Are you diligently trying to stick to a healthy eating diet plan and looking for some tips for healthy eating? My advice, as a Certified Nutritionist, is to create a micro-environment where junk food is not calling your name all day. Understand that we start the day with a reservoir of willpower and constant temptations, even if we’re able to resist them at the moment, deplete our resolve. If we let the well run dry, it then becomes impossible to remain on the straight and narrow with our healthy eating plan.
Tips for Healthy Eating: We Eat with our Eyes
The reason I advocate changing your food environment is that research demonstrates that we eat with your eyes first. Even if we’re not really hungry, the mere sight of food makes us want to eat. This biological survival of the fittest urge that’s totally out of sync with modern life. The problem with staying healthy today is that there is way too much food everywhere and a lot of it is not very nutritious. But, our bodies are still programmed for the hunter gatherer days when food was scarce.
The fact that our eyes are usually the first of our senses to react to food is something that the marketing industry has tapped into. It explains why restaurants adorn their websites and menus with seductively plated meals. It’s also the strategy behind wheeling around the dessert cart. Once you see the decadent sweets, you’ll likely select at least one and justify the decision by asking for extra forks.
Have you noticed that impulse buys, including unhealthy snacks, have now migrated outside of supermarkets and are showing up in odd places like Nordstrom, Old Navy, and Office Depot? These retailers are hoping to catch our eye, and make an extra buck, while we’re shopping for clothing or office supplies.
Tips for Healthy Eating: Stay out of Harm’s Way
The first line of defense to prevent treats from jumping into your mouth is not to look at them. I call this staying out of harm’s way. If your office provides free donuts on Fridays, your best strategy to stay on the healthy eating path is to avoid going into the kitchen for a few hours and to eat breakfast so you won’t be tempted to go foraging for food because you’re starving.
The same goes for the vending machine. Just don’t approach it. Once you do, a Kit Kat bar is about to land with a thud and you’ll be ripping into it in one minute flat.
If your driving route takes you right by that irresistible In-N-Out Burger drive-thru, change your commute route so you don’t pass it anymore. It’s a simple adjustment that actually works. If that’s not feasible, pass it with eyes peeled to the road, which is what you should be doing anyway. If you know you can ration yourself, designate one day a week to indulge and see if that scheduled anticipation deters you on non-burger-and-fries days.
Tips for Healthy Eating: Limit Your E-Exposure
And don’t forget the temptations of the digital world. These days cooking shows featuring celebrity chefs are all the rage. Amazon has over 100,000 cookbooks on its site which feature HD and digitally enhanced scrumptious looking meals.
TV watching is correlated with higher BMIs, likely due to all the food ads. The movie theater industry has convinced us that we can’t sit down and watch a movie without a bucket of popcorn.
“Eat and tweet” is a phenomenon that floods social media feeds with mouthwatering food photos. A 2013 survey found that 54 per cent of 18-24 years olds have taken a photo of their food while eating out, while 39 per cent have posted it online. Ninety new photos hash tagged #foodporn are uploaded to Instagram every minute.
Plan to limit your exposure to virtual food as an integral part of your healthy eating diet.
Click here to read the full research article “Eating with our eyes: From Visual Hunger to Digital Satiation.”