Everyone has their own barriers to healthy eating. Sometimes you just don’t have time to cook a healthy meal after a busy day.
Sometimes you just struggle with specific cravings. Here’s something I hear pretty often from people trying to change their dietary habits: “I just don’t think I could ever give up my favorite foods, like pizza and beer.”
The thing is, this is a completely valid way to feel! Our food choices are very personal, and there’s no single “right” way to eat. (Besides, there’s something really comforting about getting your hand on a cheesy pizza or a cold beer.) If you’re struggling to get your favorite “bad” foods off your plate, here’s what you need to know.
You Don’t Have to Give Up Your Favorite Foods
Yes, you read that right. Stop and breathe a sigh of relief: even if your goal is to “eat healthy,” you don’t have to completely eliminate “bad” foods from your diet.
It’s totally okay to indulge yourself every now and then. In fact, the science shows that listening to your body and giving into cravings can be a good thing––within reason. Savoring the foods you crave can help you minimize that craving instead of letting it take over your thought process. This can even make the food feel less “special” later, meaning you may see fewer cravings in the future. As long as you’re eating mindfully, there’s no reason to reach for a slice of pizza when you want one.
You Can Find Healthier Alternatives When Possible
That said, it’s important to consider adding more healthy foods to your plate.
The first step to doing this is shifting the focus away from “eliminating bad foods” and putting it toward “adding healthy foods I like.” After all, finding surprisingly delicious options for healthier foods can make it much easier to minimize cravings.
First and foremost, we’re going to need to talk about what we mentioned back at the start: pizza. It’s a tough thing to give up entirely, especially if you’re struggling to dial back your cheese cravings. But let me tell you: vegan pizza has come a long way in the past few years. It’s easy to make by yourself at home—yes, even the dough if you want—and it makes it easy to indulge in cheesy deliciousness with less of the guilt.
Beer is a little trickier, because it really depends on what you’re personally looking for. If you’re in it for the fizzy mouthfeel, poke around for vegan and non-alcoholic sparkling wines instead. If you want the taste, booze-free beer is the way to go. For a healthy alternative, kombucha is a fun (and super trendy) option. Whatever you’re looking for, it’s easy to find it once you let yourself get excited about exploring the alternatives.
Hopefully these tips—and my two quick examples—have helped you understand how to tackle those “bad” food choices! If you want more insights on the ins and outs of healthy foods, check out the What Is Healthy?? podcast for more of the fuss-free tips you need to get the right foods on your plate.