As different healthy living habits come in and out of fashion, it can be confusing to try and understand how to eat the right food to be healthy and reach your fitness goals. It is important to do what you can to give your body the nutrition it needs. To help implement those habits, there are some practical ways to adapt your kitchen to make healthy eating an easier choice. When you understand where your processed food cravings come from, there are things you can do to make it much easier to choose healthier options.
Two things make eating pleasurable. The first is the sensation of eating, for example the smell, taste, texture, salivary response, and how it feels in your mouth. The second is the macronutrient makeup of the food, the protein, fats and carbohydrates.
Food scientists behind popular processed food companies spend a lot of time researching how to create food that you will find pleasurable to eat. Resisting a packet of potato crisps can be hard because the use of ingredients like salt triggers the release of dopamine in the brain. This is a pleasant experience that will keep you coming back for more.
Processed food can bypass your body’s sense of fullness, your brain receives a signal that you aren’t full, even if you’ve eaten a lot of calories. Foods that melt in the mouth or dissolve quickly make you feel like you aren’t eating as much as you are. When food disappears quickly, this signals to your brain that there are no calories in it and you keep on eating.
When you eat something enjoyable, you may start to produce saliva in anticipation of eating that food again. With highly processed food so readily available, it can be hard to ignore these sensations and choose healthy food.
Once you understand the mechanisms behind your desire to eat processed food, you can make healthy food choices that satisfy your senses and fill you up.
Eat healthy foods that combine a range of different colors, textures and flavors. In this way, you get the nutrition you need without becoming bored with what you are eating.
When you combine foods with contrasting sensations, this creates a sense of novelty that registers as a positive memory in your brain. For example, a healthy snack option might be to have berries with Greek yogurt, topped with chopped nuts. For those who prefer savory snacks, you might choose to have rye crispbreads with hummus and tomato. Combining crispy or crunchy food with creamy foods or salty with sweet food provides a memorable eating experience. Trying new foods that you don’t eat every day keeps your meals interesting.
You may be less inclined to want junk food if you have satisfied this desire for variety and new food combinations with healthy choices.
Educate yourself on the recommended servings for meat, dairy, grains, fruit and vegetables. This knowledge can help you to be confident that you’re filling your body with foods that will give you lasting energy. Filling your plate with mostly vegetables and smaller amounts of protein and starchy carbs is a great way to start.
While intermittent fasting is one of the recent popular trends in healthy eating, you don’t need to fast to eat healthily if that doesn’t work for you. A balanced diet that includes a wide variety of foods from all of the six food groups will ensure that you meet your energy and nutrient requirements.
When healthy food is the easiest thing to grab and go, you’ll be more likely to choose it in a hurry.
Part of healthy eating is finding balance. It’s perfectly okay to eat comfort food or have a treat, especially if it’s part of a celebration or social occasion.
Don’t feel guilty about enjoying your meal, take time to enjoy it and you’ll be satisfied without overeating. Using mindfulness while you eat can help you to become more aware of the experience and how it makes you feel.
Living a healthy lifestyle should be enjoyable and not restrictive. Being comfortable eating all different types of food is part of a balanced mindset and will help you to have a positive relationship with food.
In cultures around the world, meals are a time for people to come together to share food, talk about their day or celebrate a special occasion. Food is the center of many of the most fun and connected aspects of our lives. There's no need to miss these important moments because of what you feel you should or should not eat. Healthy eating choices should not disrupt your social life or be a list of rules to follow.
Eating healthy food doesn’t have to mean you are missing out. Deciding to change the way you eat is a big step towards feeling better and having more energy to go about your day. A healthy lifestyle should make you feel good and allow you to incorporate healthy food choices into your day without being a burden.