How to make great choices

For most of us food is abundantly available. Many of these abundant foods are easy, convenient but often unnatural or unhealthy. There is just so much information out there telling us all about what foods to eat.

We need to choose!

Reading time: 4 minutes

What will it do?

This tool will support you to make helpful choices about what to eat, when to eat and how much to eat. The tool doesn’t require specialist knowledge! Just a willingness to do something and common sense.

The principles in the tool can be applied at all times. The aim of this tool is to help you to create and maintain good habits.

Three steps to take

Get focused on the things that will make the most impact for you

1. What’s the energy demand?

Are you on the go all the time or mainly sitting around? Are there key tasks/activities you do? What mental and physical energy do you need and when?

2. Plan your energy intake

Consider how you can plan your energy intake, so it’s easier to make helpful choices in the moment. Especially when you’re tired or hungry!

Tick those things that apply to you and add more things that will help:

  • Write a list of healthy, simple meals that you can prepare easily and quickly
  • Tell your friends and family about your plans to eat for performance
  • Plan to go shopping after you’ve eaten, so you’re not shopping when you’re hungry
  • Write down your favourite, most helpful food ‘rules’ – like ‘moderation in everything (including moderation)’ or ‘be suspicious of foods advertised as healthy!’
  • When out food shopping buy healthy snack food for your cupboards
  • Place unhealthier snack food in cupboards that are harder to reach
  • Take healthier snack foods to work to help avoid the vending machine
  • Encourage your work colleagues to help you, and each other, to get in good habits
  • Plan not to get too hungry, where low blood sugar causes you to make unhelpful choices
  • Plan not to go too long from lunch to a late evening meal

Add more here

3. Make great choices in the moment

Now think about how you plan to make great choices in the moment. Imagine you’re a helpful coach to yourself who’s always there to help.

What would you tell yourself?

  • Choose water
  • Eat a snack so you don’t get too hungry
  • If you make a less helpful choice about what to eat/not eat, follow it with a good choice
  • Some lunch (breakfast) is better than no lunch (breakfast)
  • Watch out for appetite stimulants when you’re not hungry. Move biscuits etc. out of sight
  • Eat fruit before lunch so you’re not too hungry when it comes to making choices
  • Eat slowly – just enough – then stop. You can always go back for more if you’re hungry later
  • Think about your plan – and what energy you need for your work/lifestyle. “Do I really need this right now?”

Other helpful things for you ‘in the moment’…

Your plan

Get a plan Stan. This is about getting going. The basics you need to have in your plan are set out below.

Plan basics

  1. What are you going to do? This bit is easy – it’s the 3 things you listed above.

    My actions:

  2. When are you going to do these things? You don’t have to be great to get going, but you better get going if you want to be great.

    My start date:

  3. How often will you be doing them? Getting great has a lot to do with making things a habit.

    Check-in frequency and dates:

Get serious

The difference between having a plan and making it work is about action. So get this in your diary now. Tell the people who need to know so that they can support you and won’t just think you’re being weird. Do it now.

Remember, it’s progress not perfection. You’re looking for gradual improvement, not for Rome to be built in a day.