As an RD, I know a thing or two about living well and eating healthfully and I hope I can pass along some of this knowledge to you. But I also know life is about enjoying it and restrictive diets can be…well, restrictive and not enjoyable. In the Midwest, people enjoy eating and gathering together at the table. Myself included. I don’t think we should feel completely restricted in what we’re “allowed” to eat—there’s no way I’m passing up Mom’s Orange Tapioca Jello at Christmas (if that’s not Midwest, I don’t know what is)! In a food- and diet-crazed world, there are a lot of “rules” by which people want you to abide by in order to “be healthy”. In my life, though, I have five main ones (guidelines, really) I try to fit into my daily life and are also the core of my blog.
Guidelines to Live By
1. Everything in Moderation
Yes, this even includes desserts. Before I get too far along, there are two things you should probably know about me: 1) I love sweets and 2) I can’t get enough peanut butter. Oh, and 3) I love to run…which I guess is good due to my first two favorites. I’m glad we have that taken care of.
Depriving ourselves of food only makes us want it that much more. Diets are ineffective solely because of that—the diet can’t last and you’ll always go back to what you couldn’t have while on your diet. But allowing ourselves the freedom to have foods, helps to control our intake.
2. Make Modifications
In the Midwest, casseroles, jello salads, and meat and potatoes are staples. I wouldn’t call them the healthiest, but making simple changes can drastically improve their nutritional quality. Limiting the salt, choosing leaner meats more often, adding more color to meals, using low-fat dairy products, or baking rather than frying are all easy things I usually try to do. Now as for desserts…they only get modified some of the time. If I’m enjoying a dessert, I want to really enjoy a dessert. Everything in moderation, right?!
3. The More Color the Better
A plate full of one color is no fun, plus it doesn’t have all the nutritious vitamins and minerals that a plate full of colorful fruits and vegetables has. I like to add in vegetables into recipes that don’t normally call for it. It gives it more freshness, texture, and flavor, too.
4. Enjoy the Meal
Practicing mindful eating is a good habit to form and one I’m still working on. It takes practice, but I’m really trying to listen to my body to decide whether I’m actually hungry or if a piece of chocolate just looks good. Mindful eating also means savoring everything about the foods I’m eating—the texture, the flavors, the mouthfeel—so I can enjoy it that much more. When I pay attention to the meal I’m eating and actually think about each bite, rather than scrolling through Facebook on my phone while I eat (guilty), it helps me get more satisfaction from the meal and realize when I’m satisfied sooner—rather than when I’m to the pants-too-tight-full point.
5. Live a Healthy Lifestyle
Living healthfully is so much more than just eating healthy. Sleep, physical activity, and healthy relationships are of equal importance if we want to lead a healthy life. That’s why this blog doesn’t just focus on food, but also about life and what I’m doing to stay active—and hopefully motivating you along the way!
So there you have it. Those are my rules (or guidelines). Sure, there’s always going to be more rules and suggestions to get overwhelmed by, but for me, these five are enough for me to try to achieve on a daily basis. I hope to make these front and center of my blog—a blog on enjoying life and the food you eat.