If your New Year’s resolution is to eat healthier, there are some foods you’ll have to cut out of your diet, including products containing refined sugar, white carbohydrates, processed food and fried foods. As you begin to make changes to your diet, remember that it’s a process. Cutting foods cold turkey isn’t always the way to go and can cause cravings that will only lead you back into bad habits.
If you’re ready to cut unhealthy foods out of your diet but aren’t sure how to start, here are a few tips.
Start by reducing how much you eat of a particular food in a week. If you’re a sugar addict and have something sweet on a daily basis, try limiting yourself to one small sweet treat every other day or, better yet, on the weekends. Is fast food your vice? Rather than hitting the drive-through multiple times a week, allow yourself one day a week to grab a burger and fries. When you begin to put limits on yourself, you’ll learn to gain control over your cravings, which is key in saying “no” to unhealthy foods.
Did you know that by making simple replacements, you’d still be able to enjoy many of your favorite recipes? For example, steamed mashed vegetables using cauliflower or turnips make a healthy substitution for mashed potatoes. Avocado puree can replace butter, cup for cup, in baking recipes, and Greek yogurt can be substituted for mayonnaise and sour cream. These are just a few examples of the countless recipe swaps you can make so you can still enjoy your favorite foods but in a healthier way.
Make a goal for yourself with a non-food item as a reward when you achieve that goal. You might start by saying you’ll cut soda out of your diet. When you’ve made it three months without any soda, reward yourself with a mani/pedi or a new pair of shoes. It’s important to celebrate the smaller milestones along the way to achieving your bigger goal, whatever that may be.
For some people, the method of ripping off the bandage is easiest and less painful in the long run. For others, it takes time to slowly wean off of a particular unhealthy food. Whether you’re able to cut it out cold turkey or if you need a little more time, the object is to eventually completely eliminate certain foods from your diet to help you achieve your long-term health and wellness goals.
Remember, cutting unhealthy foods from your diet isn’t about restricting yourself so much as it is about opening the door to complete health. Many of the foods we eat not only cause us to gain weight but wreak havoc on our immune systems and hormones. By eliminating such foods, you will begin to feel better, have more energy and see the pounds start to melt away.