Sunday, July 17, 2011

10 Ways to Have a Healthy Relationship With Food

“By fostering a supportive environment, you and your family can develop a positive relationship with healthy food. You can lead them by your example.” 
~Jennifer Warner WebMDfeature article

The other day I read a great article fromWebMD about getting kids to eat healthy foods. It occurred to me as I was reading that all of the tips listed could be helpful for adults as well. So here is my reinterpretation for you!

These tips are all about creating a healthy and positive relationship with food. Not just to get off those last 10 pounds but to establish a healthy eating habit for a lifetime.

10 Ways to Have a Healthy Relationship With Food
  1. Avoid placing restrictions on food. Restricting foods fosters a mindset of deprivation. You might have the will power to keep it up in short bursts but it will likely backlash on you later down the line. Instead of placing heavy food restrictions on yourself focus on falling in love with all the healthy food options that are available to you. Learn how to properly store and cook healthy foods and learn what healthy foods you love! 
  2. Keep healthy food at hand. And keep the junk food out. Make it easy for yourself to choose healthy options. Keep healthy snacks out in plane sight and easy to access. Do your grocery shopping when you have your health goals firmly in mind with a good plan.
  3. Don't label foods as "good" or "bad." The food itself is not innately bad, it just might not do for your body what you need it to. Tie foods to the things you care about. For example remind yourself that good nutrition will help you have more energy and a clear mind. Remind yourself that good nutrition will help you feel better overall and keep you regular. Think about how food makes you feel overall and how it impacts the things you need and want to get done.  
  4. Praise healthy choices. Go ahead, pat yourself on the back when you make a good choice. Stand a bit taller and be proud of yourself. You are doing great!  
  5. Don't nag about unhealthy choices. Old habits can be hard to break, no need to berate yourself. Instead just try to redirect yourself to a healthier substitute. Want something sweet? How about a piece of fruit instead of a candy bar. Looking for something salty? How about a small portion of nuts instead of potato chips. If you slip up, try to think of how you could avoid that slip up in the future. Don’t feel guilty! Guilt never did anything to encourage a healthy relationship with food for anyone. 
  6. Never use food as a reward. This is not the best path to creating a healthy relationship with food. Next time you find yourself saying “it’s ok, I deserve it” as you start to grab yourself a candy bar try finding a different sort of reward instead. How about you take a nap this afternoon or go get a pedicure. Or even better go for a walk or take a yoga class. You do deserve it! You deserve to live a long life and have a healthy relationship with food. 
  7. Sit down to family dinners at night. This is a great habit for your kids but it is for you as well. By eating at the table instead of in front of the TV or computer you are able to eat mindfully and fully enjoy your food. Dinning on amazing food with people you love is one of the great pleasures in life. Enjoy it!
  8. Prepare plates in the kitchen. Serving platters on the table to pass around might be pretty but it’s not the best way to go for portion control. Take it even one step further and measure your food so you know what you are really getting. Serve your plate in the kitchen right from the pots and pans they were cooked in. This saves an extra dish to clean as well. Bonus! 
  9. Try at least one bite. Be a food explorer and try new and different things. Ever cooked with eggplant? How about heirloom beans? Try some different things and see what you like. There is a whole new world of foods out there to explore. 
  10. Consult your doctor. Get yourself checked out! This is part of practicing awareness. Know your numbers and what your health risks are. Talk to your doctor about your diet and exercise changes.
One of the best things you can do to help your kids create healthy habits is to create healthy habits for yourself.  Be a good example and eat what you would like to see your kids eat.  Create a healthy family with a healthy relationship with food.  It's one of the best things you could do for your kids and yourself.

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