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Making healthier food choices

Making healthier food choices

For anyone who’s ever worked in a city- you’ll know how easy it is to grab food on the go. Every street corner, every road, is littered with so many choices of food. So is it the food that’s making us unhealthy as a nation – or the choices we make?

We have a culture of three meals a day, breakfast, lunch and tea – or dinner as some might call it. But then there’s the tea break, elevenses, and the quick snack for when we’re starting to feel a bit peckish. Soon you realise that the whole day is punctuated by when we next have our food fix.

Add to all this eating our bad drinking habits, namely that of overloading our bodies with caffeine and carbonated drinks and you’re one step closer to a heart attack or on the road to obesity and all the health risks that it brings with it.

So how do we deal with all the temptation surrounding us? Count calories? Only eat at certain times of day?

Well the best way to go about it is to only eat when you’re hungry (not as easy as it may sound).  Take some of these tips to help you avoid the constant temptations of unhealthy food choices.

  1. Hardly any of us drink enough, and if we deprive our bodies of water then we end up mistaking thirst for hunger. Drink plenty of fluids, water if you can, but fruit juice and herbal teas are just as good.
  2. Eating more water-filled foods, such as salads – fruit and vegetables can help to fill you up without adding too many calories to your diet. Beware the salads that are covered in unhealthy dressings though, as often these can equate to even more calories that a carb-laden main meal.
  3. Make your own lunch. The simplest way to avoid all the temptations of calorie-filled snacks and large portions from takeaway outlets, is to make your own healthy lunch. This way you can ensure you’re getting a balanced meal, without over-eating and eating for the sake of it.
  4. One way to try and take your mind off of eating too much, is to try and get some exercise into your lunch hour. Take a brisk walk, go for a jog, or a cycle ride (if your company provides showers you’ll be more up for the energetic stuff!)
  5. Choose foods that are better for you. Substitute a chocolate bar for a flapjack, or a piece of fruit – or something that will fill you up without adding to your calories.
  6. Sometimes you don’t have to avoid what’s tempting you – you just need to make sure that you don’t keep eating the bad stuff over and over. Make it a special treat once a week, rather than a daily ritual, and not only will you enjoy it more, your body will thank you for all the health benefits.
  7. If you are going to eat out, then try and eat the less fatty foods. So if you’re in a pizzeria, try and choose the least cheese-laden pizza, or the healthier alternatives.  Maybe even share your pizza between two of you.
  8. If you have a habit of heading to the pub or a wine bar at lunch, then switch to buying an orange juice, rather than that alcoholic drink which holds no nutritional value, and a lot of calories.

It’s so easy to slip into a “routine” of bad eating, and it’s a hard habit to break. A good way to take your mind off of food when you don’t actually need to eat, is to busy yourself with another task. Take for example hobbies like drawing, knitting, reading, or sewing, and you are automatically giving your brain something else to think about so you will all about your initial cravings.

Having an interest in exercise can sometimes  be the first step to healthy eating. When you are concerned with how your body performs, you begin to become more aware of what you are putting in it. The healthier you become, then often the healthy choices become second nature.

Often just by making very small changes in our lifestyle, we can give our bodies the best chance at being healthy. By just cutting out one fatty food choice a day, or dropping one alcoholic drink, then you are making positive steps toward a healthier lifestyle, which then perpetuates more and more healthy choices. Like giving up smoking, when you’ve given up often the thought of lighting up a cigarette is enough to put you off.

We are constantly surrounded by so many temptations and reasons for us to be unhealthy that we need to start listening to our own bodies again and taking control for when we eat and what we eat, rather than being told by others what is normal.

Small changes eventually will make a massive change.