you deem a health food, so, again, try calling the foods you want to add to your diet something else.
- Be alone with a vegetable Studies have shown that, for kids and adults alike, if you bring out a vegetable dish, alone, with no other choices, when you’re hungry, you’ll eat more of it than in other circumstances. That roasted broccoli I mentioned? Make a big batch of it and sit down at the table with it. Before your meal. Call it an appetizer, then move on to the main course. You can try this with salad, of course, or a veggie-based soup. Anything that allows your first course to be veggie-filled is a step in the right direction.
What aspect of diabetes management do you struggle with most?