Small Ways to Make Big Changes

With all the social pressure to take better care of ourselves, a lot of us are finding it difficult to break old eating habits and create and sustain new, healthier ways. I use the methods that are offered below and have found that they help a great deal in making these changes stick.

Clean out the Kitchen
Sometimes the best way to avoid temptation is to keep it out of the house. Go through your food stores (pantry, fridge, freezer) and get rid of the things that should not be in your diet. Food pantries will appreciate the donation of dry or canned goods.

I removed milk chocolate, white rice, wheat flour pastas, and other items that are bad for the diabetic diet. Over time I find that I want them less and less, having other foods on hand instead.

Keep Fresh Goodies on Hand
Keep fruits and veggies on hand, washed and ready to eat. Keeping them in the front of the fridge makes them handy to grab when you are looking for a snack.

I have a hard time keeping fruits fresh, as I forget they are in my kitchen. Instead, I tend to slice and dice melons, bananas, and other produce into portions and store them in the front of the fridge. When I want a nibble, I can lay hands on these snack-packs quickly and easily feeding the instant gratification urge as well.

Enjoy your Food
Take the time to sit down for your meals. Make sure to breathe in between bites and savor the flavors. Wolfing food down because you are in a hurry is bad for your digestion. In additional, the longer it takes to chew your food, the more calories you will burn, and the more time your body has to register fullness.

I am a foodie, so slowing down wasn’t an ordeal for me. I don’t care for eating on the run as I like to feel the textures and taste the flavors as they go down. Eating too fast overloads the system before you know the food is in your stomach, and used to cause me a lot of overeating troubles. Sadly, smoothies are off my diet as the food is essentially pre-masticated, taking away the enjoyment of chewing as well as the additional calories burned by the action. I also drink tea or water with my meals to fill in the chinks, as it were. The fluids will cause certain foods to expand and give you a fuller sensation.

Use Smaller Plates
Rather than smaller portions on large dinner plates, which psychologically makes you feel like you are getting less than you are, use smaller plates so that the visual que is telling you that you have more food. This practice will leave you feeling more satisfied when you’ve finished, even though it’s simply a trick of the mind.

Crunch!
Research has indicated that crunchy textures relieve aggressive tensions, and help you feel more satisfied. Celery, pickles, raw apples, and leafy green salads all provide satisfying crunch to a snack or a meal.

Don’t Drink Cold
drinking cold or iced drinks with hot meals can be a shock to your system and cause your digestive tract to fail in it’s primary function. Room temperature or cool drinks are better to consume with meals than cold or iced drinks. Hot tea or lemon water is even better with hot meals as the temperature changes within the body as you swallow are not as drastic, and the warmth invigorates the digestive system.

This was a difficult change for me, I admit. I noticed a difference in my personal weight loss when I stopped drinking iced drinks with meals, and that has spurred me on to maintain the practice of having warm or room temperature drinks with meals. Iced tea for me is relegated to in between meals when all I want is something to drink.

These little tricks to bettering your diet have worked for me to greater and lesser degrees. Try them out and see if they don’t help you, too.

— Ann Cathey

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