Enjoy. Your. Food.
Even though indulging in all your favorite holiday treats may have led you to resolve that 2018 will be the year that you finally start eating healthy, putting yourself on a strict diet is the fastest way to break that New Year’s resolution.
Instead try mindful eating, says Sheah Rarback, UHealth diet and nutrition expert. She explains that new research suggests that mindful eating is related to healthier food choices, reduced calorie intake and reduced susceptibility to hunger cues. “One study even demonstrated that mindfulness increased the enjoyment of eating chocolate,” she added.
The participants were given either chocolate or crackers and then were told to eat them normally or with instructions for mindful eating. These included looking at their food before eating, noticing color and shape, and holding the food in their mouths before swallowing. Those in the mindful chocolate group had a more positive mood than subjects who ate the chocolate as they would normally.
To help you get started, Rarback suggests:
Love what you eat. Don’t deny yourself foods that you really enjoy eating, but make sure that you take the time to truly appreciate them.
Make it sensational. Look at the food, appreciate its aroma, recognize the texture and, of course, the taste.
Chew, Chew, Chew. That is the thing to do! It aids in digestion and allows you to enjoy your food longer. Also, take smaller bites and put your fork down occasionally.
Take your time. Dinner should be a journey, not a race. Sit down — it helps you relax and pay attention to what you’re eating.
Know when to quit. Learn to recognize the feeling of fullness and stop eating when you are there.
In addition to mindfulness, making small changes to how you eat and what you eat also makes a big difference. For instance:
Turn up the heat. Studies show that capsaicin (this causes chili peppers to taste spicy) may help increase metabolism. If your palate can handle it, add a little spice to your life.
Eat your carbs last so you don’t fill up on them. That way you’ll get the protein and veggies your body needs, which is especially important for avoiding weight gain. And if you get full, maybe you won’t even want the carbs – BONUS!
Drink water. Water is the elixir of life … really, it’s true. Not only can it help with chronic pain, fatigue, and mood, it also makes you feel fuller. Drink a full 8-ounce glass before each meal.
Substitute good for bad. There are lots of surprising food substitutions that make it easier to eat better without feeling like you are depriving yourself. Here are a few:
- Applesauce: Unsweetened applesauce is a great replacement for sugar or even oil. You may need to add more water to make sure whatever you’re baking doesn’t dry out.
- Greek yogurt: Add a little olive oil and lemon and use it in the place of mayo. Add some garlic and you have aioli! You’ll be surprised how good it tastes.
- Cauliflower: Mash it and serve it instead of mashed potatoes. No, it doesn’t taste exactly the same, but it’s still yummy!
- Fruit puree or compote: Use this instead of maple syrup.
- Parsnips: Roast parsnips with some salt and paprika for a healthy alternative to fries.