I’m a salty snack lover. I’ll admit it. Cakes, candy, and other sweets have no hold over me. But put a bag of Doritos or cheddar popcorn or a savory appetizer in front of me, and I’m done. That’s the stuff that I crave. It’s bad for everyone, but I have blood pressure that borders on high and already have a little bit of extra “cushion” on me. So it’s bad for everyone, but it’s playing with fire for me if I go overboard. So one of the first things I did this month is get rid of my stash of junk food in my kitchen cupboard.
I threw away stale chips, candy from Christmas (it’s July…), dip for other chips, and more. And I removed my Girl Scout cookies and took them to work to share. Everyone wins.
I replaced them with nuts, dried fruit, and upped the veggies and hummus, fresh fruit, and yogurt I keep in my fridge.
Reflecting on that decision, it has had a profound impact:
- I had gotten into a habit of buying snacks on my way home often and including them as a dessert of sort post-meals. It took a few days for me to stop wandering the snack aisle mournfully, but the urge did subside.
- I started buying more healthy snacks to have on hand and actually eating them. One weekend I cut up a bunch of carrots, celery, and cucumber to eat with hummus and, between my husband and I, we finished a large container of fresh veggies that week, on top of our typically healthy meals.
- That’s the other thing…without junk food as an easy thing to grab in a moment of hungry desperation, I started actually using everything I purchased at the grocery store. “I’m hungry. What can I eat? Oh, there’s lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, half a red onion, olives, and feta. Perfect. An easy Greek salad.” I started noticing I wasn’t throwing out nearly as many fresh ingredients. My mindset shifted to using the ingredients I had that would spoil (aka fresh, healthy foods).
- I started drinking less. Beer and salty foods go together. Period. Plus, once you start putting good food into your body, you feel the difference and alcohol seems to negate that difference for me if I go overboard.
- My skin has improved. This could be due to better food (and therefore more nutrition) and the fact that I’ve been hydrating more.
Overall, it seems to be that out of sight does equal out of mind. I’m not going to say that I haven’t indulged in some cheesy popcorn, but it’s been because it’s what I wanted for a snack, not a meal. I’ve significantly cut down on processed food, and the difference is clear.
What’s your guilty pleasure?