By Ellie Wilson, MS, RDN, CDN, Senior Nutritionist
Every spring, I have the privilege of working with women who are pursuing a healthier lifestyle with a focus on heart health, through our partnership with the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women initiative. I love meeting with them and taking them through the store. We have a great time learning how to use the NuVal® Scores on the shelf tag, as well as how to move into a more Mediterranean style of eating. I particularly love changing their minds about the myth-information that may be impacting their relationship with food and undermining their efforts to truly enjoy all the benefits it can bring us.
I have never seen the level of interest in nutrition that we have these days – it is wonderful, but it has a downside. Check out these tips to keep your food relationship in balance.
Give Yourself Permission to Eat: I find so many people feeling bad about enjoying food. Food is nourishment, and the full spectrum of foods (fats, proteins, and carbs) are all necessary for good health.
There Are NO Bad Foods: We blow food choices up into good or bad, and then inadvertently define ourselves by those terms. A French fry is just that – not a weapon to judge yourself, or anyone else with. Enjoy them occasionally, in a mindful way, and they will be just another food choice. When you classify food as bad, then crave it, you create a boomerang effect that leaves you feeling unhappy, whether you eat it or not.
Listen to Your Body: Eat when you need fuel and energy, and stop when you feel satisfied. This is called eating mindfully – focus on the food when you prepare and eat it. Let it nourish you!
Know the Difference Between a Snack and a Treat: We get about 50 percent of our calories from snacks these days, so make them count toward your healthier eating. Their purpose is to supply wholesome fuel and reduce the chance that you will become excessively hungry and overeat. A treat is an indulgence, plain and simple – enjoy them occasionally and don’t feel bad about them afterwards!
Cut Back on Food Rules: “Can’t, bad, don’t, limit, restrict, never” – these are all words that should be used cautiously around foods and food practices. The more rules you make, the more chances you have to feel bad about food that is likely just fine.
LiveSmart supports the Classroom Enrichment Fund at the Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region and is made possible by donations from St. Peter’s Health Partners and Price Chopper, with promotional services provided by the Times Union and WNYT/NewsChannel 13. LiveSmart is compiled by Helen Susan Edelman, Project Director. This project ensures 70,000 students and teachers in the Capital Region have equal access to news content during the school year.