When it comes to lunch selection, it can seem as if you have only one choice to make: whether to go with something good for you or something that tastes good to you. And we understand, some days you want to throw caution to the wind and just indulge.
“Your diet is a bank account. Good food choices are good investments.” – Bethenny Frankel
But, what many people find is that these overly indulgent choices can leave them feeling lackluster and full-on fatigued, not to mention adding pounds when and where you don’t mean to. It can be hard to steer clear of temptations, and it’s important to live a life that is not so rigid that you’re feeling restricted all the time. But what also is true is that healthy and delicious can coincide, play nice, and leave you feeling satisfied and certain that the food choices you’re making are in your best interest.
How To Break A Bad Eating Cycle
We’ve all experienced it—the pang of temptation when driving by a favorite fast food joint. We can almost taste that burger, or burrito, and know that it can be in our hands in moments. But, as the adage goes, “a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips.” We know enough now about nutrition that it’s not just added weight that we are avoiding at all costs. It’s breaking patterns of unhealthy eating that over time, really take a toll on not just our physical health, but our mental health, too. Imagine craving healthy foods. If you’re currently in a pattern of unhealthy eating, that can seem laughable. But just like any habit, making healthy food choices takes a little bit of discipline upfront, but then it will become just another thing you do, without putting a lot of effort into it.
It’s not just reasonable food choices that are important here. Setting up reasonable patterns of behavior are key as well. This can come in the form of meal prepping, preparing your shopping list ahead of time, and making small changes that can set you up for long term success. Let’s say you want to bring a healthy lunch to work every day this week, and avoid the typical “take out” environment that may be present there. Well, you’re going to need a plan, because otherwise your taste buds (and your hungry stomach) will take the first opportunity they can to be in charge. In other words, no one ever feels like having a rice cake when there are chips and fried goodness staring back at you in a break room.
Research About Food And Nutrition
Do a little research into healthy lunch options that sound appealing to you. Try to look for some overlap in ingredients. For instance, the same veggies that can be cooked up for dinner, can be added to a stir fry that you can bring to work the next day, which can then be prepped to make a chopped salad the day after that. Do you have any kitchen gadgets that are getting dusty in a forgotten pantry closet? Here’s where a crockpot or instant pot can really pull their weight. Making large batches of soup, chili or stew and then freezing the contents into single servings will save you the mental gymnastics of trying to throw together a lunch—pre-coffee—while also rushing out the door. In no time at all, you’ll discover the flavors that make your taste buds sing, making it that much easier to chose home-cooked or prepped meals over nutrient-deficient ones.
Of course, there will be opportunities to stray back into the world of convenient-yet-terrible-for-you lunch options. And that’s even more reason to strike out on a healthy track—those times that you do choose to indulge will indeed be a choice, and not a fallback option because of poor planning. In this way, that full-fat, full-carb homemade mac and cheese that your secretary insists on bringing in to work every week (probably so that she herself doesn’t consume it all on her own!) will taste that much better when you can enjoy it guilt-free.
Have you ever tried to embark on a healthy eating initiative? Drop me a comment and let me know what worked and didn’t work for you. How long did it take before you were off and running, or before making healthy choices felt less like something you had to do, and more like something you got to do? My guess is that those who are successful with making reliable healthy choices had to go through a little trial and error to get there, but that it was totally worth the effort.