UNITED STATES—Why is it when it comes to grabbing a quick snack that we always reach for junk food? It’s something I ask myself time and time again, and continue to grapple with when it comes to eating healthy. It’s like when you enter the grocery store the number of junk items is multiplied by thousands.
So what can we do as a society to curb back our intake of junk foods? Think about where you shop. I’ve become quite accustomed to shopping at the local farmer’s market and specialty food stores. I know what many of you are thinking, it cost so much money to shop at those specialty stores.
While true to some aspect, it depends solely on how you shop. Try not shopping when you have nothing in your fridge or cabinet, purchase items over a period of time. Purchase your fruits, purchase your veggies and purchase those pantry items in intervals.
The one issue that is a concern for most Americans is the shelf life of many fruits and vegetables. They just don’t last long in the fridge, which means if you’re not eating them you’re likely going to waste the items. Hey, I’m speaking from personal experience as I’ll load up on the good stuff to see myself throwing things out because I didn’t consume them in the appropriate time frame.
When it comes to junk food, a bag of potato chips could last for weeks, the same applies to cookies and candy and other items loaded with salt, fat and sugar. While I will never tell a person not to indulge in junk food (cause let’s face it we all do it at some point), the key is to remember moderation is key. If you have a bag of candy, it’s not wise to eat the entire bag in one sitting.
Perhaps we take a handful and that’s it! It’s easier said than done. I will acknowledge there are those fruits and veggies that last longer than others. For example, oranges, grapefruits, pears and apples tend to have a longer shelf like than raspberries, blueberries and strawberries. That might explain why certain fruit items come in smaller packages, as it’s apparent the consumption of a large batch of strawberries in one sitting is not common.
When it comes to veggies, the one item that I love, lettuce never seems to last long; no matter how hard one tries to eat it up, the lettuce ALWAYS seems to brown. Items like carrots, celery, potatoes and other root veggies tend to last longer than tomatoes, cucumbers and broccoli. Yes, you can purchase some fruits and veggies as frozen items, but what you miss is that level of freshness that brings a completely new dimension in the taste department.
So how does one balance these competing food categories? Well plan to implement fruits and veggies into your daily diet. This is a must; I’m a firm believer of having a piece of fruit for breakfast all the time. Eating a veggie bright in the morning isn’t common for me, but during the lunch hour, its veggie time.
Rather it be a salad, some carrot sticks or cucumbers, I have a serving or two of vegetables. After lunch, that’s when you can implement that snack. Try to keep it light; you don’t want something too heavy to the point where you’re stuffed beyond belief. At dinner time, it’s always a good idea to have veggies on the plate, and you could intertwine fruit into the dish someone with a sauce of some sort. Before the night wraps that’s when you include that final snack, maybe 2-3 hours after dinner has concluded.
If you’re reaching for junk EVERY time you want a snack its going to hit the waistline, so instead of grabbing those potato chips, candied goodies, ice cream, cake or pies, think of a fruit or veggie that you can use as a substitute for yourself.