By Kathleen Meehan, Sargent Choice Nutrition Center RD
How often do you practice thoughtful eating?
Although we wouldn’t be able to function without food, it lands on the bottom of our to do lists all too frequently. Then, we are left to go hungry or choose whatever is available nearby – often settling for something that’s less than nutritious.
So many of the choices we make each day are well thought out. Which route will result in the least traffic? What shoes will match my outfit? Do I need an umbrella? Consider all the factors involved in shopping for a pair of jeans. Which store will you go to? You think about style, color, fit and price. How do the jeans make you feel? This is a complex decision making process. You’ve practiced it so much that you hardly notice all the criteria involved. When was the last time you thought about food this way?
Thoughtful eating involves the same types of choices. To enjoy the lifelong habit of eating well, rethink the autopilot mindset. Pay attention to all the choices that are presented. Ask yourself these questions when choosing something to eat:
Do I really like it? You wouldn’t buy something just because your friend likes them. How often do you eat something you don’t really enjoy, just because it’s offered to you?
Do I really need it? Maybe you a need warm sweater more than new jeans right now. You have nutrition priorities, too. Certain foods are essential for you to feel good and do well in class, at work and at play. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean giving up the foods you love.
Is it in my budget? You can’t always afford all the material items you might want – and you might notice when others have more to spend. You have a unique food budget, too, based on your gender, age, height, weight and physical activity level.
Learning to be a thoughtful eater is important.
- More people today are overweight, obese or struggling with unhealthy weight control practices than ever before.
- Today’s food environment makes it easy to miss out on key nutrients that may improve your mood, your mind and your athletic performance.
- The typical American diet has been linked to major chronic diseases from cardiovascular disease to certain cancers.
Our website and team of Registered Dietitians, will give you the knowledge and tools you need to make smart decisions about what, when and how much to eat. Learn how to choose meals and snacks that keep you satisfied longer, take the guilt out of special treats you eat purely for pleasure and let thoughtful eating become second nature.
Need help? Register for an appointment with one of the RDs in our center.