Some simple tips and reminders for healthy eating might be just what you need to get on track with weight control and improved wellness without diets and fads.
We really are creatures of habit when it comes to eating habits. Most of us rely on what we learned as children when we move out and start cooking and shopping on our own.
The problem is that some of our mom’s cooking traits were less than healthy. I mean absolutely no disrespect when I mention my own mom’s pickle jar filled with bacon fat that was used for many, many recipes. It sat atop the stove ready to be used or topped up with various other congealed animal fat drippings. I remember being thrilled when she would make milk gravy for breakfast – a lovely concoction of milk, flour, butter and the omnipresent bacon fat. It was slathered on not just any toast – white toast.
My mother is an excellent cook, but again, she learned from her mother in a day when nothing went to waste and no one was really concerned about cholesterol or hydrogenated fats. On the flip side, there weren’t as many processed foods back then, nor were there fast food restaurants, offering mega sized portions and bottomless refills. I guess it all evens out.
The point is, we all need to really assess how we shop, cook and eat to see if we are simply following our familial habits. The first thing to look at is portions. Eat smaller amounts of food and see what happens if you don’t finish everything on your plate. Maybe you can send yourself to your room! Here’s an idea – if you don’t finish everything on your plate, DO have a little bit of dessert – but something healthy like fruit or yogurt. Plate your food in the kitchen and then bring it to the table to help prevent over eating and taking seconds.
Everyone knows this one, but here’s a reminder. Shop the perimeter of the supermarket for the majority of your groceries – fresh fruits, veggies, dairy and meats/fish/poultry. The aisles are where you will find more of the processed food – see if you can stick to just the perimeter for everything but your spices, grains and cereals. Try to avoid the snack aisles (I love them too) – just don’t go down them.
Shop with a list. I can hear you groaning, but this is a big time saver and it will keep you from buying items you don’t need. If you aren’t sold yet – how about how much money you will save when you don’t impulse buy? Plan your meals and snacks for the entire week. This is a great time to assess the nutrient content of your meals. Ensure you are getting enough of all four food groups. Check the Canada food guide for your proper serving sizes and servings per day.
Get organized! Clean out your pantry and fridge. Remove all the old, stale cereals, crackers, ketchup packets (you don’t need 500 of these) and salad dressings that expired before you were born. This is an extremely cathartic experience! Start fresh with a clean kitchen that isn’t cluttered with items you don’t need or perhaps for safety sake, shouldn’t consume. When you come home with your groceries, take the time to wash your fruits and veggies and even cut up items for the kids and for snacking. Now that you have room in the fridge, keep these snack items in clear view so that your family will be tempted by them.
Finally, don’t shop on an empty stomach. You won’t buy things you don’t need and you won’t get a bad reputation at the sample stations. People talk you know.