Food is a super important of getting healthy. Yet it can be quite difficult when it comes to breaking eating habits we’ve established and replace them with ones that serve us better. Whether you’re battling with the change from comfort eating through the winter, habits picked up while pregnant or needing to change your relationship with food overall, it can take some considered thought and processes.
As mothers though, time and thinking time aren’t always in abundance.
So today, Body Beyond Birth is taking out some time to help you with breaking eating habits on your own terms in simple ways!
Revise the shopping list in a sneaky way
As mothers, we’re time poor. That’s why we often have less time to revise what we’re doing and make huge changes.
It can be hard to get fussy kids (and partners!) to eat outside the usual. But this is when we invite the most issues with food.
Taking time out to review your shopping list at the start of a new season is a great excuse to get the family on board. And it gives you a legitimate reason to review things and kick out the foods that have snuck onto the roster over winter.
Also, reduce instead of remove the offending foods in the first instance. Going cold turkey when you are eating naughty treats or junk food on a regular basis can be difficult. The last thing you want to do is end up removing the sweet biscuits or ice-cream from the supermarket shop only to find you end up at the corner shop buying the same things.
Breaking eating habits is a gradual process, not a sprint.
Instead of buying the large, buy the small and ration your treats. Or reduce the amount of packets you buy. Slowly swapping to healthier alternatives gives you greater ability to solidify the food change as a choice rather than through restricting access.
Change the way you shop
One of the easiest ways to breaking eating habits is to look at the way you shop and make small changes.
Some easy ways to change your shopping style for the better include:
- Writing a list and sticking to it when you go grocery shopping
- Opting for online, home delivery food services where the temptation is reduced
- Switching from standard supermarkets to farmer’s markets and organic produce delivery services where the focus is on healthy eating
- Shopping seasonally. By using this season’s produce, you can eat to the season and the energy level you need. It also gives you a great excuse to change the menu
- Leaving the kids at home with your partner or a baby sitter. After all, nothing gets the naughty food in the trolley quicker than being distracted by a curious, chocolate loving child
- And observing the fundamental rule- never shop when you’re hungry!
By thinking about how you shop for food, you can begin to influence your relationship with food in a positive way.
Substitute snacks with exercise
Yes, it can be tough to get to 3pm and become dried out in the brain department. Even more so because the kids are often due from school or day-care or naps. They’ll want you to be switched on and attentive. But that doesn’t mean an extra hit of caffeine or a sugar rush is the answer.
Something that helps create more energy for the better without the calories is exercise. If you’re feeling sluggish and drawn before the school pick up, at home or at work, go for a walk. Even a simple walk of 10 minutes can help blow the afternoon slow down right away.
And you might even be able to combine the pickup with a walk to and from school so that both you and the kids can benefit!
Play a game of substitution
Simple turns of the screw can have a big impact when it comes to eating like swapping out the foods you don’t want to eat for the ones you do. And by paying attention to the hidden nasties that can lurk within.
You can do this by breaking eating habits down as they come along and:
- Turning icy poles into frozen grapes or frozen fruit pieces
- Removing bread from the menu and adding whole grains, potatoes and spelt pasta instead
- Avoiding refined foods and opting for whole foods
- Swapping cake for a banana for the afternoon snack
- Opting for fresh fruit over fruit in tins- or if you choose fruit in tins, select the ones in natural juices as opposed to sugar and syrups
- Using silken tofu in a scramble as opposed to eggs
- Choosing tuna in spring water rather than oil
- Adding lemon juice and balsamic vinegar instead of store bought salad dressing
- Snacking on veggie sticks and healthy dips like hummus instead of potato chips or pretzels
There are some great ways you can swap out foods and get to a simple eating plan featured in this simple download from the Heart Institute of New York.
Slow the eating process down
In winter, life is often found around the table with roasts and dishes of vegetables, big lasagne dishes, potato bakes and more calling to us for that second helping. Placing it in easy reach on the table can encourage us to go beyond the reasonable limits.
You can start consuming more salads and fruit platters by dishing the big, heavy stuff to the plate. Make the salad and fruit platter become the thing that is easy to grab on the dinner table!
You might also want to consider using chopsticks instead of a fork. Or use your less dominant hand to eat with. By taking smaller bites and in lower frequency, we give our stomach the chance to send the signal we’re full quicker.
If you’re eating out, don’t wait all day on the big meal that could help you slip right off the diet trolley. Eat sensibly throughout the day and have a healthy snack in the afternoon before you go. That way, the naughty main meal and dessert menu look less appealing.
And whatever you do, move away from the computer, smartphone or TV when you eat. Screen time distracts us from eating and even how full we are.
The final word of breaking eating habits
Slow and steady really does win the race. While we might like the big symbolism of throwing all the junk food and temptation away, this doesn’t do what we need it to do. It’s the habit and the mind that needs changing! So aim to make incremental change and empower your choices instead of restricting and punishing yourself.