Dear Lea: All I want to do in life is eat junk. My religious organization has a drawer filled with junk food and I can’t seem to stop eating stuff from it. There are chocolates, chips, cookies, old cookies, christmas cookies, more cookies, and you name it. I just love eating from that drawer. How can I stop? –AM
Many people find themselves in situations where it is difficult to avoid the temptation of eating junk foods. It is great that you are inspired to change how you eat in general or in this particular situation.
As you may have already guessed, poor eating can often be dealt with by changing behaviors as well as learning what food choices are healthy. Here are some suggestions for you:
- Make sure that when you arrive there you are not hungry. Have a healthy snack or meal prior to going to your class or event. Including a healthy protein in your snack or meal will keep you from feeling hungry. You may be able to eat less of these unhealthy foods if you are not hungry.
- Volunteer to do some of the shopping for your center or volunteer to help the person in charge of shopping so that you can ensure there will be healthier choices. See how other participants feel about having healthier foods. This may be encouraging!
- If you can rule out physical hunger, be brave and take a look at what may be triggering you to over-eat when you are in this specific situation. Ask yourself if emotions are causing you to eat more. Are you feeling any type of stress when you are there?
- Focus on the social aspect of your experience there and spend time talking with people rather than staying close to the food.
- Make yourself a cup of tea or another healthy beverage so you have something to be sipping on so you will slow down the eating aspect.
I hope some of these suggestions work for you. The healthiest snacks include fresh and dried fruit, veggies, hummus, whole grain and less processed carbs, crackers and cookies. You can get more good suggestions for healthy snack foods from the Tasteful Pantry website!
Lea Basch is a registered dietitian and has been in the nutrition industry for over 30 years, most of which she spent at Longmont United Hospital in Boulder, Colorado, where she was one of the founders of the facility’s nutrition program. Longmont’s Planetree philosophy of caring for the body, mind and spirit of patients is very much in line with Lea’s interest in both traditional and alternative therapies for treating chronic illnesses. Gluten-intolerant herself, Lea now focuses much of her time on the latest research and issues relating to gluten-free diets and other food intolerances. She is a diabetes educator and is a Registered Dietitian with the American Dietetic Association. Lea’s lifelong passion has been combining the science of nutrition with the heart that it takes to change lifelong habits.
Lea received her BS and MS in Nutrition and Dietetics at Florida International University and BA in Education at University of Florida. Ask Lea your most pressing nutrition questions at Lea@tastefulpantry.com