The steps you take toward a healthier home food environment need not be extreme. Here are four small steps you can take today.
- Ditch the sugary soda: It may seem simple, but for some households, this may be easier said than done. A Gallup poll, the results of which were published in July 2012, found that nearly half of Americans drink soda daily. This despite the fact that most of us certainly know by now that drinking it regularly, is not the best thing we could be doing for ourselves. While plain water is an ideal alternative, many other low-calorie or no-calorie alternatives exist that might soften the blow of a no-cola policy in your home. Club soda, for instance, gives the same fizzy feeling with no calories. Add a bit of lemon or lime, and you may not have the sugary jolt you had before, but you will still have a refreshing beverage in your hand.
- Banish bad foods to the back: Is it all too easy to reach for sugary snacks when you want them? Consider relocating these snacks to a less convenient area of the fridge, cabinets, or kitchen pantry. In their place, substitute healthier options—fresh-cut vegetables and fruit, refreshing yogurt, or whole wheat snacks. Knowing that the less-healthy snacks are still available may help make the switch seem less restrictive, but you will also know that a healthy option is always close at hand. On the other hand, some of us find it easier to keep the cookies and candy out of the house because our ability to resist temptation is too low.
- Out with the white foods, in with the brown: One of the easiest swaps you can make in your cupboard may be whole grain pasta and brown rice instead of their refined counterparts. These sources of carbohydrates are more filling and more nutritious, and they provide more nutrients with your meals. It may be an adjustment at first, but you might find that the change is worth making.
- Capitalize on your free time to set yourself up to succeed: When you aren’t hungry and have your food “wits” about you, prepare fruits, veggies, and protein snacks so that you can pick them up and go in the morning. Brown rice can be prepared, boiled, and frozen in individual containers and then warmed up during the week to accompany a healthy protein choice and some greens. Taking this extra time in advance helps minimize your excuses for not choosing wisely when it comes to nutrition.