Have your past commitments to healthy habits faded? Recharge your resolve and remember the importance of developing and following sound eating habits.
Nutrition experts say an important step is to enjoy food traditions and appreciate the pleasures, great flavors and social experiences that food can add to life.
“Food nourishes the body and provides necessary fuel to help you thrive and fight disease,” says registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spokesperson, Kristen Gradney. “In addition to providing nourishment, food is also a source of pleasure and enjoyment. Take time to enjoy healthy foods and all the happiness they bring to your life.”
Gradney offers a few tips to get started:
• Enjoy Food Traditions and Social Experiences: There is an obvious social component to food. Whether it’s a nightly family dinner, a special occasion or social gathering, food often plays a central role. Enjoy the food at these gatherings while also taking time to appreciate the company around you.
Research indicates that family meals promote healthier eating and strengthens family relationships.
• Appreciate Foods’ Pleasures and Flavors: Take time to appreciate the flavors, textures and overall eating experience. In today’s busy world, we often eat quickly and mindlessly. Instead, savor your food, eating slowly one bite at a time to focus on the different flavors and textures. Stop and take time in between bites.
Eating slowly not only allows you to enjoy your food, but it also can help you eat less by giving your stomach time to tell your brain you are full.
• Develop a Mindful Eating Pattern: How, when, why and where you eat, are just as important as what you eat. Think about where you eat the majority of your meals. Do you eat lunch at your desk or dinner in front of the television?
Instead of multitasking through meals, take a few minutes out of your busy schedule to find a nice place to mindfully eat.
• Consult a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist: A healthy lifestyle is much more than choosing to eat more fruits and vegetables. It’s also essential to make informed food choices based on your individual health and nutrient needs.
A registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) can educate you and guide your food choices while keeping your tastes and preferences in mind. RDNs are able to separate facts from fads and translate nutritional science into information you can use. Find an RDN in your area by visiting the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics site at www.eatright.org. The site also contains articles, recipes, videos and educational resources.
By taking the time to enjoy what you eat, you can develop a healthier relationship with food.