Based on consumer research it should come as no surprise, but taste is the number one reason people eat certain food and why one product is picked over another right beside it in the food aisle 1.
The topic picked for National Nutrition Month was aimed at the goal of combining healthy food choices ‘the eating right’ with ‘enjoying how your food tastes’.
The result is to make healthy meal choices which also satisfy our taste cravings! You might think ‘yah, right; easier said than done. Good food just doesn’t taste as good as unhealthy food’. Well, let me play the devil’s advocate and give me a chance to change your mind!
Breaking down…“Enjoying the Taste of Eating Right.”
What does that really mean? Well, to me this means three simple things:
- You have to SLOW DOWN in order to enjoy each meal; do you really take the time to ‘taste’ your food?
- You need to eat more whole foods versus processed foods. Do you know that veggies have a good flavor without dressing? Some are sweet, some bitter, some salty – who knew!
- Plan your schedule to allow for the time needed to prepare more foods from scratch using fresh ingredients – since you are taking more time to prepare, you are more likely to really the taste of the food.
Believe me, life happens and I know it is not always easy to ‘take the time’. I also know that not everyone gets excited about food like I do … So, realizing this, below are a few ways to help you be a more ‘mind-ful eater’ 2:
- Make sure that you make every attempt to sit down when you eat. When you stand up and eat, you tend to eat more and faster! This does not allow you to enjoy your meal.
- Move away from distractions like the TV or computer, and put away your smart phone. Again, being distracted while eating = eating more food than you realize without tasting it.
- SLOW DOWN by taking smaller bites. Each meal should take you about 20 minutes to eat (this is the amount of time it takes for your brain to register that you have been eating and notifies your belly that you should be getting full).
- Finally, think about the time and energy it took to put this lovely meal together. Where did it come from, look at how colorful it is, think about how it will taste. Appreciate your food! ß This is a key to mindful eating and tasting the flavor of good healthy food!
You say you are TOO BUSY…I say that is a lame excuse! ‘Enjoy the taste of eating right’ by:
- Pre-planning snacks that work with your busy schedule
- When eating out – pull up the menu ahead of time, and go in with an idea what items will be good choices for you.
- Make shopping trips pain free by making a list based off your work schedule and meal plan for the week
- Set a food budget so that you don’t over spend or over-shop. And never go shopping hungry. This is when the logical side of our brain is really vulnerable to being over-powered by the emotional side of the brain, and you might make some not so healthy choices.
Food for Thought:
When planning a meal, look at what ‘healthy food items’ are on sale for the week and always try to buy fresh!
Look at your schedule. If Tuesday is the only night you are home than shop before Tuesday and cook for the week that way when you get home later on Wednesday or Thursday all you have to do is heat up your food or just toss together some quick sides to the main dish. This is a key to tasting the flavor of good healthy food choices and eating!
But what about grab and go meals? You can’t make those healthy!!! That is incorrect!
Take the time to cut up bag vegetable and separate servings into bags or containers. This is easier to grab and you will be more likely to eat a colorful variety of vitamins/minerals. If you feel you need a dip, add a good hummus instead of salad dressing.
Mix it up with toppings: Top salads, yogurt, cottage cheese, cereal, or fruit salads with chopped nuts. This adds protein along with a mixture of flavors. Just don’t over do it as nuts have a sneaky amount of calories due to the fat. Up to 2 ounces per day is reasonable.
Craving sweets or a fast meal on the run? Here is a great recipe:
Chocolate Avocado Pudding
- 1 serving vanilla / chocolate protein
- 1 Tbsp cocoa powder (if you want extra cocoa flavor)
- ½ avocado or 1 cup of spinach if you do not like avocado
- 1 cup Ice
- ½ cup of fruit of choice
- 1.5 cups non-dairy milk (coconut, almond, or hemp)
- Blend all ingredients and enjoy!
When you have a game plan, you will feel more organized and can be more in control. So embrace the slogan “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right”! …but as you know food is only one part of the equation.
1. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Online (2014). National Nutrition Month. www.eatright.org/NNM
2. Montalto, Melissa. MS, RD, CD. The Whole U (The University of Washington). National Nutrition Month – Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right. Eating Well. (2014). Retrieved on April 25, 2014 from www.washington.edu/wholeu/2014/03/18/national-nutrition-month
3. Duyff, Roberta. MS, RD, FADA, CFCS. (2012). American Dietetic Association Complete Food & Nutrition Guide (revised & updated 4th edition). Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Page(s) 18, 231-234. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, New Jersey.