Looking For Healthy Ways To Indulge? Read These Tips
The struggle between sticking to a strict healthy diet and enjoying some of the more indulgent food dishes is a challenge that everyone, even the healthiest of people, experiences at one time or another. Though they’re usually full of sweet, fatty, and salty treats, holidays, celebrations and special occasions don’t have to interfere with your personal health and wellness goals. Read on for tips on how to let yourself indulge from time to time without completely breaking your healthy eating habits.
Plan ahead of time
When it comes to healthy late-night snacks, it’s a lot easier to make a more nutritious choice when you’ve set yourself up for success ahead of time. When you’re meal planning or grocery shopping for the week, think about how often you find yourself looking for a snack between meals and make sure you have healthy and easy-to-grab snacks on hand, such as pieces of fruit, chopped vegetables, and hummus, nuts, or whole-grain protein bites.
Fill up first
You’re a lot more likely to overdo it with indulgent snacks and treats when they’re the first things you put on your plate. When you’re feeling hungry, find a way to nourish your body first and satisfy your cravings second. Pile up your plate with steamed vegetables before grabbing a piece of pizza, or eat a bowl of fruit before you take your first bite of birthday cake. The more you already have in your stomach, and the more you’ve responded to your hunger cues with nourishing, healthful food, the less likely you are to overindulge on unhealthy snacks you have available.
Make healthy swaps
Though your favorite foods are your favorites for a reason, it’s a good idea to make compromises once in a while. When a sweet or salty craving strikes, think of alternatives to some of your favorite indulgences. There are numerous snacks, meals, and treats that can appease your cravings and nourish your body at the same time. Try skipping over your favorite pint of ice cream in favor of a frozen banana treat that may satisfy the same craving without the extra fat, calories, and added sugars.
Use fewer extras
If you’re accustomed to adding three pumps of simple syrup to your coffee in the morning, try adding just two. If you typically dump butter and maple syrup all over your pancakes at Sunday brunch, try skipping the butter and using less syrup. Sometimes the easiest way to make your daily habits a little healthier is by finding ways to make the things you’re already eating just a little bit healthier without keeping it off your plate completely.
Practice portion control
Cravings are bound to happen, and indulgences are part of living a good, well-rounded life. Sometimes it’s less about complete deprivation and more about moderation. When eating a meal or snack, try plating your food on a smaller dish to trick your brain into thinking you are eating more than you actually are. As well, check the nutritional label and only dish out a single serving of your favorite snacks, and make sure to put it in a bowl or on a plate to avoid eating straight out of the container or bag.
Find another way
Cravings are typically purely psychological, so when you’re really trying to stick to a healthy diet, look for another way to treat yourself. There are a number of ways you can trigger and satisfy the reward centers of your brain that have nothing to do with food at all. Rather than eat a chocolate bar or a bag of potato chips, take a warm bath, play a game or call a friend and get together.
Experiencing cravings and the desire to indulge just makes you human. There’s no need to judge or shame yourself for wanting a bowl of ice cream or a bag of salty chips. Accept indulgences as part of a balanced lifestyle. The more you allow yourself to indulge, the more sustainable a healthy diet and routine will be in the long run.
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