If you’ve kept up with us for awhile, you know that we love holidays! March is National Nutrition Month. We asked our very own Nutrition Expert & Registered Dietitian, Lauren Dimitrov, to give us the expert’s guide on nutrition and healthy eating.
What is mindful eating? Contrary to popular belief, it isn’t just what we eat that’s important but how, where, when, and why we eat. Setting goals to include a mindful eating pattern, including foods that are both nutritious and flavorful, is a great way to begin savoring the flavor of eating right.
I will always stress that what you eat is important. A healthy meal plan will help you to stay on track. Planning ahead will take some effort but it gets easier the more you do it. My family & I have a busy schedule, not to mention a variety of food preferences. Looking at our week in advance, planning meals and grocery shopping helps make the process easier. I always factor in a few meals away from home. From time to time, I get off track with my planning, if we have just come back from a trip for example. Meal planning allows me to know what I am making and alleviates the stress of “what are we going to eat”?
Mindful eating also includes how we eat. Are you a fast eater? It takes 20 minutes for your brain to recognize that your stomach is full. When we eat rapidly, it is easier to overeat because we are not allowing our brains the time it needs to recognize that we are satisfied. Take time to experience the the flavor of different foods. This will also help you to control your portion sizes and avoid overeating.
Where we eat also also plays a role in mindful eating. Depending on the day, most of us will eat in multiple locations. I most always begin my day eating breakfast at home with my children. We eat at the table, without distractions (no TV or electronics). I can choose healthy foods, take time to savor the flavors, and enjoy family time. On weekends we often go out to restaurants. Plan ahead and remain mindful of your choices as well as portion sizes when eating out.
Maintain a meal pattern of when you eat as much as you are able. This allows your body to know when to expect food and help to regulate things such as blood glucose levels. Aim to eat 3 meals and 1-2 healthy snacks per day. The meal I most often see clients skip is breakfast. Try to avoid this & start your day off right with lean protein, fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
Being mindful of why you eat can affect what, how, where, and when you eat. We all eat to nourish our bodies. Some people eat more when they are stressed or depressed, others eat more when they are celebrating or happy.
Go out there & mindfully explore new foods and flavors. You will increase your nutrition and eating pleasure by expanding your range of food choices. When shopping, include a new fruit, vegetable, or grain for you and your family to try. Remember, food is wonderful at helping to nourish our relationships, just as it nourishes our bodies.