The average person makes over 200 food-related decisions per day. Talk about an onslaught of opportunities to derail your diet!
Following a few basic rules for everyday life sets the stage for healthier eating habits not only during the holidays but every day. Embrace these tips to stay healthy from the moment you wake up to the minute you hit the lights.
Keep the kitchen counter clear
Research shows that leaving the counter stacked with food can leave you stacked with an additional 8 to 29 pounds. The holiday season means extra food is purchased and received. Instead of storing it on top of the counter, transfer the foods and containers to inside your cupboard. Then, fill that newly freed counter space with a bowl of fruit. This easy swap supports mindless weight loss – as much as five pounds in a year!
Pre-plan what’s in plain sight
If you see it, chances are you will eat it. Keep Christmas cookies and office party leftovers inside opaque containers. Leave snack-sized veggies and yogurt inside clear ones. Safeguard yourself further by leaving only healthy foods at eye level. Keep a pitcher of water alongside those crudités and veggie-filled containers. To quench your thirst the right way, spruce up the water with attractive and colorful fruit slices.
Leave the candy dish off the desk
Being within arms-length of sugar during the workday is an unnecessary danger. A stressful job coupled with easily accessible candy is a recipe for disaster. Just don’t do it. Fill that bowl with useful office supplies or replace it all together with a picture of your loved ones. Seeing their faces will remind you of why you are trying to improve your health in the first place.
Be accountable during action movies
We all know that eating while watching TV is a less than stellar habit. It serves as a distraction, which promotes thoughtless overeating. Recent evidence suggests that what we watch can also impact how we eat. Compared to more mundane programming, action-related TV stimulates more eating.
Leave Mother Nature’s packaging intact
When eating nuts, which are a great source of fiber, healthy fat and protein, always opt for nuts in the shell. Cracking open their casings while snacking will help to control how much you eat. Not only because of the extra work involved, also because once those shells pile up you see firsthand just how much you have eaten.
As for fruits and vegetables, it is generally best to keep the skins on. The skin of apples, pears and potatoes is the source of most of the vitamins and minerals. So eat it all! No use in (literally) throwing away nutrition.
Tanya Zuckerbrot MS, RD, is a Registered Dietitian in New York City and the author of two bestselling diet books: The F-Factor Diet and The Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear – with Fiber.