Staying on Track When All You Want is to Eat That Last Piece of Coffee Cake

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by Tosca Reno, author of Your Best Body Now (Harlequin Nonfiction)

It takes twenty-one days to create long-lasting habits. That doesn’t seem like long, especially considering you’re making changes that will impact the rest of your life. Even so, I like to incorporate strategies that make staying on track a seamless part of my lifestyle. Try these and soon it will be as natural or simple as brushing your teeth.

Live by a menu plan

Removing process foods from your diet–and eating several times a day–can take discipline at first. Start by planning a week’s menu in advance. If you know that you’re buying everything you need to meet your nutrition goals for the week, you won’t be tempted to stray from the shopping list

Buy what’s good for you

I love cheese and will eat a lot of it before I can stop myself, so I know not to tempt myself. I don’t purchase it at all. I’ve also learned to enjoy healthier substitutes, including low-fat goat or soya cheeses. You can do the same–if cookies are your biggest weakness and the quickest way to fall of the diet wagon, don’t buy them. You can’t eat what’s not in your cupboards. Find smarter alternatives, such as treats sweetened with dried fruit or unsweetened applesauce, for special occasions or to satisfy a relentless craving.

Shop the perimeter of the store

The good stuff–fruits, veggies, lean proteins and dairy–always line the outer edges of the store. When you veer into the centre aisles, you enter the temptation zone where the unhealthy snake and packaged food lives.

Use the rainbow rule when buying produce

Your produce drawers should be filled with every colour of fruits and vegetables under the sun. The greater the variety, the more vitamins and other nutrients you add to your diet. Incorporating different tastes will keep your meals interesting and flavorful so you stick with the program. Who knows? You might even learn to enjoy something new and exotic, such as mangosteens or durians.

Fill your fridge with healthy options

The easiest way to break your diet is to have nothing on hand when hunger strikes. A kitchen stocked with quick and easy options, however, can make sure you stay the course. My favorite “fast food”? A whole-grain wrap with 1 tablespoon of nut butter, vegetables with hummus or salsa, fresh berries and low-fat plain yogurt. If those take too long, grab an apple along with a handful of unsalted nuts.

Prepare leftovers whenever you can

I love leftovers and so does my family. I grill as many as six chicken breasts at a time or a whole turkey breast, and then divide it into meals. Whole grains, such as rice or oatmeal, can last as long as a week in the refrigerator. For example, I can cook a lot of brown rice at the beginning of the week, and I have enough to last for a few days. Try it–you’ll see how easy it’ll make your life. Another strategy is creating “planned leftovers,” which means to prepare extra servings of your meal so you have additional option on had to eat over the next few days.

Eat more soup

Healthy soups can be a great comfort food. They’re the perfect way to add extra vegetables to your diet, and it’s easy to make a big pot and freeze portions for the coming weeks. When the weather gets colder I make a big pot of soup from scratch on Sundays so my family has soup on hand every day of the week. Does this sound like the perfect fast food? I think so!

Editor’s Note: You can learn more about Tosca Reno and her Eat Clean Diet through Your Best Body Now: Look and Feel Fabulous at Any Age the Eat-Clean Way. 40+ year-old Tosca Reno will share her secrets to Eating Clean and living a fit and healthy life. Diet, fitness and beauty are all gateways to your Best Body Now.

Pick up the book at Harlequin.com today!

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