Health & Wellness
All Foods Fit
March is National Nutrition Month, and this year’s theme is “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right.” “Eating right” is not about avoiding all the foods you love and being stricken to a diet full of tasteless choices. Any food can fit into an overall nutritious diet. The key is to focus on moderation and good planning.*
So what is a nutritious diet? If you think about it as a plate, strive to fill half your plates at each meal with fruits and vegetables, fill one quarter with lean protein (meat, poultry fish or vegetarian protein sources), and the last quarter with whole grains. Also, include low-fat dairy and small amounts of heart-healthy fats, since they also provide essential nutrients.
But healthy eating is not only about what we eat, it also involves why and how we eat. This philosophy is known as mindful eating, and it promotes the idea that depriving yourself of foods you love or attaching guilt with eating can actually undermine your health and wellness goals. Instead, eating mindfully encourages us to focus on eating as an experience; slowing down and savoring each bite. This is often hard to do in today’s busy world, but practicing mindful eating can lead to better food choices, smaller portions, better digestion, and an overall healthier diet.
So how does this work? Here is a quick breakdown of what it means to eat mindfully:
Ask yourself “Am I hungry?” On a scale of 1-10, with 1 being famished and 10 being stuffed silly, the goal is to begin eating at around a 3 or a 4 and to stop around a 7 or 8. Check your hunger before you eat and at least once while you’re eating
If the answer to “Am I hungry?” is no, then food will not change how you are feeling. Calling a friend, playing with your dog, reading a chapter of a good book, or taking a nice bubble bath are just a few activities that nurture your emotions without turning to food.
If the answer to “Am I hungry?” is yes, then take a sensible portion of what you’re truly craving and eat it with intention (e.g. without guilt or distractions like multitasking). Choosing the nutritious foods we mentioned above most of the time will certainly help keep you healthy. Try not to create “forbidden” foods as this will likely only lead to dissatisfaction and eventual binges on the foods we think we “shouldn’t” eat.
The key to mindful eating is to make conscious decisions about the food you eat and the environment in which you eat it. Here are some of our favorite mindful foods:
- Fresh mozzarella cheese mixed with cherry tomatoes, basil, and drizzled with balsamic vinegar.
- 3 ounces of your favorite steak topped with freshly grated horseradish and paired with a roasted vegetable medley (carrots, broccoli, squash, potato wedges, eggplant, peppers, etc.).
- ½ fresh bagel (try whole grain!) with a smear of lower-fat cream cheese and either nova lox, cucumber and tomato (for savory) or a sprinkle of cinnamon and raisins (for sweet)
- 2 small chocolate chip cookies on a dessert plate with a glass of low-fat milk (or unsweetened non-dairy milk alternative).
- 1 square of dark chocolate spread with a thin layer of natural peanut butter and topped with a raspberry or a slice of strawberry.
- 1 scoop of butter pecan ice cream on top of half of a grilled peach, apple, or pear.
In addition to managing a variety of health and nutrition education programs for ShopRite, Natalie is a resource for ShopRite customers. If you’re curious about a current diet trend or seeking health and wellness information, click on the link to the right to submit a question to Natalie. Check back each week Natalie posts a new article and iinformation on the health and wellness section of ShopRite.com
Please note: Information contained on this website is intended for informational purposes only and does not replace advice from your doctor or health care provider. Individuals have different needs based on a number of factors including age, gender, ethnicity, level of physical activity, and current health status. For individual recommendations, please consult with a doctor, pharmacist, or a registered dietitian.