Eating Healthy is Simple With a System

Every method out there to help you eat healthy serves a certain purpose. However, your approach to eating and fitness dictates which purposes you need to employ in the first place.

Methods for an “eat to live” person will be very different than those for a “live to eat” person. Similarly, if you struggle with cravings, your best approach likely won’t work well for someone who struggles with feeling hungry all of the time.

Today I’d like to share with you 3 simple changes I have made in the kitchen.

Measuring Cups

In a house with 1 or 2 people typically cooking, you would think 1 set of measuring spoons and cups would get the job done. But in my situation (a house of 5 cooks), I found myself searching for that evasive 1/4 cup or 1/2 cup  or tablespoon measure.

So, I went out and got 2 more sets of measuring cups and spoons.  Whether you track your foods like I do or not, actually measuring out your portion sizes is useful. You can match it to the serving size on the package (example: my Trader Joe’s Muesli has a serving size of 1/4 cup) and actually know what’s going down the hatch. When I go to enter a food in my tracking app, that serving size usually pops up first. One little thing that makes my life a bit easier.

Lastly, I promise you, your eyeballing abilities are not as good as you may think. With higher calorie foods such as mixed nuts, trail mix, oils, you may think you’re getting a smaller amount, and then wondering why your healthy diet efforts don’t translate to your pant size.  I’m not telling you to go out and measure your foods by the gram on a kitchen scale – just scoop it out with a measuring spoon and know what’s going in your body.

My point: Measuring your portions with measuring cups and spoons helps you track your food better and it doesn’t make you a “crazy nutrition guru person”. Also, your portion estimation skills stink.

PS. You don’t need to pay more than $1 for your set of measuring spoons. Head to your local Dollar Tree a scoop up a deal.

​Location Location Location

I work upstairs on my computer. I feel hungry. I pause the TV and I go downstairs and make food. I return upstairs and sit at my computer and resume my TV show. There’s plenty of studies that say you should eat at a designated area and that you should not eat in front of the TV or computer because that is “distracted eating”.  I’m not going to tell you not to do that.

I’m full-on for Intuitive Eating (it’s on our coffee table) and am able to pay attention to my hunger cues whether I’m watching Revenge or staring at my plate. So, in my opinion, keep on keepin’ on with your distracted eating if it’s not contributing to unhealthy binging behaviors (be honest with yourself).

I’ve tried sitting down at the kitchen table to eat, and honestly I think the chairs are too uncomfortable. Instead, sometimes I choose the couch (with the pup right beside me), sometimes our bar-height counter, sometimes outside on the porch. And sometimes I settle back in front of my computer and Hulu. But the variety makes eating a more prominent part of my day, which I think helps me feel more fulfilled (and full) and enjoy the food more.

My point: Switching up the location of where you eat surprises your brain, allows you to focus on the moment, and maybe feel a bit more satiated.

​Subtle Upgrades

This idea goes along with the location swap idea. Do you find yourself making peanut butter toast, or scrambled eggs, or turkey sandwiches over and over again? I can usually eat the same thing for 2 weeks before needing something new. There’s nothing wrong with repeating meals (as long as they are part of a balanced diet). It can make grocery shopping easier and reduces your daily decisions by n, where is the number of eating episodes per day.

But, subtle upgrades like a new spice (Creole seasoning is my current fav), a new topping, or a two-part meal upset the routine and (like switching locations) can have a positive effect on your perception of the meal.

My point: Rotating favorites throughout your menu arsenal is great, but don’t forget about adding a new spice, topping, or other addition.

Adding halved pearl tomatoes with sea salt on top of my cheesy Creole scrambled eggs (while sitting on the couch) was my lunch today. Other ideas? Add fruit to your peanut butter toast, or spread that stuff on a new grain (I’ve heard crispbreads are all the rage). For a two-fer, cut up some fruit or vegetables and put in a separate dish from your main plate. Decide which one you’ll eat first, and revel in your rebellion.

Do you do any of these ideas? Do you have others? I’d love to hear.

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