Let’s face it, everybody has certain foods that they are drawn to, crave, and will eat them even when full because they taste so good. They mostly fall into the salty, sweet, boozy, and fatty categories. Have you even known any-one who binged on salad? If you want to improve your overall health, and maintain a weight that feels good, it is important to know what your trigger foods are, and decide how to handle them. Here is my list:
THE TRIPLE THREAT: WINE, CHEDDAR CHEESE, AND SALTY CRACKERS
When I am feeling cranky, frustrated, bored, angry, or tired, wine, cheese and crackers are my go-to comfort foods, or should I say discomfort foods. After my husband died suddenly, I would come home to an empty house with no one to eat dinner with, and turn to these foods. I have found I can’t keep these three items in my house. However, I will eat them occasionally at a party, or order a glass of wine and a cheese plate at a restaurant (where portions are more controlled.)
I no longer walk through the supermarket aisle that contains heavily processed salty snacks, because all of them taste good to me. Instead, I pop my own popcorn a few times a week, using a limited amount of good quality oil and some sea salt.
I don’t keep them in my house. Sometimes I will eat them at a party or a restaurant, where I am not going to embarrass myself by eating six brownies. I so rarely eat sweets that I have begun to lose a taste for them. Substitute a dish of berries with yogurt, a frozen banana drizzled with maple syrup, or a baked apple for something sweet.
PROCESSED FOODS IN GENERAL
Any food that comes in a bag, box, jar, or can with a long shelf life and has many additives, or artificial ingredients that your body does not recognize, and will store as fat, qualifies as this category. Diet and regular soft drinks, low-fat salad dressings, just about all cereals, and canned fruit are examples. Artificial sweeteners should be avoided. Beware of things marketed as healthy, but are not. I don’t buy products that advertise themselves as diet, low-fat, or reduced calories.
I would love to have a quart of Brigham’s chocolate chip in my freezer that I would only eat a teaspoon at a time now and then. Some people can do this, I can’t, and don’t any more.
Most of my favorite restaurants are Italian. I haven’t totally eliminated this type of food. However, I snub the white bread slathered with butter, no longer flirt with Alfredo sauces, and say no to the fresh-baked cannoli. I will order a moderate portion of something like vegetable lasagna, and take half of it home.
If they are salted, I can eat a whole can of nuts in one sitting. I now choose unsalted nuts, measure ¼ of a cup and place them in a snack-sized bag to transport with me for what I call a ‘snack attack’. Crunchy and satisfying, this trick has saved me from buying junk food late in the afternoon.
I especially like fried chicken, French fries, and onion rings. To curb eating too much, I will dine at a neighborhood restaurant about three times a month, and order the small size of wings (which is only four), eat the carrots and celery, call it a meal and I am satisfied.
I can’t manage a small portion of candy without going back for more, So I don’t keep any in my house.
ANYTHING COOKED WITH BUTTER
I substitute extra virgin olive oil for butter. I will bake vegetables in the oven, instead of steaming them.
COCKTAILS AND BAR FOOD NIBBLES
As scary for me as lions and tigers and bears. Oh my! So I stay completely away. At a party, be sure to stay in conversation with people as much as possible because eating and talking are hard to to at the same time. Eat a healthy snack or meal before, and decide ahead of time what kind of drink you will have and how many, as alcohol can cloud your judgement
I do not make these at home, but sometimes will go to a Mexican restaurant and eat a small portion of chips with guacamole and salsa as a meal.
No thank you. I’ll always pine for you, but know we can’t stay together.
What are your binge foods, and how can you manage them? This is a crucial question when embarking on a weight loss plan, or maintaining your weight. For me, I had to eliminate some of these foods, but with others I have changed the amount I eat, substituted items that are healthier, changed how often I eat them, or how I prepare them. I have failed at many weight loss programs by trying to eliminate them all, and then eating a large amount, and deciding to abandon my plan. Avoid the all or nothing approach and you will live a long and healthy life.