Eat Better Habits – Kitchen overhaul

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Set up your kitchen for success

Being in a good environment helps us keep our eating on track. Just imagine how difficult it would be to eat well if we lived in a cake shop!

So how can you make your kitchen an Eat Better friendly and helpful environment as possible?

“If it’s in the kitchen, at some point it will get used”.

Basics of a good kitchen

Keep healthy stuff near and convenient

Make it as easy as possible to do and choose the right things. Why make it any harder for yourself than it needs to be?

Keep unhealthy stuff out of sight and inconvenient

Make sure you have to jump through a few hoops to do and choose the less healthy things. If they are not helping you in your new lifestyle, you don’t need it near you. Sometimes just the inconvenience of getting to it is enough to buy you extra time for the craving to wear off.

Traffic light foods

What are Red, Yellow and Green foods?

Red foods/drinks

These are just bad news for you. Maybe you are a sucker for them, or you can easily overindulge in them. At the time, the eating maybe so good you crave these foods but afterwards you may feel sick, bloated or lethargic. You know these are your triggers, yet you fall for them all the time.

Red = Nope! Or at the very least, very rarely on very special occasions.

Yellow foods/drinks

These are foods/drinks that can sometimes be ok, sometimes not. Maybe you can control yourself around them in certain situations or at certain times, but other times you need to be careful.

Yellow = Caution! Be careful. Only ok for an occasional treat.

Green foods/drinks

These are foods that are nutritious and make you feel good physically and emotionally. You can control yourself around these and you are in charge. They don’t exert a hold over you.

Green = Get stuck in! These should be the backbone of almost all your meals.

Organisation and systems in your kitchen

Stocked kitchen shelves

Some simple systems in your kitchen help you eat better more of the time. Just some of these systems include:

Prioritising visibility

Using the traffic light system above, make sure food you want to eat regularly is stored front and centre in the kitchen. If that bowl of fruit is hidden away out of sight, you can bet it will just end up rotting!

Store your yellow and red foods out of sight. If they are in those ‘harder to reach places’ requiring a long-handled implement or for you to crawl into darker places to reach them, you might be surprised how tempting that fruit bowl looks!

Delaying your immediate access to these foods can help you make more considered, less reactionary choices which is the basis of shifting your habits. Doing this more of the time will help you embed new, healthier habits.

Planning your food shopping

The food industry and supermarkets want you to buy stuff. Lots of stuff – and not always the healthy stuff. So they make it easy for you, tempting you by offering marketing deals and money off options and with fancy displays enticing you to try stuff… we all get sucked in, some of the time.

A shopping list prepared in advance when you are in a happy mood with lots of willpower can help you avoid the temptations and marketing traps. The trick is to stick to you shopping list when you are shopping. Don’t let yourself get tempted, even if it is “a bargain”!

And we hear you shout, ‘HOW do we do that?”

Choose when you shop

If you have planned your food and shopping list when you are in a happy, positive mood, shopping when you are also in a positive mood is a good idea!

Go shopping when you are at your most resilient! We know that is sometimes easier said when we are all busy, but try and avoid shopping when you are hangry (anger driven by hunger – ask Anna!!), just hungry, upset, or in any other mood that is likely to distract you from your list.

Another good idea if you know you are likely to be tempted is to shop with a friend or partner who is briefed on your list!

Why not take advantage of online shopping – it is easier to minimise temptation when you can add your list to your online account and have your shopping delivered or collect it already ‘shopped’. It helps take some of the emotion out of your choices.

Prepare in advance

“Failing to prepare is preparing to fail…”

One of the great attractions of junk food is it’s convenience. After a hard day in work, or at home often it is just too much effort to think about what to eat let alone prepare and cook it!

So top tips to help you make better choices:

  • plan your good food for the coming week when you are in a positive mood – your meals and your shopping
  • cook up batches of food you can then stick in the freezer/fridge
  • prepare your veggies and fruit by cutting them up and storing them ready to eat at a moment’s notice.

To help you plan ahead, click here to learn more

Homework

Use the following template and take it around your kitchen. Follow the instructions and give your kitchen an overhaul!

You can either:

click to download homework pdf