How To Trick Yourself Into Eating Healthy

by Sportitude
16 Oct 2017

It’s no secret – it’s tricky to eat healthy in a busy lifestyle. The convenience of a pre-packaged snacks or whatever your guilty pleasure is can be too tempting to ignore when we want a quick fix to fuel our bodies.

Hitting the recommended 5 serves of veggies and 2 serves of fruit per day can seem an impossible task. Let’s face it, it’s all too easy to turn our nose up at healthier options when we’re craving something sweet.

Committing to eating healthy doesn’t have to be as difficult as it sounds. You’re probably thinking “yeah, right!” but before you give up on the idea, try our 5 easy tricks for a healthier you. Your brain might not even catch on that you’re eating healthy!

Time to give you the low-down while snacking on chocolate…. don’t judge, it’s dark chocolate, not to mention homemade and refined sugar free. We’re all human after all.

Be Sneaky

Does your partner or flatmate have a secret stash of snacks you’re not supposed to know about? The 3pm munchies hit and you’re desperate, but is it seriously worth the effort of turning the place upside down for that salty or sweetness fix?

Making it that little bit more difficult for yourself to snack might be the difference between all-out gluttony and enjoying the satisfying crunch of an apple.

It can be as simple as hiding the naughty snacks at the back of the fridge. Out of sight, out of mind, yeah?

In the same line of thinking, leaving a fruit bowl where you know you’re going to see it may help curb your habits towards healthier eating, giving you that nudge to reach for a banana rather than getting your hands caught in the cookie jar.

Bake Smart

Is baking more your game? The smell of baked goodies wafting from the oven is a treat for our nose and taste buds. To take the edge off the guilt, it’s time to bake smart.

Cut down on calories by substituting applesauce or Greek yoghurt in the place of fats like butter and oil.

Try substituting the measurement of oil for the equivalent measurement of applesauce (1 tablespoon of applesauce instead of 1 tablespoon of oil) or 3/4 measurement of Greek yoghurt. 1 cup of butter can be substituted for 1/2 a cup of butter and 1/4 cup of yoghurt.

The consistency and taste of the final product may differ in comparison to high fat goodies. However, it’s a wonderful way to acclimatise your taste buds to new, healthier options.

From experience, adding Greek yoghurt to muffin batter results in a super moist, finger-lickin’ good muffins.

Hiding fruit and veggies in your favourite desserts is another option. Whip up sweet potato or black bean brownies and apple and oat muffins to inject your sweet pleasure with wholesome goodness. Add mashed banana or sweet potato into pancake batter, or avocado into chocolate mousse.

Have fun experimenting in the kitchen!

Trick Your Eyes

Remember those old optical illusion books you stared at for hours as a kid? By selecting your plates wisely, you curb your habits into healthier eating simply by tricking your eyes.

An equal portion of food on a small plate appears much larger than when it’s on a larger plate. Why? It’s a matter of comparison.

With less empty space on the plate, the food on it seems to take up more room and thus, appears to be a larger serving.

In this way, you can trick your brain into believing you’re eating more and feeling satisfied with less calories simply by allowing smaller plates to dictate the size of your portions.

Eat Mindfully

It’s super easy to lose count of how much calories you’re consuming when you're curled up for a movie marathon. Block of chocolate? Bag of potato chips? You name it, we’ve all done it.

You’re not alone in your secret indulgences. After all, who can stop at just one chip?

Eating mindfully may be the answer. Use your sensors and savour every bite. Before popping that salty or sweet treasure in your mouth, truly appreciate the aroma and be in the moment.

What’s it taste like? What's the texture like? Is it smooth, crunchy, salty or sweet? How do you feel when you’re eating it?

Eating can be an emotional experience. Eat slowly and chew thoroughly. Making it last longer and being mindful of the aroma, taste and texture may do wonders in keeping you feeling satisfied.

Enjoy a snack…. Later

It’s never a good idea to deny yourself of your favourite snacks completely. You’ll just crave them more. A small indulgence once in a while will help you keep on board of your healthy lifestyle choices the remainder of the time.

When the cravings hit, tell yourself "I’ll have a snack later". Have a glass of water instead to put something in your stomach. When later comes, you might just not be in the mood anymore, and your brain never has to be the wiser.

Choose Wisely

Check nutritional information as you shop and use it to guide your decisions to make beneficial lifestyle choices. But wait... what's the trick in that?

If you keep at it, this mindful shopping may turn it into a healthy ritual that you'll do on auto-pilot.

You'll be loving your body back and enjoying a kitchen and pantry full of nutritional goodies in no time.

This may mean weighing up one pasta sauce, cracker packet or whatever it may be against other brands, and selecting that with the higher fibre and lower sugar, lower sodium and bad saturated fat content.

Another great way to avoid buying the wrong snacks is to never go grocery shopping on an empty stomach. If you shop after you've had a meal, the sugary cookies and salty treats won't be as appealing and, better yet, it's much easier to skip the snack aisles altogether.