(StatePoint) Mindful eating doesn’t have to be restrictive and you don’t have to give up your favorite foods.
“Simply incorporating more foods that are crafted with integrity and align with your values into your day-to-day eating can go a long way toward helping you feel your best,” says Kara Lydon, a registered dietitian nutritionist. As an intuitive eating counselor, Lydon advises people to stop looking at food as “good” or “bad” and instead, listen to their bodies and eat what feels best in the moment.
With those principles in mind, here are a few simple choices you can make to nourish your body and enjoy your food.
Snacking can keep you satiated between meals and help you regulate your blood sugar and energy levels. It can also be an opportunity to take in essential vitamins and nutrients. Common processed snack foods are often loaded with sodium, added sugars and trans fats. Try these wholesome alternatives: Greek yogurt with raw honey, hummus with carrot and celery sticks, apple slices with peanut butter, edamame, egg and cheese bites, nuts or fruit salad.
Choose Grass-Fed Dairy
In conversations about healthy eating, dairy products sometimes unfairly get a bad rap. But dairy actually has essential nutrients that can be incorporated into a well-rounded daily diet. Lydon says that it’s helpful to be intentional with your choices. The next time you visit the dairy aisle, take a closer look at the labels and search for the term “grass-fed.”
“Grass-fed cows produce dairy with significantly higher concentrations of beta-carotene and certain fatty acids, including conjugated linoleic acids and a more optimal omega-3/omega-6 ratio,” says Lydon. “These nutrients play key roles in disease prevention, mood regulation, cognitive function and more.”
Grow at Home
If you have the space, consider starting a small garden in your yard or even indoors on your kitchen counter. Growing your own food is sustainable and can help you connect more deeply to what you feed your family. What’s more, being able to harvest produce at its peak means more nutritional value and flavor per bite. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of growing plants from seeds, start by buying a few pots of herbs, such as basil, chives and mint. These can be found at many grocery stores. They’re relatively easy to maintain, and can instantly add zest to salads, soups and other meals.
Better eating should never feel like a sacrifice or leave you feeling hungry. The good news is that wholesome, healthier-for-you choices that nourish the body and soul abound today.