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3 food choice habits to borrow from a Health and Wellness Coach

Updated: Dec 14, 2021


We all know that we need to eat healthy foods to live in optimal health and wellness. Yet, making healthy food choices can be very difficult. Sunday morning can provide more flexibility with choices, when we are in a state of relaxation, looking forward to enjoying our time with family or friends when we have time to prepare a meal and take it slow when we eat.


But here comes Monday morning, and our frantic life starts, where there is no time to prepare healthy food, we feel stressed and guilty that we didn’t think of preparing something nourishing the night before. This cocktail of emotions can push even thinking about food to the back corner.


We can use many planning apps or cooking apps to help us reduce the time when sorting out our meal choices, but we often think about doing it, but we never do. Don’t feel bad about that. It happens to all of us. And that is why in today’s blog post I am going to give you 3 of my habits to follow when it comes to making healthy food choices. In addition, I created this downloadable 5 planning strategies to manage your time better in your day cheat sheet! to help you to have the time to make healthier food choices today!






How stress influences your decisions

The food industry is worth over US$8trillion! This is an insane amount of money, and a hard sum to imagine. But it tells us that there is a lot at stake when it comes to making food choices and that there is a lot of parties involved that want to influence that choice.


And we can be very easily persuaded, especially when it comes to food because we have a very emotional relationship with food. The biggest food companies employ the most skilled and experienced psychologists to help them to make you pick their product. Not that long time ago, it was all about marketing and packaging. Now the science got involved so you reach out for this brand of biscuits and not the other one.


It is very important that you realise that not all your decisions are your conscious selection. We are bombarded daily with food options but only because you went for the chips rather than an apple, doesn’t mean you are a bad person.


Of course, not only cleverly disguised marketing influences our decisions, individual biochemistry or our body’s ability to use more fat than glucose when it comes to energy conversion also play a role. Because you see, we rarely make a decision based on the knowledge we have. We make a decision based on the level of stress we are in.


After all, stress is a biological reaction, and the more stress on our nervous system, the poorer our health choices. Therefore, we need to develop healthy habits to help us to tap into that knowledge we have even when we are stressed. And what better way to do it than borrowing a healthy habit or two from a Health and Wellness Coach!



Habit #1 Be prepared

This goes without saying, really. When it comes to food choices, you are going to make a decision based on your emotional state at the time when you are making the decision. If you had a stressful day, maybe something happened that upset you, everything you learned about the health benefits of kale will go out the window because you will be seeking to comfort yourself rather than deliver that needed vitamin C. However, if you make a decision of what you would eat beforehand, you are avoiding the emotional rollercoaster to steer you in the wrong direction.


So, reserve some time over the weekend, plan your menu for the week, and go shopping with a grocery list full of healthy food choices.



Habit #2 Stock up your pantry

This goes with habit number 1. Surround yourself with nutritious foods, so when the decision time comes, you open a pantry and you have only a selection of healthy snacks. If you buy cookies, trust me, you are going to eat them. There isn’t such thing as willpower. When you remove the temptation from your sight, you are not going to be tempted. I am not suggesting you give up all your favourites, especially if you suffer from regular sugar cravings. I am suggesting that you are prepared when you feel like snacking on something. If you open your pantry and you have some healthy nuts and seeds, maybe some plant-based chocolate or corn kernels, you will select from what you see. Consistently replacing unhealthy processed foods, with healthy options will ensure you have only the best to pick from.


What is that one item that you know is not nourishing you?


What can you replace it with, so you still get the emotional benefits from eating it, but it will also support your health?


Repeat this exercise each time you go shopping and you will soon see a stock-up pantry with healthy choices.


Habit #3 Read labels

Really get into a habit of reading labels. For a quite long time, I used to buy muesli bars. They were in the health aisle, the packaging was saying they were healthy, so I bought them. But it wasn’t until I started to read the ingredients, that I found that that they are not that healthy after all. You may feel like reading labels takes a lot of time. And I agree, if you picked up an item where you have over twenty ingredients to read through, that can be time-consuming. But you don’t have to sift through them all to know that they are not good. As a general rule, I avoid anything that has more than five ingredients and especially if there are numbers, added sugars, or names I can’t pronounce.


Use this quick checklist:

Is the product fresh or processed?

If it is processed, how heavily is it processed? (Not a lot -e.g. sauerkraut, moderately – e.g. butter, a lot- packaged cake)

Does this product have five or more ingredients?

Can I pronounce all the ingredients from the ingredients list?



Conclusions

All those foods you see at the store are provided by food companies that benefit from your choice. This is of course a generalisation, but most of the options on the shelves are not there for your health but for your convenience. That is why your choice, matters and it should truly support you.

Making healthy food choices can be done. It will involve building some healthy habits so when it comes to the decision time you don’t rely on the level of stress in your nervous system but on the knowledge you have.


Borrow 3 healthy habits from a Health and Wellness Coach so next time you can make sure you are nourishing your body.


Acting spontaneously may be fun, but when it comes to food, we rely too much on our emotional state rather than our rational state. Prepared your food menu in advance, so no matter how stressful your day was, your food choice is not altered.


Removing temptation from your sight is half the battle. Surround yourself with products that are healthy and nutritious, so when the cravings come the only choice you will have will be a healthy choice.


There can be a lot of confusion around ingredients and what is good for us and what is not. Get into a habit of reading labels. Don’t trust that the product is healthy only because it says so on the front. Check if the ingredients list supports that claim.


You matter and your health matters. To live in optimal health and wellness is to consciously make healthy food choices. So, what are you going to do today to make this happen?



Have you got your 5 planning strategies to manage your time better in your day cheat sheet! , so you can find more time yet? Download it here.


Having problems with managing your stress? Go on: www.annadoktor.com.au to find out more about Anna Doktor Wellness Coaching and how I can help you to beat the overwhelm once and for all. Alternatively, send me an email at anna@annadoktor.com.au or call to have a chat to see how we can work together tel: 0498016440.



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