If your answer is a resounding ‘yes,’ that’s understandable. Our culture is largely built around food, after all. When was the last time you planned an outing with friends that didn’t involve visiting a café or restaurant?
For many, eating food is a joyful experience. From the flavours to the social gratification of eating with friends and family—we feed our souls too.
When not on a culinary hunt, we are often easily seduced by foods that are convenient and satisfy our cravings. These are often: fast, pre-cooked, salty, sweet, fatty and oily. We are drawn to foods like these because they are packed with calories. From an evolutionary view, this made sense: when finding food was difficult, eating calorically dense foods helped keep us alive.
There is no harm in enjoying food. Certainly, there are a lot of mood-boosting benefits to it. Yet the type of food we enjoy can have a large impact on our health. As of 2012, more than half of adults in the US suffer from one or more chronic diseases. In 2015, one in two Australian adults reported battling at least one ongoing health issue.
Some of the risk factors for chronic health issues can’t be helped. However, a large contributor to chronic poor health is lifestyle related. This involves things like how we active we are, whether or not we drink or smoke, and what we eat.
Think about it.
Most people eat three meals a day with snacks and drinks in between. This happens day in and day out. Wouldn’t it make sense that these meals are the perfect opportunity to either improve or damage our health?
With this in mind, here’s a pinch of mindfulness to add to your next meal:
Be more aware of what you consume.
You can do this by avoiding packaged foods as much as possible. When you have to eat out of a box, look at the ingredients lists. If you’re seeing sugars, numbers and an unusually long list of things you can barely pronounce, it’s a good idea to stay away.
Educate yourself on what healthy nutrition looks like. Resources such as Nutrition Facts can inform you on the most recent nutrition-related research.
Seek some inspiration.
If you look in the right places, you can find delicious and simple foods to help you give packaged goods the boot. Some cookbooks offer recipes with more ingredients than you can count on two hands, which can be expensive and intimidating. Yet websites like the Minimalist Baker offers online recipes with a max of ten ingredients. Some of Deliciously Ella’s meals can be made with even less than that!
Know that your tastebuds will adjust.
If you’re eating a diet that is high in super sweet and salty foods, you’ve probably built up a tolerance to these flavours. This could be why you keep coming back for more and more.
It may seem strange at first to eat foods that are lighter on these flavours, but trust that your body is built to adapt!
If you’re craving something sweet, try a date with some nut butter on top. If you’re after something salty, try some salted roasted nuts. These swaps are easy and better for you too!
Eating can be a joyful and wholesome experience, even while you eat to live a more healthful life.