it was making little changes. so that when i had something not as great for me,. i had it with something that was good for me. like i love nachos. so if i was just having plain cheese and chips nachos, i would have them with carrots dipped in hot sauce. if i was having heartier nachos, i would make sure that there was chili or spicy beans, lettuce, guacamole, greek yogurt and salsa so that it really was a meal that had substance and not just a bag of chips snack.
and i took that approach with everything. when i don't want to cook, to this day i keep lipton/knorr sides on hand or some other boxed pasta dish. they're crazily high in sodium and they don't have much to them. but they cook in under ten minutes and you only need to add water and/or milk and a little fat to them. but i won't make them plain. periodically i cook up dried beans and freeze them into cup portions so that they have the convenience of canned but the sodium of dried. i also keep chopped frozen veggies in the freezer. so when i make those boxed dishes, i add the milk/water and a drizzle of olive oil [instead of the Tablespoon of butter called for], add the mix, and bring to a boil. then i dump in one or two cups of beans and chopped veggies or a 10oz box of chopped veggies.this effectively doubles the yield of the box, cuts the sodium and fat in half and generally doubles the protein and fiber. and it still tastes like the boxed mix o goodness. and it still requires less than ten minutes and almost no effort to cook.
so if you love hot dogs and fries, compromise. have the hot dog with a salad as the side. if you love fries, have steamed fish and veggies as the main. and if steamed fish and veggies is really out there, don't be afraid to learn to like them by dousing them in teriyaki sauce to start. yes, you will have to wean yourself down, but it's better than having nowhere else to start. start making your own fries and baking them. 100 grams of raw potato has about 77 cals [a little less if it's a red potato], no fat, 2g fiber and 2 g protein. and you can also make chips. slice any root veggies thinly, lightly toss in olive oil and bake til crispy, turning once. chips and veggies all at the same time, you should also season them somewhere in there.
if you love cakes, make cupcakes instead and freeze the ones you don't want to eat. which means you can still have them, but you can't really mindlessly eat a whole batch. brownies work the same way.
if you really love pasta, pair it with veggies to cut down on the volume of pasta you eat. while half and half might be your end goal, start out by getting the same amount of pasta you would have before, say a cup and a 1/4 and adding in 1/8 cup of sliced zucchini or squash or cauliflower or broccoli or whatever you want to cut it with. once you get used to that [and i am talking weeks of using that particular mix get used to it], bump it up to 1/4 cup of veg. once you get used to that, cut the pasta back by 1/8 cup. then cut the pasta back by 1/8 cup and add another 1/8 cup of veggies [so you'd be having 1 cup pasta and 3/8 cup veggies at this juncture]. and ease your way down to that half and half mixture.
if you love alfredo sauce, consider having it on steamed veggies instead of pasta. figure a cup of cooked pasta has about 200 cals and a cup of broccoli is somewhere around 30-60 depending on if it is chopped or cooked before or after, so you're saving at least 100 cals right there and still getting something that you like.
so mix it up. if you're having something that you think you should be having less of, pair it with something you think you should be eating more of. and then gradually adjust the ratios to where you would like to be. because it's nearly impossible to switch all your habits at once [it can take six weeks for a single habit], gradually tweaking them is something that is much easier to do and it's harder to fall off of as you are actually changing your habits as you go.
-google first. ask questions later.