Crowding out foods

Foods in balanceThe first thing peo­ple do when they decide they need to go on a diet is start to think of all the foods they can’t eat any­more.  We usu­ally form it in our minds like that, too.  “This food has to go for­ever.  I bet­ter get as much as I can right now.”

We believe that the food is the sole cause of all this weight.  “If only I could stop eat­ing xyz, I could lose weight.”

It is not long before a depri­va­tion mind­set begins.  We start to think of all the things we can’t have, aren’t good for us, “oh, yeah.  I ate a bag of those yes­ter­day.”  In real­ity, any expert in food or nutri­tion is going to tell you that you can eat what you want, you just have to use moderation.

We, as American’s, aren’t so good with this con­cept of mod­er­a­tion.  We want it all, we want it now and we don’t think there is enough to go around.  So we bet­ter get it while we can. This adds to our grow­ing obe­sity con­cerns in this country.

Another, more mod­er­ate, approach is crowd­ing out “unhealthy” foods.  Crowd­ing out foods is a tech­nique that starts with putting healthy foods into your meals to make less room for the foods that don’t pro­mote health.

Fill up on whole grains, fruits and veg­eta­bles before you reach for the some­thing you might regret.  There is no man­date that you don’t eat potato chips.  Have potato chips if you life.  Just have an apple, car­rot sticks or oat­meal first.  When plan­ning your meal make sure to have lots of veg­etable options to put on the plate along with the mac­a­roni and cheese you love.

Each choice to eat a whole food before a processed food takes you one step closer to eat­ing bet­ter. The depri­va­tion is gone because you don’t need to stop your­self from eat­ing what you love.  You are only adding to your food and mak­ing less room for a day of eat­ing poorly. As you crowd-out the unhealthy choices and eat them less, you might even find they aren’t as sat­is­fy­ing as they once were.

Change one meal at a time.  Put a pile of salad on your plate next to your pro­tein.  You will get your greens along with the rich­ness of the meat.  You feel sat­is­fied and get your needs met. Chang­ing how you eat hap­pens one choice at a time.  What are you choos­ing to eat today?


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