Having spent the majority of lockdown stuck at home, it’s likely that our diets or eating habits have changed. With easier access to the food in our cupboards, ensuring we’re stocked up on healthy snacks and nutritious ingredients has never been more important.
Although many of us have a good understanding of what foods are more or less nutritionally supportive, our buying habits often mean that we pick up the same processed food each week to store in our cupboards for easy on-the-go snacking – and this can be the issue. Convenience and accessibility are willpower’s kryptonite!
I recommend the 80/20 rule for sustaining a healthy diet and lifestyle. This means 80% of the time you consciously stick to foods which you enjoy and know are more nutritionally supportive and in the remaining 20% of the time you are able to eat the foods that you enjoy that may not be as supportive.
Since we normally spend 80% of our time at home, it makes sense to exclusively fill your cupboards with more nutritionally dense foods and leave the 20% for that latte on the weekend – or whatever it may be. It means you’re fuelling yourself and your family with food that serves your bodies and means you don’t have to resist reaching for the biscuits every time you make a cup of tea!
The 80/20 rule is a great way to make a healthy lifestyle more sustainable and avoid some of the unhealthy habits such as the ‘all or nothing’ approach I discussed in the previous post.
One simple tip that makes altering your shopping list a bit easier is colour coding the foods you normally buy depending on how easily you can moderate them if they are in the house;
Red Light Food
These are typically unsupportive foods that you would struggle to moderate if they were readily available in your cupboards. These foods may make you feel physically unwell or really stretch the boundaries of your willpower which can be really challenging. Try to avoid keeping these foods in your house by reminding yourself that either you or one of your loved ones will eventually eat everything you buy.
Yellow Light Food
These are foods that may not be particularly supportive but you are happy to enjoy occasionally and in moderation. E.g. you’re happy to keep them in the cupboard until guests come over or you maintain certain rules around them like only eating after Sunday lunch.
Green Light Food
These are foods that make you feel good mentally and physically and support your body’s natural functions. You would be happy to eat these foods throughout the week and can eat them slowly and until satisfied. These are the foods that you want to fill your cupboards with and should always keep stocked up.
In case you missed it, there’s a super helpful worksheet on the Facebook group which you can use to identify the foods you struggle to moderate so you can build a healthier shopping list and give your willpower a well-earned rest!