The secret to making healthy food choices is to add in prayer to receive God’s help in your choice process. Here are some practical strategies to eating well.
1. Embrace your ability to choose well
I’ve been making the wrong food choices. Healthy food choices are exactly that…a choice. The other day I had full intentions of grabbing the carrots for something crunchy but the tortilla chips got in the way. I know better. And I know it’s simple. Every time I come across unhealthy food, I have three options. I can either step away from the food, substitute something else or start over.
It’s not easy, though. Not easy to do, not easy to remember. God knows this, and gives me a way out if I flounder.
1 Corinthians 10:13 (NIV):
“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”
With God at my side—just in case I make a mess of things—it’s time to change my choices. How?
2. STEP AWAY
I can step away from the unhealthy food, especially when I slow down enough to recognize I’m not really hungry.
Sometimes, I can’t.
I still remember the time I was at an arcade with my family about ten years ago. It was the first week of December and we treated ourselves to a short vacation at the beach. Walking through the dusting of snow on the deserted boardwalk, we found a neon “OPEN” sign flashing to its own rhythm.
After several games of air hockey, I handed the striker to my husband.
“I’d like to take a break. Can you play with the kids for a little while?”
I walked through the rows of coin-operated entertainment. A sea of video games, pinball machines and claw crane machines were blinking and beeping at me. They were dusty and stale but promised hours of enjoyment.
When I got to the back wall, I saw the vending machine. There it stood in its imposing glory. Couldn’t hurt to window shop, right? Several dozen snacks, lined up in their slots, waited to be dropped to the bin below. All it took were a few coins and a turn of the metal rod holding it in place. There were choices: chips, nuts, pretzels, cookies, fruit snacks and candy bars. I knew I had some calories saved for the day to have a treat. Our time away was an indulgence so I wanted to indulge. I decided on a Hershey’s chocolate bar.
I inserted four quarters, pressed “H” then “6” and waited for the machine to respond.
The machine ate my money.
I ate no candy that day. Thanks, God.
In this age of healthy food options, there is always the opportunity to substitute something healthier than my original choice. A fat-free cheese stick instead of a slice of pizza. A bowl of berries instead of M&Ms. An apple instead of a piece of apple pie.
On a recent vacation in Maine, I stepped into a small coffee shop with a few breakfast on-the-go options. The refrigerator case had some unusual selections.
Salivating, I stared at the carrot cake for a couple minutes. Two moist, dense layers of deliciousness with thick globs of cream cheese icing in between and on top. The sign promised the “Best Ever Homemade Carrot Cake.” I believed.
But there’s a selection of Chobani yogurt sitting right next to it. Really? Why would they put yogurt next to carrot cake? The better decision was evident in all its glorious clarity.
This was one time I made the healthy choice. Thanks, God.
4. START OVER
Many days, however, my food choices are the unhealthy ones. A bowl of creamy ice cream goes well with the TV show I’m watching at night. Or I’ll grab a soft pretzel at the convenience store along with the gallon of milk I picked up. I’ll order the fries with my sandwich at lunch instead of choosing the salad or fruit.
These are the times I remember to forgive myself and start over. Immediately. Waiting until the next day to eat right, or perhaps saying to myself “I’ll wait until next week,” simply doesn’t work.
God’s the expert in immediate forgiveness. I don’t need to wait until tomorrow, either. Thanks, God.
Healthy food choice prayer:
God, thank you for creating my body to be healthy. Thank you, too, for knowing it’s difficult for me to make healthy food choices all the time. You promise your help in every situation when I’m tempted to eat the wrong things. Help me, God, to (step away, substitute, or start over), so I can glorify you with all my health and strength.
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Prayer painting by Lisa Tomarelli
Copyright Lisa Tomarelli 2014. All rights reserved.