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5 Easy Ways to (Nearly) Sabotage-Proof Your Diet

I'm not very religious.

But I have been doing a whole lot of praying to a certain Holy Trinity lately.

It's all part of my plan to get more involved in a religion that has seemingly already taken over America: Fast Foodicism.

Bible Schmible - you get a menu instead, one that has a 99 cents side if you're lucky (and cheap).
Priest? Preacher? Nah. You get Ronald McDonald, the King, and other creepily likable mascots.
And weekly masses or services are for the birds. Instead, you just have to hit up the drive-thru once twice three times a week and pray to this Holy Trinity:

Easy, huh? I though so, at least for the last few days weeks months. But now it's time to get serious with eating again even though I know that this is one of the few times in my life that I'm going to gain at least 25 pounds no matter what I do.

A quick background on my eating habits before we proceed:
1. I'm very picky about what I eat. I dislike most vegetables, and trying new foods is like taking a walk on the moon. You know it's possible, but remain skeptical. Mayo, mustard, and milk can all go to hell.

2. Despite my selective aversions, I've remained on the somewhat slim side most of my life. There have been some definite bumps - like when I graduated from college and lived off of multiple servings Lance cracker packs and Pop-Tarts and gained about 20 pounds - but I've learned how to manage since then.

3. But - that learning curve sure took a few years to work through. In college, I rode the Freshman 15 rollercoaster during sophomore, junior, and senior years, too. Yet, on the downhills, I would often go way downhill to weights that were sometimes unmanageable and unrealistic. There were times when I counted every calorie and fat gram and downed sugar-free and low-calorie foods like it was my job.

Finally, at 27, I feel like I have a pretty darn good grip on what works for me.

These are my tips, gleaned from several years of being all over the darn food map. These are the practices I turn to when I fall off the healthy wagon and start worshipping the Holy Trinity, and these are also the ways I remind myself that it's ok to have some "cake" and eat it, too. (Just don't start buying stock in Betty Crocker).

A Kind of Disclaimer: I'm no dietician, although I briefly considered it when I was in college, ironically. But then I found out dietetics majors had to take chemistry, and my math-challenged brain wisely told me to opt out. So, you know, read on at your risk, but I'll spoil everything by saying that nothing I have to say is every that risky.

1. Buy healthy foods that you actually like, and leave the ones you don't on the produce shelves. In recent years, I've tried to force my taste buds to like weird fruits and gross vegetables (ahem... broccoli), but they staged a revolt, and I learned my lesson: you eat the foods you love; you end up tossing the ones you hate and reverting to cheese-covered tortilla chips.

So I slather them a bit in olive oil or butter and salt. There're still vitamins in there, right?

2. Wash produce once you get home from the store so it's ready-to-eat or ready-to-prepare. A freshly washed bowl of cold grapes or rinsed salad is just as easy to grab as said cheesy nachos. If I have to take 5 extra minutes to prepare healthy food, I won't do it. (Funny, though, that I'll take 10 minutes to prepare those nachos... hmm.)

See? They kind of resemble nachos.

3. Pick up a few multi-use items to make a variety of quick dishes. Some people can eat the same thing for lunch and dinner, day in, day out. Not me. I like to change it up. Therefore, I love items like pita bread and tortillas to make sandwiches, mini pizzas, and quesadillas, or to just eat as a snack or side to a big salad.

Melikey the authentic local pita bread from bakeries around Metro Detroit.

4. Don't be afraid to Sandra Lee it up and go for some ready-made foods to speed up the healthy food prep and eating at home. Today, I hit up the deli to snag a rotisserie chicken and a few quarter-pounds of freshly sliced deli meats. Grocery store salad bars are amazing, too - Kev and I spent no less than $10 on 3 different kinds of salads for a dinner at friend's house last weekend. Maybe not the cheapest option, but quick and at least made that day by a real person.

Kevin gets to do the carving. Chicken bones gross me out, but the meat tastes good.

And finally... the most important tip of all. The one that earned this post's title...

5. Don't be scurred to buy yourself some treats. This is where the "nearly sabotage-proof" idea comes to play. Junk food used to not be allowed in my house at all. No chips, no candy, no cookies. Here's what happened though: once I did let myself have any of those things, I'd eat 7,164 servings in one sitting. What I realized: treating yourself to small "sabotages" helps to stave off those crazy binges later on. Now, I pick out a few things each time I head to the store.

Today's Treats: Iced Cinnamon bread, Kettle-style chips, and a load of brightly colored gummy bears. All local (Michigan-made), too!

It also helps when you have a friendly neighborhood market nearby that carries tons of fun goodies, delectable produce, and fresh & local meats at the deli:

Let's hear your healthy eating tips!
-How do you get back on the wagon?
-What quick & easy healthy foods do you like?

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