Plan Your Food Choices to Fight Sugar Addiction

Many people fall victim to reactive eating because they’re unprepared. If you don’t know in advance what your food will consist of for the day, you’re at the mercy of the cravings of your starving brain, which will drive you to grab whatever you can get quickly — and lots of it!

Eating on the fly with no plan is akin to investing in a company that has no budgets, where everybody says, “We just spend whatever we feel like from day to day and hope it all works out in the long run. Then we complain about how broke we are.”

Plan your eating in advance, out to whatever time horizon suits you. Some folks prefer to lay out a week at a time so they only have to think about it once a week. Any time frame that works for you is fine, as long as you don’t leave the house without knowing what you’re going to eat for every meal and snack for the rest of that day.

Planning should include not only what to eat but also when to eat and how much to eat. Plan your eating times in your schedule as much as possible — doing so keeps you from going too long without food and succumbing to cravings and ravenous reactive eating.

Planning portions is easy if you prepare your own meals and snacks, but it can be tricky if you eat out a lot. At restaurants, avoid using the empty plate as the only measure of whether you’re done eating.

Look at the plate when it arrives and assess your portions. Consider putting half of your meal in a takeout container before you even start eating — chances are you’ll be satisfied with half the amount. Eat vegetables first, then protein.

After that, assess your 80 percent — do you need the extra starch or any more calories? Probably not.

Use the handy chart to double-check your plan for the upcoming day. After listing the meal or snack and the time you plan to eat it, the chart has four columns for you to check off:

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  • Do you have a protein in the mix?

  • Do you have vegetables at this meal? If you’re bringing a sandwich for lunch, make sure it’s loaded up with fresh lettuce, tomato, onion, peppers, or whatever other veggies you like.

  • Have you considered your portions? Remember, no eating from packages or serving dishes. If you’re planning on eating this meal out, be aware of your portions before you take the first bite.

  • What will this meal do to your insulin levels? This is especially important if you have diabetes.

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