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Habits are hard to break, right?  So, maybe it’s time you made some new ones!  If you’re thinking it’s about time you started eating healthier or you just want to stay the healthy path but feel like you’re struggling, how about developing a few good habits that will keep you on the low-fat and healthy?  Give these a try!

1.  Surround yourself with healthy-eating role models.  It’s not easy to be the lone green-bean eater at a table full of French fries, so how about taking lunch with someone else who’s trying to eat on the straight and narrow?  If there’s really no one around who prefers a great salad or homemade sandwich packed with fresh-food goodness to a burger and milkshake, then go it alone.  Take lunchtime to unwind and enjoy a peaceful break!

2.  Focus on your meal.  Slow down, turn off the TV, and focus, people.  If you sit and do nothing but eat your meal–no TV, internet, Twitter or phone–you may just find that, as you slow down, you eat less and feel more calm and satisfied after your meal.  Pay attention to each bite–the taste, the texture, the smell, etc.

3.  In the vernacular of the 80’s–take a chill pill.  When people are stressed, their bodies produce more of the stress hormone cortisol, and studies have shown links between cortisol and fat retention.  Try to think of those worries as pounds, and let them fall away.

4.  Take baby steps, one after another.  Too often, when people make drastic changes in the way they eat (or go on “diets”), they give up and fail, but if you ease into things and make small lifestyle changes over time, you’ll be surprised at how those small things can build to bigger and lasting changes.  For instance, cut out fast food, give up soda, etc.

5.  Don’t be afraid to take a snack break.  Just because you’re trying to be healthier or to lose weight, doesn’t mean that snacks have to be on a no-fly list.  Starving yourself is never good!  Just keep your snacks healthy–a protein and a carb make tasty friends!  How about an apple with peanut or almond butter?  Cheese with crackers or on whole grain toast and a fresh fruit smoothie with protein powder are good examples.

Check out Brown Bag’s breakfast and lunch menus for balanced, homemade meals with fresh ingredients; and if you want to build your own meal, go right ahead.  That’s what the brown bag is for!  Let us know exactly what you want on your sandwich, in your salad or making up your noodle, rice or quinoa bowl.  Need some snacks to take back to the office?  We always have fresh fruit available, as well as yogurt and other healthy snacks.  Feel free to stock up and stay on the right path during that late afternoon snack time.