Optimizing Your Food Environment

With more time spent at home, the environment that we create in our kitchen and pantries is more important than ever. Willpower and motivation to make healthy nutrition choices can only go so far. At some point, we all become vulnerable to our environment and the easy, tempting choices that surround us. Hey, no one can argue that it’s easier to grab a bag of potato chips than prepping all the ingredients that go into a salad.

So how can you make healthy choices easier? Maybe you can pre-chop some vegetables, buy a salad mix, meal prep at the beginning of the week, or stock your pantry with healthy choices that require little to no preparation.

Elimination of temptation is also a big factor. When we have the choice between a handful of M&M’s or a handful of carrots, the M&M’s will likely win (especially when it’s 4pm, you’re hungry, the kids have been misbehaving all day, and the stress of work deadlines is weighing on you). Think about how you can remove, or possibly hide, the tempting items you want to reduce or eliminate from your diet, and optimize the healthier options you want to incorporate.

Let’s take action. Take some time this week to look closely at what you have in your kitchen. Are there items in there that you keep snacking on that don’t fit within your ideal nutrition framework? Are they not even that tasty when you really think about it? If so, remove them or once they’re gone, make it a point not to purchase those again. Use this strategy to start getting rid of excess sugar, processed carbohydrates, and junk foods.

Once you have that extra room in your pantry and fridge, think about how you can optimize your next food purchases. Consider stocking up on fresh vegetables (baby carrots, tomatoes, cucumber, celery), nuts and seeds, olives, avocados, hard boiled eggs, and roasted kale, which are quick, nutritious options that can last a few days to a few weeks. When you get back from the store, spend 15 minutes prepping, portioning, and packaging these healthy items for ready-made snacks and fast breakers.

Posted in Health & Science

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