A lot has changed for 21st-century women, but one thing hasn’t: Moms still juggle insanely busy lives and their needs usually fall last on their own list, says Columbia University-certified health coach Beth Aldrich. That includes eating — as in, really loving what you eat. Because that bag of chips you downed watching the final episode of Lost for a third time actually didn’t really make you feel that good. Here’s how to fall in love with delicious — and healthy — food.
Busy schedules have a way of turning us to convenient processed foods or sending us to the drive-through window. But food can, and should, be about savoring every bite.
“It’s wonderful to take pleasure in food,” says Beth Aldrich, author of the award-winning new book, Real Moms Love to Eat: How to Conduct a Love Affair with Food, Lose Weight and Feel Fabulous. Eating shouldn’t be about depriving ourselves of treats — just not eating those treats every day, she says, and when we do eat them, really enjoying them. There’s no place in a good relationship for mindless, empty noshing.
“Eating in front of the TV is not savoring,” she says. How much buttery salted popcorn do you really need to get a fix?
Turn comfort food into healthy favorites
“There are also plenty of great healthy ingredients that you can turn into new foods to love, and even healthier versions of those favorite comfort foods from childhood,” Aldrich says. “You’ll finish meals feeling energized, emotionally satisfied and best of all, not guilty.” Meals shouldn’t weigh us down and make us feel like hitting the couch.
Aldrich has these top tips to start a love affair with what you eat
Make it all about you: Get back to the basics, remembering the pleasure inherent in the food experiences of your childhood. Think of the simple joy you had crunching into a sweet apple. How does that compare with the high-fructose corn syrup-drenched, refined wheat-flour products that leave you bloated and craving more? Whole foods – those eaten in their natural, unprocessed state, such as a baked potato versus French fries — give you a fuller eating experience and increase energy.
Try whole foods for energy
Get naked with raw foods: Our earliest ancestors were hunter-gatherers who foraged for and consumed a wide variety of food, mostly consisting of raw veggies. Your body will thank you not long after you include more raw food into your diet, but you don’t have to go the full Monty right away. Add fresh berries to your breakfast yogurt, include fresh nuts with your lunch or replace cole slaw from the supermarket deli with a fresh recipe made from scratch.
Tame your cravings dragon: One of the swiftest paths to an unhealthy snacking binge is ready-made, highly processed sweets and baked goods. The craving attack occurs when moms are busy and haven’t planned their meals for the day, and it leads to a spike in blood sugar, a crash and then another monster-size craving. Have healthy options ready to go, including whole-grain toast with sesame butter or a simple yogurt and berry smoothie.
Yes, love that chocolate
Indulge your inner chocoholic (a little): Eating an ounce of dark chocolate every day — high-quality dark chocolate without all the fillers – is good for you. Dark chocolate contains natural chemicals that serve as mood boosters and elevate serotonin levels, which enhance our sense of well-being. Health benefits range from keeping blood vessels elastic to increasing antioxidant levels.
“The wrong way to look at the whole-food diet is as an obligation,” Aldrich says. “You are doing your body and your taste buds a favor by excluding unnecessary sugar, salt and processed fats from your diet in favor of a variety of spices, fuller textures and a sexier figure.”
Watch: Tips to eating healthier
Today on the Daily Dish, communication and relationship expert Jenn Kaye shows you ways to eat healthier.