If you’re trying to eat more healthfully but your pantry is filled with salty snacks and sugary treats, it might be time to make a few easy changes to set yourself up for success.
When it comes to changing habits, the most important thing is to make it as simple as possible. We humans will always look for the quickest fix, especially when we’re hungry. Studies have shown that when people have easy access to unhealthy foods at home and when shopping they will choose the more energy-dense food options over more nutrient-dense foods.
One way to help increase the nutrient density of your food choices is to consume your favorite energy-dense foods while out and keep more nutrient-dense food options in your pantry at home. An example would be to only eat ice cream from ice cream shops while out with friends for family and not keep ice cream at home in the freezer. This allows you to keep consuming your favorite foods with less frequency and not be tempted while at home.
Another trick is to learn to eat for satiation rather than instant and fleeting satisfaction. Cooking food at home and eating until you are slightly full and eating well-balanced, satisfying meals will help you avoid spontaneous cravings. As much as possible, try to eat with other people, turn off your electronic devices and put on your favorite dinner music, and create an enjoyable atmosphere while eating.
We are also influenced by those around us when it comes to food choices. Studies have shown that if those around us have unhealthy eating habits, we are likely to copy this behavior. While we are not saying you have to give up your friendships, but it may be that you can take steps around this. For example, if you’re friends always eat at an unhealthy place, why not suggest a healthier restaurant or eat before you meet up to avoid the temptation.
While it can be hard to change lifelong eating habits, being aware of the influence your environment has on your diet may help. The Annual Review of Public health highlights the fact that physical settings within a community have a weighted influence on the population’s food choices.
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