Lead Us Not Into Temptation, Personal Circles and Pantry Games
Every day we’re faced with hundreds of decisions just related to food, many of the options less than healthy. Food temptations lurk around every corner……on our commute to and from work (fast food drive-thru), at work (donuts in the break room, candy dishes on our co-worker’s desk), and at home (chips and cookies in the pantry or on the kitchen counter). The scenarios are endless. The decisions and temptations continually bombard us, and we end up making many of our food-related decisions mindlessly. We don’t even realize that every time we walk by that co-worker’s desk, we grab a handful of M&M’s or a little bite-sized candy bar. We rationalize that we “deserve” a drive-thru dinner because we had a rough day. We mindlessly eat chips while watching TV at night.
We might not be able to control what others do relative to our nutrition (such as in our work environment) but we CAN control things within what I call our “Personal Circle.” Your “Personal Circle” is YOUR personal environment (YOUR home, YOUR desk or cubicle at work, YOUR car, YOUR commute route, etc.) - anything YOU have direct control over.
There are certain things we can easily change in our Personal Circle, to eliminate the number of unhealthy choices that we encounter in a single day. Your immediate environment, specifically your kitchen, is part of your Personal Circle. Start with your immediate environment, by creating a healthy home – a healthy kitchen and pantry for yourself.
Make a few changes in your kitchen to flip the switch and minimize the damage done by temptations!
Look at your kitchen and see if it’s helping or hurting your efforts at spiraling up towards healthy. Here are a few things to look for:
- Kitchen counters are organized.
- The only food on the kitchen counter is a fruit bowl.
- Pre-cut fruits and vegetables are on your middle refrigerator shelf in the front.
- At least 6 single servings of lean protein are in your refrigerator at any given time (eggs, yogurt, string cheese, etc.)
- Snacks are kept in one INCONVENIENT location in your cupboard or pantry where they are not immediately visible.
- Dinner plates are no larger than 9-10 inches wide.
- All food is eaten sitting at the kitchen table with the TV turned off.
- There are fewer than 2 cans of soda in your refrigerator at any one time (preferably no soda!)
- Salad and vegetables are served first before the main entrée, and starches are served last.
- The main dish is pre-plated and served from the stove or counter. Serving dishes are not brought to the table.
- After plating each meal, leftovers are immediately stored away so there are no seconds.
- Your pantry contains easy to prepare, healthy ingredients* for days when you don’t have time to cook.
*If you’re not sure about what constitutes healthy ingredients, why not make a game out of it? Using the NxtNutrio app on your smart phone, scan the barcodes of the foods currently in your home (pantry, cupboards, refrigerator and freezer) and see which ones pass as healthy. NxtNutrio rates each food with either a red “x” (unhealthy), a yellow question mark (caution), or a green check (acceptable). Scan the food items currently in your kitchen and keep a tally of the rating each food receives. It’s a simple way to gain insight into how healthy your foods really are. Make it even more fun by doing this activity with anyone else who shares your kitchen. Place bets on what rating you think each food item will get. Keep score. The “loser” has to make dinner! (A healthy dinner, of course!!)
In the future, use the NxtNutrio app when you grocery shop. It takes the guesswork out of grocery shopping, which leads to fewer temptations making their way into your home. Fewer temptations make it easier to control your “Personal Circle.”
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