We can all come up with dozens of excuses for loading up on unhealthy foods. But it’s just as easy to load up on good-for-you eats as it is to reach for something calorie-laden and full of salt or sugar. You’ve got reasons for why you can’t eat healthy; we have solutions:
I don’t have time to eat healthy. In the time it takes to hit that fast-food drive-through, you can slice a pint of strawberries, cut up a carrot and pop some grapes into the freezer. Use your Sunday afternoon to prepare several Mason jar salads to take for lunch during the week. Or bite into an apple; it’s just as easy as chomping down on a donut.
I’ll start being healthy _____ (at some unspecified date in the future). You know the drill: Tomorrow will turn into next week; that’ll morph into next month. Before you know it, months will pass and you’ll still be eating French fries with every meal. Start now and see benefits sooner. But don’t try to make major changes overnight. Start with small steps to build healthier habits that last.
Someone brought goodies to the office. Pass on the pizza, and keep cravings at bay by digging into your healthy snacks stash. If you do swipe a red velvet cupcake, take the stairs at work and walk on your lunch break.
I already slipped today. You’re not perfect. Nobody is. Plan now for tomorrow. And keep portable snacks like fruit, nuts and popcorn on hand to save yourself from hitting the vending machine when the 3 o’clock snack break rolls around.
It’s a special occasion. We don’t begrudge anyone a little indulgence on one of those special occasions—hello, summer cookout!—but special days roll around a lot, and celebrating in excess will lead you to pack on the pounds. Besides, you can plan ahead for healthy special meals. Sweeten birthday pastries with applesauce instead of sugar. Use fruits, nuts and oatmeal as the main ingredients in your holiday cookies.
It’s hard to find healthier options when eating out. More and more restaurants are offering healthier options—if you know what to look for. Peruse menus online before you go out. Skip the all-you-can-eat buffet. Ask about substitutions. Share portions with your dinner companion or save half for tomorrow’s lunch.
I’m stressed. We get it: You’re juggling a lot—caring for a sick parent and putting in extra hours at work, and now it’s your turn to staff the volunteer book sale at your son’s school. When there aren’t enough hours in a day, comfort food has you on speed dial. Big stresses, like losing a job or a scary health diagnosis, can also push you to overeat—even when you’re not hungry. Instead of reaching for chips, try these destress tips: take a walk, get a massage or meditate.