Food is one of the most important elements of daily life. It also seems to be one of the most confusing topics of conversation. There seem to be so many thoughts from “influencers” on how to manage our relationship with food. Additionally, many of us get caught up in busy schedules and take for granted the ways food brings wealth to our overall wellbeing. Food nourishes our body and brain in significant ways. The aim of this article is to give you practical information you can use to make your relationship with food meaningful and intuitive.
STOP DIETING!!!! Unless your doctor has given you an eating protocol specific to your health needs. There are hundreds of dietary theories floating around and thousands of books written on diets and food. Most diets are not sustainable. According to research most diets fail because they are too restrictive. Diets may limit the amount of food you eat, the types of foods you eat, and how often you eat. Diets may restrict in any one of the aforementioned ways or all.
Food is important to our biological health in that it becomes a part of the blood that runs through our veins and sustains our physical wellbeing. It is also a part of our biological wellbeing in that food is communion and a shared meal connects us to others. Holidays, family time, friend time, work meetings, and many other communal events take place around a table and a shared meal.
Eat intuitively and intentionally!!! Factors that influence our food intake are similar to the factors that influence our physical work outs. Time, enjoyment, cost, and benefits all influence our relationship with food. Intentional eating helps you ensure you get all the health benefits you need in your meals.
Saving time with meal prep and planning is as important as saving money. Initially meal planning and prepping may take a bit more time, but once you settle into a routine, it can be easy and fun. Pick a day of the week to set down for an hour or two and plan your meals for the week. Plan for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks in between. Things you might consider for meal planning:
- Theme nights – Slow Cooker Sunday can make for an easy day of cooking meals a Sunday afternoon family meal easy. Meatless Monday is a great way to eat alternative meatless proteins. Taco Tuesday is always fun and can be really creative.
- Fresh raw food snacks are great for saving time. When paired with hummus, nut butter, or other fun sauces, they take on whole new flavor and become more enjoyable.
- Breakfast smoothies and overnight oats are super easy to make and taste delicious.
- Chicken is an easy protein to make ahead and then add to soups, salads, tacos, or one dish meals.
- Sheet pan veggies make for easy cooking and quick clean up.
- Plan for meals you will eat out.
- Plan for meals you will share with extended family and friends. (Include shared meals in your plan.)
- Plan to use leftovers.
You may have noticed food prices have increased significantly in the past year. The above list not only includes time savers but money savers. Additionally, buy foods you can use to make more than one meal with for the week. Consider how many meals you can make with a particular ingredient such as a dozen eggs, a package of chicken, rice, beans, etc. Stretch your dollars by stretching your ingredients. Also consider growing some of your favorite fruits and vegetables in a home garden and perhaps even owning a chicken or two for fresh eggs.
Food should be an intentional part of your daily life as it brings us satisfaction and pleasure. Thetenants of intuitive eating include:
- Eating what our body intuitively asks for and noting when you are satisfied and have eaten enough.
- Making food choices that honor your health, taste good to you, and make you feel good.
- Pause while eating to note your level of satisfaction and hunger level.
Eat well, be well, and live well! Below are some resources you may find helpful.
My favorite fabulous food websites:
- Eating Bird Food (Don’t let the name fool you) https://www.eatingbirdfood.com
- Real Food with Jessica https://www.realfoodwithjessica.com
- Eating Well https://www.eatingwell.com
- Food Network https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/photos/sheet-pan-recipes
Home garden resource:
Themed dinner ideas:
*As seen in At Home Memphis and Midsouth