What your family eats is based on the food you put in the refrigerator and the dry pantry. Good choices in shopping help make good choices in eating. To this must be added the food truck quotient; eating is meant to be fun.
Shift attention back to the taste and quality of what you eat. Generally, you eat with your eyes and then, try to think of something else like work or sleep or yesterday's worries because food in the mouth is not interesting.
You eat to live. You should be living to eat. You eat for bulk and so you're not mindful at all of the taste or the healthiness of what you're chewing. You really don't think of quality of taste when you go shopping.
A frozen dinner, a battered burg or a pathetic pizza, unloved and chewed up. So, the first change needed for a healthy diet is to shift your focus back to the food and enjoy it. Food trucks are fun and that's good but most of them offer food that should be arrested as crime scene evidence.
7 Strategic Steps Towards a More Healthy Diet
1. CSI your Kitchen
Refrigerators are crowded with killers. Just take a look. Unhealthy fats, refined carbs and sugar-laden snacks and regiments of salt.
Eliminating these clunkers entirely from your diet may not be a good idea. You may have a continuing feeling of deprivation and suddenly eating better is a form of punishment. Instead, go digging for healthier options.
Seek out healthier options for foods you already love, such as whole grain pasta instead of white.
Feel free to keep those unhealthy snacks – just ration how much you indulge. Maybe, use the snack as a reward for good eating behaviour over the day. It's okay to eat a few sugary/salty snacks a week, but doing the full snorting gorge several times a day is really dumb.
Your goal should be to improve your overall diet, not to agonize over every craving and occasional indulgence.
2. Turn the crime scene into a benefit concert
Here's a good start. Show up at meals. I don't mean just be there physically but swing your mind unto what you're eating, what it is made of, how it's cooked or how much oil, salt and sugar has been injected.
When eating becomes fun, you start thinking about your food not as enemies on your plate but friendly partners in the concert of life.
Make mindful eating a habit. There are very simple rules and mindfulness with the rules will avoid the crime scene that dinners have become. Practice this regularly until you digest this as part of your lifestyle.
3. Stop buying gastronomic murder weapons
Remember, good eating habits start with what goes in the shopping cart long before the food goes into the plate. Search for healthier options when you shop.
Once you've found healthier options, add some foods you may not have tried before. Think about healthy protein choices like wild-caught salmon, and different types of whole grains like quinoa and bulgur.
4. Watch those Sneak Thieves
For every food criminal, there are at least two sneak thieves. A good example is the so called "healthy" snack bars that sneaks into your hands and gives back the salt, sugar and fat that you eliminated in your mindful meal preparation. You have habits of a lifetime behind you. Getting out of food prison takes some effort.
One of the keys to a sustainably healthy lifestyle is to make changes slowly. For example, if you have a sugary snack each day while at work, try swapping it for a healthy choice. A handful of nuts and cranberries can replace a chocolate bar. Lemon and water can easily take the place of killer Colas. Lettuce can replace bread as a sandwich wrapper. To help ensure success, make the healthy replacement as close to your usual snack as possible.
There are many snack and meal-replacement bars out there which are not sneak thieves and are made with minimal sugar and sweeteners. Surely, a load of chocolate chips boasted on the wrapper is a hint of lethality.
Be mindful when you're shopping. Look at the labels. Some bars contain healthy ingredients like whole oats and nuts. Such bars are not only scrumptious but can make you forget that criminal cupcake that in the past you've mindlessly swooped with coffee each morning.
One of the most common traps for novice healthy eaters is the buffet lunch and death by tidbits at the evening parties. Those trays of hors-d'ouvres are just loaded with evils worthy of Dante's inferno, not your stomach.
5. Look for New Vegetable Buddies
This can really be fun. Start by buying the ugliest vegetable in the store. Get its name and check Google for the recipe. You'll be amazed at the tastes that you'll discover.
It will help you focus on your food and even get your family talking about dinner and an awareness of new options. Even if you all agree "never again" to your first ugly vegetable exploit, you're now on a voyage of discovery of new food options.
When living in Vietnam, we learned to always have a plate of greens along side every meal. This greatly increased our intake of greens and had an almost instant impact on our digestive systems. We shook hands with a whole family of greens we had never met before and quickly gave them refugee status in our kitchen when we got home.
With a quick blanch in boiling water, a minute or less, and with a tiny bit of olive oil, we cleaned up the crime scene on our plates and stayed out of the food jail.
6. The Silent Killer
Getting fat can kill you as surely as taking poison. The amount of food on a plate even if its healthy food is a silent killer. Portion control is a major gunfight in many kitchens.
When Mom fills the plates and serves, portion control is a good prospect. When it's all on the table, the temptation for seconds or thirds is much greater.
The French are famous for high flavour food in small quantities. Maybe, we can learn something because you don't see a lot of fat French people. If you live in a plate-filler family, buy small plates. It gives the silent killer a smaller target.
7. Spread the Gospel of St. Fridge
Remember, the only person more boring than the twit with a new stock is the zealot with a new diet. While you can joke about a new ugly vegetable or doing a CSI on your fridge, don't become a food pest. Walk the walk. Eat the beet. Back off on talk. Your body will do the advertising in time.
St. Fridge is watching you and will sting both ends with the chili pepper if you misbehave.
Arrest Your Kitchen Criminals Now
The criminals in your kitchen can be arrested and once in jail, no bail. Food can become fun with a future rather than an arsenal of weapons aimed at your own body and as an added bonus, you might inspire others to decriminalize their kitchen and eat for the long life they deserve.
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