Problem: You skip meals -- you're so busy that sometimes you forget to eat!
Solution: Plan to sit down for a meal or snack (even if it's a quickie!) at least every 3 or 4 hours. Keep some fiber- and protein-rich staples on hand (like whole grain cereal, whole wheat crackers, low fat yogurt, peanut butter tubes, fresh fruit or unsweetened applesauce, string cheese, and nuts) to put together a fast, no-fuss meal or snack.
Problem: You mindlessly graze or eat on the go all day long -- such as nibbling from your child's snack bag or plate -- because it's easier than cooking every meal.
Solution: Once a week, plan all meals and snacks ahead of time. Take an inventory of everything in your refrigerator and pantry and make a master grocery list of what to shop for that week. Buy several pre-washed or pre-cooked foods or ones that require little or no cooking time (examples include salad greens, whole wheat pasta or quick-cook brown rice, canned beans, canned light tuna or salmon, canned tomatoes, and rotisserie chicken).
Problem: You often rely on take-out food (after all, it's easier to make a call or quick pick-up than to slave over a hot stove!).
Solution: When you order take-out, opt for grilled, baked, steamed or lightly sautéed foods rather than breaded and/or fried options and ask for sauces, condiments, and dressings on the side. When you receive the food, portion items out (filling only one plate or bowl) and quickly refrigerate or freeze the rest in single-serve portions to reduce temptation and prevent overeating.
Problem: You snack late at night or into the wee hours when you can't sleep or you're up with your baby.
Solution: Instead of hunting for food immediately, drink a cup of water. If you still feel hungry, grab a pre-planned snack (such as 5 whole wheat crackers and a string cheese, a low fat yogurt, a bowl of whole grain cereal with skim milk, or a piece of fruit). Count this as your snack (or one of your three snacks if you're breastfeeding) for the next day.
Problem: You find yourself eating for emotional reasons, not because you're hungry.
Solution: When you know that stress is making you eat more, just get out of the kitchen and do something active. Take your baby for a stroll, dance to some music, read a book, or call a friend. If all else fails, suck on a strong mint, brush your teeth, rinse with mouthwash, chew a spicy piece of gum or use a breath strip to take your mind off food.
Problem: You're eating too much -- you dish out large portions and clean your plate.
Solution: Invest in some smaller plates, bowls, cups, and utensils and a set of measuring cups. When you cook, make just enough for a single meal or portion the food out on plates and immediately freeze or refrigerate leftovers in single-serve portions. Instead of eating from containers or bags or drinking from a bottle, measure out small portions using smaller plates, bowls, cups, or snack-sized plastic baggies.
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