We are all guilty of mindless eating at one time or another. When we sit down with a small bag of chips and finish it off before we realize it. When you eat something healthy and delicious but you can barely remember what it tasted like. Or when someone asks what you ate for breakfast but you can’t recall? Food is meant to nourish our body but it is also meant to be enjoyed. Here are some tips for eating with intention, both for health and for the pleasure of eating.
For a variety of reasons, eating is not something that should be multi-tasked. When you eat in the car or at your desk you are likely to eat until you are finished not until you are full. If you brought a properly proportioned lunch with you this is of less concern, but if you ordered in then the portion is likely excessive. Also, most desk and on-the-go eaters inhale their food which is bad for digestion. Desk eaters often forget to eat leaving large gaps between meals that make it impossible to remain internally balanced. Large gaps between meals also have external consequences such as lack of focus, decreased memory and recall, increased irritability, and low energy.
If you eat on time and with intention you will give your brain a break from the day and your body the nutrients it requires to thrive. All you need is 10 or 15 minutes to eat, but it’s better to take your full 30 or 60-minute break. Use any remaining time to take a walk, call a friend, read a book, or even run a quick errand.
We must remember that food is fuel. This means we must all but eliminate empty calorie foods like soda and candy and eat to nourish our body. However, we must take things further than the general nutrition that applies to just about everyone and consider how food can support our individual needs. With every major life change, your nutritional intake must be adjusted. This is why the nutrients we require vary as a child, adult, or senior. However, nutrition also varies when we are pregnant, when training for a marathon, when sick, or after we are diagnosed with a chronic health condition.
The food you eat can have a major impact in terms of lessening the severity of pain-causing inflammation, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, thyroid issues, digestive concerns, and more. It also provides you with the energy to ensure you are operating at peak potential—both physically and mentally. This means you must not just eat because you are hungry, but to nourish your body.
Meal planning is an important part of any weight loss or weight maintenance plan. The goal is to plan at least 90 percent of your meals and snacks. This leaves room in your diet for a few treats and free choices. If you know that you will be going out to eat with friends, check out the menu online ahead of time to see what is in line with your nutritional needs. For example, a healthy and nutritious meal, but you can splurge on a shared appetizer with your friends. If you cook most of your meals try to plan your meals at least one week in advance, which will also make grocery shopping easier. Be sure to keep plenty of healthy snacks in the house and at work so that you always have options.
Teaching individuals of all ages, weights, shapes, sizes, and levels of physical activity are what we do at PNC. We personalize your menu plan to support your unique needs. This helps you achieve your intention of eating for optimal health without forgetting the intention to enjoy every bite you eat. Reach out today to learn more!