Tricks, Tips, and Secrets…

by Kirstin Carey, Certified Holistic Nutritionist
Lunch Bag Insultated
Shifting to a new way of eating can be a challenge.  Most people struggle with the change in their routine more than the change of food.  One of the biggest challenges when moving to a new way of doing things is attempting to use old habits (like eating at your favorite sandwich place) and then discovering these habits won’t allow you to be successful.

Here are some tricks to help you make the shift with less havoc on your day.

Carry snacks that fit your new way of eating. 
Having “safe” options with you will help you avoid falling into old habits or making ineffective choices because you had no other options.  It will also help you make helpful choices when you are really hungry.  And I don’t know about you, but I tend to make some incredibly stupid decisions when I’ve waited entirely too long between meals.

Keep a small cooler with you when you are on the go.
Many healthy food choices need to be refrigerated or at least cool.  Invest in a small cooler to keep in your car or your office.  This will create an environment which encourages success. (Seriously, how cute is this bag on the right?)  There are lots of adorable and stylish insulated travel bags which keep your snacks and meals cool without it looking like you are carrying your dinner around in a bag.

Spend some time in the grocery store.
New products are popping up on the shelves all the time because the demand for alternative, healthier foods is on the rise.  Read labels and learn more about what options are available.  Go down isles you haven’t been in, and (if you eat animal proteins) spend time asking questions at the fish counter or at the butcher, and be sure to check out products you haven’t seen before.

Check out menus before going to a restaurant
Set yourself up for success by familiarizing yourself with a menu before you even arrive at the restaurant.  If you have any questions about their ability to accommodate your food needs, call and ask to speak with a manager or one of the cooks.  Attempting to navigate a new menu while shifting to a new way of eating can be disastrous and you may make terrible decisions because you feel rushed or overwhelmed.

Get Reinforcements
Find a friend or group who also has shifted to your particular way of eating.  Find out what works for them to be successful and what has worked against them.  I promise that if you just post a message on Facebook about your new way of eating and that you’re looking for helpful suggestions, that you’ll get a bunch of people who will toss in some great comments.  Of course, there’s often that one guy who will say something disparaging like, “Vegan? Why would you eat vegan? That’s dumb and bacon tastes so good!”  Try not to get hung up on that guy and his comments.

Use helpful apps
There are lots of great new apps popping up all the time to help people who are shifting to a new way of eating or who require special attention to ingredients.  Check out apps such as GlutenFreeRegistry, FindMeGlutenFree, and AllergyCaddy,  that will help you find local restaurants, markets, and stores that are open with their ingredients.  Even if you don’t eat gluten free, I found that a lot of the GF apps also show many of the other food restrictions including vegan, Paleo, and other allergies.

Get new recipes
In addition to new apps, there is a bunch of helpful information out there on Pintrest, Facebook, and other websites dedicated to specific ways of eating.  Get online and spend a few minutes collecting new recipes and ideas on how to shift into your new way of eating more easily and deliciously.

Accept that change isn’t always easy.
Change is a learning experience.  And it’s change, which is stressful within itself because it’s unfamiliar.  Know there are going to be some learning moments and don’t be too hard on yourself.  Learn, make shifts, and make the best choices you can.  But do your best to an environment that will allow you to be successful.  Trying to follow old habits, and expecting different results is just nonsense.