Another part of nutritious, delicious eating to me is being able to eat whatever you want! No banning of favorite foods while being force fed foods you don’t like all for the sake of a lower number on the scale or on a doctor’s test. Now I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with eating healthy 100% of the time. I’m just saying that for alot of people, me included, it’s important to find a way to include your favorite foods, even those that are less than healthy, in any eating plan you intend to follow the rest of our life. Making all of this work requires balance, creativity, and an openness to new things.
Now before you go nuts, I’m not giving you permission to have a free for all in your local bakery or ice cream shop or your favorite fast food establishment. What I try to teach people is that it’s a multi-step process.
Step one– make sure your diet–what you eat day in and day out, I’m not talking about special occasions here–is full of a variety of foods from all of the food groups. That would be fruits, vegetables, grains (especially whole), protein, dairy, healthy fats. This way you know you’re getting the variety of essential nutrients your body needs.
Step two–get creative when it comes to buying food and cooking. This means both buying new foods but also experimenting with cooking methods, recipes, seasonings, sauces, and more. When my husband and I first got together his list of acceptable veggies was pretty short–onions, peppers, corn, green beans–broccoli was ok once in a while, but otherwise that was about it. Now, a few years later, he has proclaimed broccoli one of his favs and will eat carrots (before a never) a few times a month. “How?” you ask? Simple–I began roasting broccoli and began serving carrots with a smidge of butter and some fresh ground pepper. I’ll post more ideas and suggestions for this step soon.
Finally step three–think of what are those foods you can’t bear the thought of living without–I don’t mean the healthy ones—I’m talking about the ice cream, potato chips, cookies, pizza, whatever it is. The trick here is figuring out ways to make these foods fit into your diet without negatively effecting your waistline, cholesterol, blood pressure, or just your general overall health. Often these are banned foods that we crave and crave until we can’t take it and then go hog wild. Then the guilt sets in.
A healthier, both physically and psychologically, way to go about this, is to give yourself permission to eat them. That must go hand in hand with a well thought out plan for how to let them fit.
Pizza your downfall? How about having it for dinner twice a month–but limit your intake to 2 slices of veggie topped and pair it with a good-sized salad. To me, that’s a pretty good deal–you get your favorite food, but you’re most likely limiting the frequency and amount while you’re also getting a dose of veggies to go with it.
Do you scream for ice cream? How about giving yourself the A-okay to have 1 scoop once a week during your favorite TV show? Top it with some sliced strawberries and walnuts to boost the nutrition a bit while your at it.
Can’t get through the day without your chocolate? How about a glass of chocolate skim milk, or a couple of chocolate kisses after lunch, or some chocolate graham crackers for a snack. Really, this list could go on an one.
I hope I’m starting to give you an idea of my eating philosophy. There’s so much more for me to share but I thought a good basis about me was needed first. What do you think?