We often read about emergency preparedness when storms like” Frankenstorm Sandy” overwhelm the headlines. We read about all the people who have to rely on others because their homes are destroyed, they have no power, food, clothing. They have no plan in place and thus must make do with what others provide for them.
I’d like to chat with you about food emergency preparedness. What is a food emergency? It occurs when you are in the throes of Hurricane HALT — Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired. Hurricane HALT hits unexpectedly and if you are not prepared for it, you are going to go into crisis mode and eat those trigger foods you know you ‘shouldn’t’….but will do it anyway.
So, you need to create a plan for when HALT hits.
The first thing you need to do is learn to stop and ask yourself “Am I hungry? Or am I angry? Lonely? Or just tired?” Check in with yourself and learn to really listen to yourself. You might just need to drink a large glass of water. Most Americans are dehydrated, and we have learned to mistake thirst for hunger.
The easiest way to help yourself if you cannot stop, is to not let those trigger foods into the house. Just don’t bring them in. Don’t walk down the grocery aisle where they live. Shop with a list, and stick to the list. If you absolutely “Must” have those trigger foods in your house, make sure you have the trail size or a very limited supply. I have learned that if the salty/sweet snacks are not in the house and I go to the fridge and all I see is an apple, I realize I really am not hungry and it makes it easier. If the food is there, I know how to disconnect from my brain and go for the snacks.
Think ahead of time what you are going to do when HALT occurs. If you are hungry, you are going to head for the kitchen. Make sure you have plenty of healthy snacks on hand. Air popped popcorn. Fruit. Healthy nuts in reasonable quantities (I like the Trader Joes “Just a handful”—-Just make sure you don’t eat the entire package). Maybe a frozen fruit bar. Know in advance what you are willing and interested in snacking on. Don’t bring healthy foods into the house that you will never eat. That’s a waste of money and an exercise in frustration.
One thing that has really helped me is an “Emergency Jar”. And no, there is no food inside of it. What I did was write down things that I like to do, and when HALT arrives, I put my hand into that jar and pull out some activity that I can do instead of eating. My jar has things such as roller skating. Reading. Taking my dogs for a walk. Painting. Going on a window-shopping excursion. Something that will reward you and not add to your calories for the day.
Accountability partners are also a great way to work through HALT. Talk about it. If you can’t talk to someone, journal about it. Write a letter, even if it’s one where you say you are angry that you aren’t going to eat. It’s okay — you are the only one who’s going to see it. Vent away.
These are only a few suggestions. Work with what works best with you. But, have a plan. You might not always stick to the plan, but if you keep working with the plan, it will get easier with time, and the plan can become a habit and a healthier way of life.
By Guest Blogger, Susanne Romo
For healthy recipe ideas: www.healthy-cooking-videos.com