The Naughty Drawer


Last weekend, I got sick of entering the kitchen and exiting with Tim Tams.

After a heated debate and an impromptu tantrum, my boyfriend and I decided to do the unthinkable: we said a sad goodbye to the naughty drawer (kitchen, not the bedroom).

No mercy was spared as several crunchie bars, pocky sticks and Lindt bunnies from Easters past were tossed indiscriminately into the trash. I swear I could hear tiny cries for help as they fell into the darkness, only growing silent as their sugary delights spilled all over the (aptly) morbid black plastic.

I felt like Dexter…and it felt good doing a clean kill. It was easier to get rid of temptation than to have temptation seducing us in the house. And, although it may be a dramatic move, this is the first step for us to start a healthier living from the stomach up.

Avoiding naughty munchies can be challenging but here’s a few tips to help stay strong and succeed in saying no to those Teddies. They might be Tiny, but in large portions they are evil!

  1. Spring clean and stock up clean.
    Make like a garbo and start throwing out the junk food. Chips and chocolates are empty calories with high sugar and fat content- only stock up on fresh food that isn’t stamped with a freakishly long shelf life or screaming “95% fat free”. Rule of thumb is that if it’s not from the fresh produce section of the market, then it’s been spiked with additives, coloring, preservatives and other nasties I can’t even pronounce. Not having the temptation within reach is the first step, so don’t buy junk in the first place. Buy whole grain products, protein sources (meats, beans, dairy if you are not intolerant), fresh vegetables and fruit. Oh, and do not shun the humble nut and seeds. These babies are not only loaded with healthy oils and fiber, eaten in moderation they can stave off hunger pangs and are handy on the go too.
  2. Drink water. Lots of it.
    Drink a glass of water and wait to see if your body is crying for hydration or an actual feed. If plain water bores the life out of you, try adding a couple of slices of fresh lemon or oranges to add some zing and vitamins.
    Be wary of sports and vitamin drinks (they are usually are high in sugar content) and avoid all other lolly water drinks like a plague. Did you know that Coca-Cola Classic today is made from fructose corn syrup and a standard can contains the equivalent of 39g of sugar? That translates to approximately 10 teaspoons of sugar, a huge incentive for you to save yourself from the artificial garbage as well as empty calories. Not only does water make you feel fuller, it also helps your muscles function to maximum capacity, preventing fatigue and other stress related issues tied to dehydration.
  3. Eat food slowly.
    Our brains take at least 20 minutes to register that our stomachs are full so if you eat at a cracking pace, you risk eating past the point of where you are full*. To help pace yourself and even decrease the amount you are eating, try to drink water through the meal. Most importantly, enjoy food. Taste your food again and savoring each bite will leave you feeling more satisfied. Avoid eating in front of the television or computer and make a meal out of a meal.
  4. Cook your own food.
    Cooking your own food has a myriad of benefits: it gives you full control on your portions and you know exactly what’s gone into each meal. I find it challenging sometimes to order food outside- many restaurants don’t offer variations to their dishes and if you do nominate to change it up, it usually comes attached to additional charges (can anyone say $4.00 for an “extra egg”?!). There’s nothing more exciting than experimenting different flavors and techniques to replicate your favorite meals at home. Imagine, cooking with minimal oils, low fat and lean ingredients and have the final dish come out healthy and clean instead of dripping in suspect oil and gravy. Cook in large batches and divide up the portions first before eating. You will help avoid consuming more than you require and you then have tomorrow’s lunch and dinner already made- great for avoiding bought lunches covered in cheese/fried chips the next day.
  5. Swap it.
    Remember those ads where they tell you don’t stop it, just swap it? Whatever your goal is, a diet doesn’t mean you go into starvation mode and not eat. By all means, eat. But clean, fresh food. A piece of dark chocolate or cupcake is okay as a treat once in a while, but don’t annihilate a whole packet in one sitting. Pace yourself and try to swap the indulgent stuff for the less sugary type: instead of ice cream, go for a low fat greek yogurt with passion fruit and berries. Bananas are an awesome snack on the run and can be an easy replacement for that highly processed chocolate bar. Make your own low-fat high fiber muffins using quality whole meal ingredients and quinoa and avoid buying muffins with preservative 212. There’s heaps of healthy, clean eating recipes out there if you need inspiration, so get googling!

We put quality petrol in our cars because it runs smoother and is kinder to the engine. So take this concept and apply it to your own body’s fuel.

I hope this list helps you in your own quest to eat healthier. By no means have I conquered the devious snacking fairy (you can read my daily diet entries for proof), but doing a couple of these things has definitely helped me curb the temptation to reach into a bag of chips more than once.

– Ann MacDonald, Harvard Health, Why eating slowly may help you feel full faster


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