Are you trying to eat healthier but can’t imagine the thought of giving up your favorite foods? Well, one way to obtain a healthier diet is to increase the proportion of healthy foods you eat, while continuing to eat some of your favorite – but less healthy – foods in smaller portions. When you fill up on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and water, your cravings for junk foods will slowly subside. Not to mention, when you’re satiated and full, you tend to snack less.
Otherwise known as “crowding in” healthy foods and “crowding out” junk foods, this approach to healthy eating focuses on adding in nutritious foods. It doesn’t mean you can never have indulgences, it simply means you’ll naturally have less of them. Adding in new foods and habits should be a gradual process, so you should pick one or two new items to focus on each week. After several weeks, you’ll have a full menu of nutritious options and making better choices will become second nature.
Here are 12 tips to help you get started with crowding out:
This can seem like a no-brainer but sometimes it’s easy to mistake thirst for hunger. Drink a glass of water and wait several minutes to see if you still actually feel hungry.
Begin with a healthier breakfast
Do you normally start your day off with a doughnut or muffin? Start off your morning off with a smoothie bowl, eggs, or fruit and Greek yogurt. Then enjoy half of your muffin or doughnut if you are still craving it.
Choose fruit over juice
Enjoy the taste of your favorite juice by eating a serving of fruit instead. While juice contains fruit, it lacks the healthy fiber that comes along with eating a whole piece of fruit. The fiber will help keep you full for longer.
Add a salad
Enjoy a green salad with your lunch and dinner. You’ll get extra vitamins, fiber, and anti-oxidants and it will help you fill up with nutritious foods. For a flavor pop and healthy bonus, make your own salad dressing and experiment with healthy toppings.
Make better beverage choices
Swap out one soda a day for water or seltzer. Do you love flavored lattes? They can be loaded with sugar and unwanted calories. To make it healthier, order a small and request 1 – 2 pumps of syrup. Here are some other easy ways to make healthier beverage choices.
Prep healthy snacks
Buy nuts, fruit, low-sugar granola, and yogurt and take them along with you for healthy snacks. Use small containers or plastic baggies to hold single servings of your grab-and-go nibbles. Measure perfect portions with your Precision Digital Kitchen Scale, the recessed platform keeps small items contained without the need of a plate. It is accurate to 0.1 ounce or 1 gram, ensuring you don’t overindulge in your snacks.
Have some soup
Start your meal off with a broth based, vegetable soup. You’ll get a bowl that’s packed with nutrition but easy on calories. A study by Penn State shows that you’ll eat less overall when you start your meal with soup.
Seek traditional pasta and rice alternatives
Do you love rice or pasta? Choose healthier versions such as brown or black rice over white, whole grain or bean pasta over plain, or choose a veggie alternative, such as riced cauliflower or zucchini noodles. If you aren’t quite ready to switch over, try a 50/50 blend to help you get used to the taste.
Choose whole grains
When buying bread, English muffins, or cereal, choose a 100% whole grain version. You will get more vitamins and fiber without really noticing a big difference in taste.
Try cooking something new
Try a new food, whether it’s a new vegetable, fruit, or whole grain. If you normally eat rice, try quinoa or farro. Check out the farmers market or produce section for seasonal vegetables and fruits, as produce tastes best when it’s fresh.
Spice things up
Meals won’t seem boring or bland when seasoned. A healthy dinner doesn’t mean a piece of plain grilled chicken! Try experimenting with different spices and herbs to make your meals more palate pleasing. You’re less likely to want other foods when you had a satisfying dinner.
When you are craving dessert, enjoy a square of dark chocolate or fresh fruit with a dab of whipped cream. When you really just want cake or cookies or are planning dessert for a special occasion, make them yourself. You can select healthier ingredients and still enjoy delicious treats! We have some great ideas on our blog.
When you are trying to live a healthier lifestyle, making smaller changes is less daunting than drastic changes. Crowding in healthy foods ensures that you eat wholesome nutritious foods, while leaving just enough room for your favorite indulgences!