Healthy Eating: It’s More Than the Food
Healthy eating isn’t just about the food that you eat. When looking at healthy eating, it’s important to understand why you eat. The reasons that people eat shed light on their relationship with food. Sure, people eat when they are hungry, but think about all of the other reasons people eat – That is the tricky part. People eat out of emotion. They eat when they are bored. Often times they eat to celebrate. Sometimes they eat just because the food is in front of them or because the clock says it’s time. There are so many reasons people eat OTHER than hunger.
“I was so busy today that I didn’t have time for lunch.”
Does this sound familiar? So many people are rushing around these days—working long hours, running kids around to games and practices, and tending to everyday chores. Everyone is busy.
When we think about the many reasons that people eat and we add “the busy,” eating healthy becomes even more tricky. As a RDN, this has been at the heart of my nutrition education – guiding people to understand their own relationship with food so they can eat well while navigating their busy lives.
An important step towards healthy eating is to understand your own relationship with food. This requires you to slow down and start to notice things. We nutrition experts call this mindful eating. I encourage you to get back to the basics. Here are my suggestions:
Listen to Your Body
Pay attention to hunger. That sounds simple but I challenge you to slow down and really pay attention to your internal cues of hunger. Pay attention to how you feel. Do you feel energized? Do you feel ready to tackle the day? If you are nourishing your body well, you should!
Turn Off the Distractions
It is impossible to pay attention if you are distracted. Turn off the TV, step away from the computer, and put down your phone. This will allow you to really start to notice things. Pay attention to foods. Notice the smells, tastes, textures and enjoy!
Make Meals and Snacks Events
What do I mean by an “event”? Along with losing the distractions, I encourage you to make meal and snack times feel like special occasions. Sit at the table, give them some dedicated time and be deliberate. These are the times that you fuel your body. Treat them as important. Carving out the time slows things down and allows you to be present. When you are present, you are mindful.
Keep a Food Journal
Journaling is an important tool because it requires reflection. The task of journaling forces you to stop and pay attention. You can write everything down or you can track things on an app. Find the method that works best for you. Don’t get bogged down by the details of calories, etc. Focus on taking a moment to notice your behaviors and how you feel. You can learn a lot about yourself.
Being mindful is an important component of healthy eating. I encourage you to set the priority, make the time, and pay attention. You are worth it!
Sarah Marjoram, MS, RDN, LD
A nutrition education and communications expert with over 17 years of nutrition consulting experience.