One of the first thoughts that crossed my mind when I went chose an all-natural diet around 10 months ago was “How am I going to not want to slip up?” It was easy then to see myself reaching for a diet soda from the corner whenever I started wanting one. But slowly and surely the fake stuff started leaving the pantry and not being replaced. My environment was actually helping by making the fake food out of sight and out of mind. And eating healthy is a lot like that, too.
1. Put in your peripheral what you want to eat
I recognize this is a lot harder for people living with others and full families; but if you keep around you only the good, healthy foods, there’s little option to eat otherwise. At the very least what you can do is keep fresh fruit and veggies always at arms reach and desserts, snacks, and ice cream out of sight(, out of mind) and out of reach. And if you’re living in a house with mixed eaters, here’s a tip: Give each person their own personal shelf in the pantry with foods only they can eat.
2. Don’t buy food; buy ingredients
Say what? Here me out because this one I think makes the most sense. Rather than buy a prepackaged, pre-flavored container of Mexican rice, buy regular rice and keep spices on hand. Don’t grab a tuna salad from the Deli; just always keep a can of tuna in your pantry. By buying ingredients and making food for yourself, you control a lot including portions and calories. It’s even better that you can adjust it just to your tastes! It may take a little extra time, but if you can’t find 5 minutes to get serious about your own health, there are bigger problems.
3. Invest in staples and paper clips
When you go to the store, do you have a routine list of foods(or rather, ingredients) that you always get? Why not? The healthy foods we eat and want to eat we should always keep around. The “pantry staples” can be lifesavers in those grab-and-go moments. Here are some of mine:
- Canned Tuna
- Coconut Milk
- Nut Butters
- Nuts & Seeds
- Dried Fruit
- Healthy Bars
- Quality Dark Chocolate
- Dry Lentils
- Fruits & Veggies
- Quality Cheese
- Healthy Sauces & Condiments
- Earth Balance
- Grass-Fed Butter
- Naturally-Raised, Hormone-Free Meats
4. Make your dessert and eat it, too
No kitchen is complete without things like sugar, flour, and cocoa; and no house is a home without dessert and that fresh apple pie cooling on the windowsill. So have your dessert, but make it be one you’ve made. This has two advantages: First, you can always make the substitutions to make it fit your diet. Both my banana goodness bread and moist moist pumpkin bread have very little to no added fat to them. If you’re not making the healthy substitutions, like with my microwave vegan fudge, at least you have a better awareness of just what’s in it rather than if you bought it at the store. And this awareness will lead to a healthier appreciation of however much you do eat.
What are you kitchen staples? Let’s get a list going and I’ll make a big one on my next post!