When it comes to eating healthy meals, there are many things that can get in the way. Whether it’s a challenge of time, peer pressure, or temptation, healthy eating is not always as easy as it sounds. We have a list of some tips for how to overcome some of the most common barriers to healthy eating.
Problem: I don’t have the time to prepare meals every day.
Solution: Making healthy food doesn’t have to be time-consuming. If you don’t have enough time to make food during the week, try preparing foods ahead of time. You can do this the night before, or by making a large batch of food over the weekend. Also try sharing meal-making with another person, so you can trade off days that you prepare food. And don’t forget, some meals naturally take less time than others.
Problem: I can’t afford to eat healthy foods all the time.
Solution: Eating healthy isn’t always more expensive. Buying fruits and vegetables in season, looking for sales or coupons, and buying canned or frozen options (without added salt or sugar) can all save you money on food. And remember, there are many unhealthy pre-packaged foods that are expensive, so you’re not necessarily going to save money by choosing the less healthy option. Sticking to healthy basics, and being a strategic shopper, can save you money in the long run.
Problem: I don’t have the motivation to eat healthy at every meal.
Solution: Remembering your goal can help you stay motivated. Think about what you want to accomplish, like reaching a healthier weight so you can keep up with your kids. Now think about how eating healthy can help you reach that goal. It’s also important to prepare your home and kitchen for healthy eating, so when you find your motivation slipping you won’t have unhealthy options to fall back on.
Problem: I can’t control what foods I eat every day, because someone else cooks for me.
Solution: If someone else cooks food for you, have a talk with them about the importance of eating a healthy diet after surgery. Let them know that a large part of losing weight and staying healthy is eating the right kinds of food, in the right amounts. You can also try making food for yourself if they are unable or unwilling to help you on your weight loss journey.
Problem: I don’t want to stop eating the foods I love.
Solution: If you find yourself struggling with the idea of changing the way you eat, it can be helpful to think of your ultimate goal for your weight loss journey. Eating is an important part of your journey, and having healthy eating habits is one of the best ways to help you reach your ultimate goal. Many times people find that they can still eat some of their favourite foods, just in smaller portions, or with a few different ingredients. Having an open mind and thinking of your larger goal can help you be more willing to change your diet and stick with these changes.
Problem: I don’t think “healthy” foods taste good.
Solution: Many times we have certain ideas of what a healthy food is, and what makes a healthy diet (think salads for every meal). But there is a much wider variety of healthy foods than many people realise. And many times you can make healthy changes to meals you already eat. It’s true that people who have bariatric surgery need to follow certain rules for eating. But that doesn’t mean you are limited to salads for the rest of your life. Try experimenting with some different recipes, and you may find that healthy foods can taste much better than you previously thought.
Problem: I can’t control my eating; once I start, it’s hard to stop.
Solution: One way to help get control of eating is to use a technique called “mindful eating.” Mindful eating is a way to be more aware of how you eat, and to be more present while you are eating. Some examples of this technique include chewing more slowly, putting down your fork between each bite, or waiting a certain amount of time between each bite. This can help you enjoy your food more, and feel full sooner.
Problem: I don’t know how to tell what kinds of foods are healthy.
Solution: It can be difficult to tell what foods out there are healthier than others. There are some general rules for what foods to look for, and what to avoid. Eating a variety of foods, including lean protein, grains, and fruits and vegetables, is important. And avoid sugar, salt, and preservatives.
Problem: I feel pressure from my friends and family to eat more unhealthy foods.
Solution: Many times, the people around you have an effect on what you eat. Whether it’s the type of foods, or how much you eat, friends and family can be a good or bad influence on your eating habits. Keeping your goals in mind, and telling your friends and family about them, can help you stick with your healthy eating habits. You may even be a good influence on their eating as well. By being a positive role model for those around you, and encouraging them to try a healthy habit or two, could make a big difference. You can also try social activities that don’t centre around eating, like going for walks or hosting a game night.