Monday, February 18, 2013

Love what you eat! -Shannon Ellis

February Health Tip – Love what you eat!

February is all about the love.  And I’m not afraid to admit it – I love food.  While some people’s love of food is more like lust or turns into addiction, I believe it is possible to have a totally healthy love affair with food.  It doesn’t have to be a fling (or a binge) that leaves you feeling guilty after.  Follow these 5 tips for a relationship with food that can go the distance: 

 Only eat foods you actually like
This does not mean you should let your kids skip their vegetables or that you should never try new things; it means that you shouldn’t take in extra calories if you don’t enjoy them.  To quote Anton Ego, famous food critic from the Disney movie Ratatouille, “I don’t like food I love food.  If I don’t love it I don’t swallow.”  At a party I’m often over by the food table and while some of it will be very good, some of it will not be that great but for some reason I keep eating.  My husband is much smarter.  He knows what he likes so he may eat that one thing that he really enjoys but then he leaves the rest alone.  His way keeps him satisfied and is much healthier in the long run.  Don’t mindlessly eat just because food is around. 

Use portion control.  
More does not equal better.  The law of diminishing returns comes into effect.  I know this is a principle of economics but it definitely applies to food.  Basically the law of diminishing returns means that adding more of one thing (all others being constant) will at some point yield lower returns.  For example that first bite of chocolate ganache is amazing – a true delight to your taste buds.  And it is wonderful in your mouth for the next few bites.  But as you keep eating each bite is incrementally less delicious.  At some point it does not taste quite as good to you.  It becomes too rich.  And if you keep going you will feel gross and sick.  Isn’t it better to really enjoy something and then quit while you are ahead, while you still love it?

             Find ways to enjoy healthy foods. 
Some people don’t like vegetables or other healthy foods.  Sometimes it is because of the flavor and sometimes it is because of the texture.  Challenge yourself to prepare vegetables in different ways until you find a way that you like.  My son doesn’t like raw carrots but he will eat them if I cook them.  Peppers are just the opposite.  You can try roasting, grilling, boiling, sautéing, par-boiling, steaming and many other ways to cook the same things.  Don’t write off something that could be good for you without trying it.

  Plan ahead. 
Take the time each week or month to plan ahead.  Consider breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks with your schedule in mind.  By planning ahead you are in control of what you eat and you won’t find yourself trapped with nothing but fast food as an option.  Plus you can plan something that everyone in your family will like. 

   Slow down and savor.
Try not to eat on the go but take the time to sit down.  Look at your food.  Smell it.  Chew each bite and let the taste fill your mouth.  Appreciate it.  Not only will you enjoy it so much more, but you will likely eat less.  People who eat slowly are more likely to maintain a healthy weight then people who chow down quickly.  Eating slowly gives your brain time to realize that your stomach is full.


In this month of hearts and love don’t make food the enemy.  Commit to following these steps and enjoy a great relationship with food.  Love what you eat and take care of your body at the same time.
I hope you and all the loves in your life have a wonderful month. 

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