Did you know that almost everywhere you go, whether you realise it or not, that unhealthy foods are being marketed to you?
Billions of dollars are spent every year on advertising, so it pays for you to be aware of the ways that they could be affecting you, and shaking up even the very best intentions for healthy eating and managing your weight.
Find out three of the methods being used to tempt you, and strategies to overcome them.
One of the best selling points of unhealthy food is convenience. If it’s quick, easy, and relatively inexpensive it can be so much more tempting to just go through a drive through than to go home, prepare and cook a healthy meal from scratch and then an hour later you finally get to eat it.
When you are hungry, you have your body signalling for you to find food and find it now. Your good intentions can go out the window. The longer it has been since you last ate, the harder it will be to resist.So how can you combat this?
Eat regular healthy low GI meals that include some form of protein to keep you full and satisfied. Secondly try not to go more than three hours between meals or snacks around the time you would normally be most tempted by unhealthy foods, for example dinner time.
Have something healthy in your bag like a piece of fruit, a small portion of trail mix, or homemade fruit muffin. This way if you are out longer than you thought, you got too busy and had to miss a meal, or you were more active that day and feeling hungrier, you have a backup and are less likely to go for fast food.
Lastly- be prepared. There are some days you are going to feel tired, unmotivated, and you just won’t have it in you to cook. Have frozen leftovers prepared ahead of time for days like this, so you can get home, heat it up and enjoy without any of the mess or effort, and avoiding that sugar/fat/salt bloated feeling afterwards.
TV shows, movies, your favourite Instagramers. Product placement is everywhere, whether you realise it or not, or whether you even notice it. On a conscious level you may not even acknowledge the food or drink in a movie scene, as you are too engrossed in the plot.
But somewhere in your mind this information has been processed, linked to the happy or enjoyable feelings you felt in that moment you saw it (positive association), used it as social proof (someone else likes/consumes it so it must be good), and is ready to apply that the next time you are offered it in real life.
So how can you work against this when you aren’t even aware of it happening most of the time? By building your own positive associations with food- find a role model or group of people who are eating fresh, healthy, whole foods and use this as your own product placement, or find a way to create positive feelings when eating healthy foods like having friends over for dinner.
You can also work to become more conscious of unhealthy foods or drinks in the media- take notice whenever you see them, and assume that they have been included on purpose for marketing purposes. Being aware of this can reduce or eliminate the effect it has on your subconscious, as you are now being conscious of it instead.
Beware at the supermarket
How often have you gone to get groceries with the intention of buying healthy foods, and then ending up with one or more extra items you hadn’t planned on getting? Usually high sugar/fat/calorie unhealthy foods. This isn’t by accident.
Unhealthy foods can tempt you through specials or promotions such as discounts, two for one, bulk sized value packs, or competitions. They can also tempt you with colourful attractive displays at the end of aisles, at eye level, or as you are about to leave and are standing waiting to be served.
How can you work against these marketing tactics? By having a meal plan for the week, coming up with a list of ingredients, and only buying what is on your list no matter how tempted you may be. Online shopping can be one way to avoid temptations to some extent, or having healthy food delivered to you weekly based on seasonal availability.