Developing a healthy relationship with food is a delicate balance. Sound nutritional advice is a crucial part of the equation, but you must also pay attention to your body and how it responds to certain foods. For some, that might mean going cold turkey on junk food to reduce your sugar intake. For others, it might mean mixing some a2 full cream milk into your morning coffee to aid your digestion.
Whatever the specifics, below are five tips for finding the right balance:
Mindful eating is all about paying attention to your food and the experience of eating. Although it sounds simple in theory, mindful meals can take a lot of repetition and effort to perfect. You will be rewarded for your hard work with a deeper appreciation of food.
Start by turning off your phone, TV, and any other distractions that take you away from the act of eating. Then, dial into your five senses. In particular, focus on the smell, texture, and taste of the food.
Listen to Your Body
Developing a healthy relationship with food also involves listening to your body. That means paying attention to when you’re hungry, when you’re full, and the bodily cues that signal both states. Then, eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full. Like mindful eating, this sounds deceptively simple but takes quite a bit of practice.
Start by eating slowly and savoring each bite. In between bites, put your fork down and take a deep breath. This forces you to slow down, allowing time for the feelings in your gut to reach your head and signal that you’re full.
Avoid Restrictive Diets
Although restrictive diets are often touted as efficient ways to lose weight, they all too often lead to unhealthy eating habits. So, don’t fall into their trap. Instead, eat a mixed and balanced diet of veggies, fruits, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean proteins. This kind of relationship with food leads to a whole host of benefits ranging from stronger bones to a longer life.
Cook at Home
Cooking meals at home can lead to healthier eating while boosting your cooking skills. Of course, you don’t have to swear off restaurants forever—just cut back a bit. When you cook at home, you have more control over the ingredients in your meals, allowing you to make healthier choices. In particular, you can avoid some of the processed foods and seasonings that restaurants use to make their dishes far more calorific than necessary.
Despite the benefits, it’s not always fun to cook after a long day of work. After tough days, it’s all too easy to order takeaway. To avoid slipping into unhealthy habits, embrace meal preparation. Cook up a big batch of food over the weekend, freeze it, and then heat up healthy portions all throughout the week.
Sometimes developing a healthier relationship with food is as easy as using smaller plates and bowls. This simple life hack helps you control portion sizes. In addition to smaller bowls, use measuring cups to find the right serving size for snacks. If you don’t have any handy, use your hands—a healthy portion of protein should be about the size of your palm, and your helping of veggies should match the size of your fist.
Developing a healthy relationship with food can be tough. However, it’s not impossible. If you control your portion sizes, munch mindfully, listen to your body, cook at home, and avoid restrictive diets, you can reach that healthier relationship. Best of all, you get to enjoy plenty of delicious meals along the way!