If you’re a regular follower of this blog, then you have already seen parts one and two of this four-part series of tips on eating healthy from Marlene Lesson. Ms. Lesson is nutrition director of Structure House, a residential weight loss facility in Durham, N.C. that offers a unique behavioral approach to weight loss and healthy lifestyle change, and she has provided us with some wonderful tips to eat healthy through a potentially land-mine-filled holiday season. This week is our second-to-last in the series. If you missed parts one and two, be sure to check them out as well.
You generally give little thought to what you eat and often decide what to buy at the last moment. Here are a few â€œHabit Bustersâ€ from Dr. Gerard Musante, clinical psychologist and author of The Structure House Weight Loss Plan, on how to keep your meals healthy by planning in advance:
- Buy a cookbook with healthy recipes (with nutrition analyses) to help you plan.
- Structure each week’s meals a week in advance perhaps at a designated time, such as Sunday night.
- Note your planned meals in a food diary each week.
- Use food group and calorie guides to plan meals.
Making a Shopping List
You don’t prepare a shopping list, since you aren’t really sure what you’ll be eating anyway. If you think ahead, you’ll save yourself time and effort later by eliminating problem foods before they ever come into the house. Here are a few â€œHabit Bustersâ€ from Dr. Gerard Musante, clinical psychologist and author of The Structure House Weight Loss Plan:
- Plan your meals first, and then determine the ingredients you need to buy.
- Using your menu plan, figure out the quantities of items to purchaseâ€”how many pounds of meat or vegetables, how many packages of prepared items, etc.
- Group the foods according to your supermarket layout to facilitate shopping and avoid â€˜trolling’ for unneeded treats and problem foods.
- Make sure you have the ingredients you need for each recipe in the menu plan, which will avoid improvising with more problematic ingredients or going off your plan.
- Avoid purchasing foods that aren’t on the list.
When you go shopping, you generally haven’t eaten for a while, so you arrive at the store hungry. Since you aren’t sure what you’re going to fix for your meals, you tend to buy items you hadn’t planned to purchase. You also do â€œimpulse buyingâ€ in response to the store’s displays, free samples, in-store announcements, and other marketing tactics.
Here are a few â€œHabit Bustersâ€ from Dr. Gerard Musante, clinical psychologist and author of The Structure House Weight Loss Plan, on how to avoid leaving the store with all kinds of foods you hadn’t expected to purchase:
- Schedule shopping trips after you’ve eaten one of your regular structured meals.
- Shop only from a prepared list.
- See your task as time-limited and goal-oriented: just get the items on your list and clear out.
- Avoid interior aisles, which often have less crucial, more tempting foods.
- If possible, delegate shopping to other family members, or consider using only shopping and delivery services.
On arriving home from the supermarket, you leave some goodies out on the kitchen table or on the counters. You fill the refrigerator and the kitchen cabinets with foods in easy-access packages, and every time you open the fridge, the sight of all those tasty items drives you crazy.
Here are a few â€œHabit Bustersâ€ from Dr. Gerard Musante, clinical psychologist and author of The Structure House Weight Loss Plan, on how to store food in ways that aren’t so tempting:
- Store foods in non-see-through containers (such as opaque plastic bowls or disposable aluminum pans); cover with aluminum foil instead of plastic wrap so that you can’t see the contents. Label with stickers so you know what’s inside without opening the containers and feeling tempted.
- Store food in individual-serving-size containers so that your meals are portion controlled. You can store the leftovers in the freezer or refrigerator and then take out the exact serving that you need, which will help you avoid overeating.
- Store only foods that need to be cooked before eating, which presents one more step to take before Unstructured Eating.
- Store all foods in the fridge or in cabinets, not on countertops, open shelves, or tables.
Remember to visit this blog next week for the final installment of this four-part series!
To review part one, click here.
To review part two, click here.