Did you ever wonder about your relationship with food? Do you eat to live or live to eat? Do you think of foods as “good” and “bad”? As a dietitian, you probably think I have it all under control. Well, I don’t. I love food. I love exercising. I am always striving to achieve a healthy balance between the two. The older I get the more difficult it is to achieve the balance. My goal for my young patients is for them to develop a healthy relationship with food. The thing is, that can be different for all of us. The picture above exemplifies the very last thing you want. Would you look forward to a meal if someone were forcing you to eat things you didn’t like? Even though I don’t think of foods as good and bad, I do think there are “anytime” foods, “sometimes” foods, and “indulgent” foods. My ideal rules of everyday eating go something like this:
- Everything in moderation. You can eat any foods you want in appropriate portion sizes. If everyone followed this one simple rule, I think the obesity rate would plummet. Modeling this behavior for your children is key.
- DO NOT LET YOURSELF GET TOO HUNGRY!!!! I cannot emphasize this enough. When we are starving, we shovel in food so fast we don’t realize we are full yet.
- Pick foods you like. Just because you see a recipe for Tofu Baked Oats don’t think you “should” eat it because it is good for you. Number one when making your food choices – YOU HAVE TO LIKE IT!!!!!! This does not mean you don’t try new things. I am just suggesting that when you come to the realization you don’t like something, such as kale smoothies, let yourself off the hook. You’re not going to maintain any eating plan where you are forcing yourself to eat things you don’t like. Not all of us like every single food that is “healthy” for us.
- When you crave a food, give into your craving. Eating an apple when what you really crave is Oreo cookies can eventually lead to overeating. Your best bet is to have a cookie or two. Usually this can satisfy the craving. Of course, it may take some willpower to limit the quantity you eat but remember the “everything in moderation” rule. Once you eat your cookies, the craving should subside.
- Some days you may eat more than others. It’s all a balance. If you overeat on one day, try to get back on track the next day. We’ve all heard this before, don’t give up because you’ve had a bad day.
- Make sure to weigh yourself once a week. Most of my patients report gaining weight during periods when they were not weighing themselves. Seeing that number on the scale go up can help you monitor your eating habits and get back on track.
Below is a list of how I categorize my foods
My “anytime” foods are primarily fruits and vegetables. These are generally low-calorie foods that are packed with nutrients and fiber. Consume these foods the most.
“Sometimes” foods encompass a huge list of things. Just about everything goes in to this list for me. This includes meats, dairy, snack foods, starchy vegetables, etc. Sometimes calories may seem a little high, however, eaten in moderation it’s ok. Scattered among the “anytime” foods should be your “sometimes” foods. For example, in the morning you may have an apple (anytime), oatmeal (sometime), and orange juice (sometime). Lunch may be half a hoagie (sometime) and carrots (anytime). Dinner may be chicken breast (sometime), baked potato (sometime), green beans (anytime). This is just an example but the key with the “sometimes” foods is portion control.
“Indulgent” goods are those that make your eyes bug out when reading the nutrition label. For instance, you want to get a slice of cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory. One slice of Adam’s Peanut Butter Ripple Cheesecake provides an astronomical 930 calories and 59 grams of fat!!! Ok, so get what I mean by indulgent? However, very occasionally these are ok. It might even be a good idea to eat only half of food like this. Given the richness, chances are it will satisfy you.
I like to stress the fact that we should be able to eat all the foods that we enjoy. Portion control along with good food choices is the best path to take. Oh, and remember to think about how the food you are eating tastes. Did you ever notice that the first bite of food tastes the best? As we satisfy our hunger, the pleasure we get from the taste of foods diminishes. Pay attention to this.
I hope this helps as we are fast approaching the holidays. Remember your motto: “Everything in moderation.”
“Eating is not merely a material pleasure. Eating well gives a spectacular joy to life and contributes immensely to goodwill and happy companionship. It is of great importance to the morale. ” Elsa Schiaparelli