Automatic (Healthy) Eating // Tip 6

>> Monday, December 9, 2013

I've received such positive feedback on the automatic healthy eating tips, I thought I'd continue on with a few more this week. I'm planning to do a similar series on realistic fitness to help kick off the new year, so be sure to keep an eye out for that one.

Some days just don't work out when it comes to time for cooking or desire to eat healthy foods. Maybe you're traveling for work and all those fast food joints and convenience stores are coming up short. Maybe you're not feeling well and want to retreat to comfort foods. Maybe you're craving pizza because you're just cravings pizza.

Whatever the case may be, you still have time to inject some health into that meal.

 // TIP 6: Cheat + Add In

This tip is sort of two-fold, isn't it?

// On the one hand, time is a factor that impacts our ability to find or create healthy food sources. This is when all those canned soups, highly salted freezer meals, trips through the drive-through, and stops at the vending machine come into play. Or sometimes we just skip meals, creating an ever bigger issue altogether.

// On the other, our desire and gravitational pull toward that junkier food is strong. At least for me it is. I could subsist on beer and plain pizza (and chocolate chip cookies) if I had to. And I've even done just that for long stretches out of laziness.

Whatever you vice, eating like an adult isn't always easy.

Thankfully, there are some easy fixes for both these cases can be made using last week's tips.

Most of it is planning and making ahead, while the rest is learning to love those alternatives or adding something healthy to whatever you're eating that isn't. Not all fast food or convenience or prepackaged foods are inherently bad. (Some definitely are, but not all!)

Oftentimes, they're just empty -- void of nutrition that keeps our bodies healthy.

Here are some ideas to get you started.
  • Add a large helping of frozen veggies + protein to instant soup/noodle mixes.
  • Same goes w/ other convenience foods (frozen pizza?). Add fresh stuff when possible.
  • Make pizza crust w/ vegetable purees and top w/ more roasted veggies than cheese.
  • Add purees from squash to spinach -- to comfort favorites like Mac 'n Cheese.
  • Keep a fresh fruit bowl at work + eat that apple before the vending machine crap.
  • Freeze healthy meals for a month so all you need to do is reheat them.
  • Investigate fast food (many websites have complete nutritional info) for best choices.
  • DIY trail mix = nuts, dried fruit, + chocolate for quick, healthy snacking.
  • Portion lunches/snacks + put them in office refrigerator on Monday (labeled, of course!)
  • Make up for poor eating the next chance you get, it's never too late to start fresh.
  • Stock up on portable whole foods (apples, avocados, bananas, anything w/ nature's packing).
  • Pack homemade food (sandwiches, energy bars) for business trips to eat on the go.

Basically, you don't have to avoid all "bad" foods to eat healthfully. Keep yourself in check, yes, but enjoy food foremost. For those times when there are no other options (or you mind just tells you that there aren't), keep these tricks in mind. When I "fall off the wagon" or have some big holiday binge, sometimes it's difficult to feel the whole day week month of eating isn't ruined.

But drink a tall, cold glass of water and start fresh with the next meal.

How do you cheat the system? Do you use convenience foods to you advantage? What are your tricks?
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