You already know how important it is to make healthy food choices now that you’ve undergone weight loss surgery. But you, like most people, have to figure out how to fit the best food choices into your busy life?
You’ll be thrilled to know that a hectic life doesn’t mean that every meal has to be fast food on the run! Sometimes it’s difficult in our fast-paced world to make healthy changes, but with a little planning and know-how, it can be done successfully, and on a consistent basis.
Here are some strategies to help you make healthy choices:
Avoid temptation. It’s easy to walk into the grocery store with good intentions, but walk out with bags overflowing with unhealthy ‘convenience’ foods. Unfortunately, our will to eat healthy foods can be weak, especially since most of us have “trained” ourselves over the years to buy sugar, fat and carbohydrate-filled foods.
- Never shop when you’re hungry. This way you will have more resistance toward those familiar, unhealthy choices because they look good at the moment.
- Get rid of the unhealthy foods in your home. Go through your refrigerator and cupboards and either give away or toss the unhealthy items that don’t support your health and weight loss goals. If they aren’t around, you won’t be tempted to eat them.
- Think of healthier alternatives to those familiar, but unhealthy foods. Rather than purchasing high calorie potato chips, try trail mixes or rice cakes. Low calorie puddings or frozen yogurts are better alternatives to higher fat ice creams.
- Avoid shopping WITHOUT a list and a plan. If you walk into the grocery store with a plan for meals and a list of needed items, you’ll be less likely to try and ‘wing it’ and end up purchasing food that does not support your goals.
- Take advantage of ‘Healthy Shopping’ seminars from your local grocers or supermarkets. Many supermarkets now offer healthy shopping seminars where you are guided through the store by a nutritionist or dietician and shown how to find the healthiest foods, aisle by aisle. If your local store does not offer this service, suggest it to them for the future, and contact your weight loss surgeon’s office to see if they offer a similar workshop or seminar.
- Eat fast and healthy meals at home. When you’re tired at the end of a busy day and you realize you still have to feed yourself (or your family), it’s easy to go to a fast food chain and put their food on the table. It may save some time, but it won’t save yours or your family’s health – or your pocket book!
The great thing is that there are many easy, fast, and healthy foods you can make at home. This takes some advance planning, but you’ll be more satisfied, save money, and your entire household will be healthier as well.
Look online for quick and easy recipes made with all natural ingredients. Many recipes can be made in 30 minutes or less and only have 5 ingredients. Taking the time to do some recipe research will save your sanity in the long run. Then once you find a “hit” with the family, store the recipe in a book or on your computer.
- When you cook healthy family favorites, make large batches and freeze the leftovers. This way, you’ll already have meals in the freezer that you can just thaw, heat, and serve. No muss, no fuss! This is a great time saver and a healthy way to enjoy “fast” food at home.
- Eat Slower. Since the brain takes about 20 minutes to get the signal that the stomach is full, if you eat too fast you’ll pack in a lot more food than you need – many of us experienced this, and the accompanying weight gain, before undergoing weight loss surgery. When you’re still thinking that you’re hungry, it’s easy to make the wrong choices about food. You MUST slow down while you’re eating after undergoing surgery, because eating too fast can cause all kinds of uncomfortable issues.
- Set a calming mood before sitting down for a meal. Avoid having the television on or eating as you’re rushing out the door to another activity. Sitting calmly at the table will allow you and everyone else to relax and enjoy their meal.
- Make dinner time a social experience. Dinner should be about enjoying your company – your own, or your family’s – and taking pleasure in the foods you’re eating.
When you begin to look at mealtime as a social experience – even a bonding time for a family – it becomes easier to make the right choices about healthy foods. Suddenly you aren’t so worried about rushing through the meal and making it quick.
Dinner becomes a great experience when you’re able to enjoy healthy foods that support your health and weight loss goals, and when you can enjoy time with your loved ones. Take time to eat and enjoying a real conversation with family members, or just taking the time to de-stress can make meal time something to look forward to in the midst of a busy life.
Using these techniques will bring all kinds of healthy benefits to you and your family and reinforce the positive changes you’re making toward a new, healthy lifestyle. Healthy food choices are a definite possibility in your busy life if you take the time to plan ahead and make dinner time a priority in your home.