By Lauren Denos: 10/21/2014 (Nutrition)

Our environment has more of an effect on us than many realize. Everything around has an influence on us, and when you are making healthy changes in your life, the food you keep around will make a difference between winning and losing. I am sure you have experienced this before. Many people decide they are going to start eating a healthier diet, but then they wind up getting a lot of invitations from people at work to go to lunch, or people in the office are keeping candy around and offering it all the time. If that's not bad enough, junk food is still in the house and eating it becomes more than a “once in a while” thing. What can you do to make this easier on you?

First of all, take inventory of what you have in your house. Get rid of the stuff that is no good for you. Cookies, cakes, other sugary stuff. Pretty much anything with ingredients you can't pronounce. This will automatically reduce the amount of unhealthy foods you eat. You might still have less than optimal foods when you eat out here and there, and those can be seen as a treat. Do your best to make sure they are not everyday occurrences. Fill your house with fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, rice, nuts (raw), and lean healthy meats. If your house is filled with good food, you will eat good food. If we create what we want out of our environment our health becomes so much easier.

What About Eating Out?

If you are someone who does business lunches often, or just gets asked out by your friends all the time, then you know this can put a wrench into your healthy eating. If you only go out with people once a week that might not be a reason to worry, but if you are going out all through the week, then you need to take steps to stay on track.

One thing you can do in this situation is compile a list of restaurants in your area that have delicious and healthy selections. This way you are already in a setting of healthy food. Also, you will be a positive influence on your friends, and they might wind up getting healthier themselves.

If choosing the restaurant is not possible, then choose a healthy option on the menu. Almost anywhere you go, you can get some lean meat and some sort of vegetable or salad.

If you are going out, and you know you will not have the will power order healthier options, then eat something before you go out. It can be a couple boiled eggs, some nuts, some veggies etc. and have a BIG glass of water. This way, when you get to the restaurant, you will not be in extreme hunger mode and, therefore, make better food choices.

When dealing with the friend that always offers you candy, explain to them that you are working on your health and that you need their support. Ask them not to offer you sweets anymore, unless they want to offer you some fruit.

This does not mean giving up everything you enjoy eating. It is simply a way to be more conscious of what you have in your environment and what you would like to change. Some people will say there is no way they are giving up chocolate or coffee or some other favorite food. That is just fine. The goal is not to make you give up everything you like, it is to help you get more of your eating on track so that most of the time you are making healthy choices. You may love chocolate, but can you do without French fries? Great! Then we have made one more healthy choice towards a healthier you! If you love chocolate, when you really want some then go out and get a piece at a chocolate shop. This way it is not in front of you all the time, and thus you don’t overeat it. Standing in line and going to a chocolate store, it is more of an ordeal to get it. That is the point, make the things that are not as good for you harder to access. Willpower is great, but it is better to not have to use it if you can make choices easier for yourself. Keep your temptations and torture low. As your diet becomes healthier and healthier, the cravings are less intense for the bad stuff, too.

What less-than-optimal foods, do you have in your kitchen and what can you replace these items with?

    Example:
  • Instead of sour cream, use 2% Greek yogurt
  • Instead of maple syrup, use some fresh fruit and raw honey
  • Instead of chips and dip, do veggies and make your dip with the Greek yogurt

Take the time to make a list of the foods that are not optimal that you have in your house and figure out what you could replace them with and create your list of healthy restaurant choices. This will make a huge difference as you go forward on your healthy journey.





 

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-Lauren