If you are trying to be healthy, is it possible to eat your favorite foods? That depends on what they are. For many of us, our favorite foods are not the healthiest options on our plate. The key to being healthy while still having your favorite foods is doing so with intention, moderation and by making smart choices about the types of food you eat. Here are some tips on balancing your diet while still enjoying your favorite foods.
Tip #1: Eat with intention
The problem with eating your favorite foods isn’t that they are bad for you, rather, it’s that you binge on them. Have you ever started eating a bag of chips only to glance down and see that they’re gone? Eating with intention helps curb this problem by bringing your focus to the act of eating. When you eat, do so without the TV on or your cell phone and take pauses between bites; eat slowly and make a conscious decision to be mindful as you eat.
This also means that when you indulge in your favorite food, enjoy it! Don’t feel guilty. Acknowledge that you are having something you deserve and that your other choices will balance it out. Guilt doesn’t taste great anyway.
Tip #2: Eat in moderation
A sure-fire way to fail anything is by being too restrictive. The key to eating healthily is moderation. We hear this all the time, but what does it mean? Moderation means different things for different people. Take note of how much you eat and use measuring cups if necessary. Are you full halfway through your meal? As you become more aware of the signals your body is giving you, you will begin to notice how much is right for you. If you struggle with portion control, see a registered dietitian who can help.
Tip #3: Find healthy versions of your favorite foods
A chocolate chip cookie is bad no matter what, right? Wrong. A cookie in a box from the store (Chips Ahoy, for example) is worse for you than one you make at home. Preservatives and other chemicals turn it into a franken-cookie. If you’re going to opt for your favorite foods, make the choice to have a cleaner, healthier version without junk.
If you love pasta, go for the whole grain version. Stuck on fried foods? Use a spritz of oil and a light breadcrumb coating to get the same crunch and taste. Addicted to chocolate? Opt for a square of dark chocolate to sate your cravings. There are smart ways to enjoy your favorite foods without the negatives.
Tip #4: Keep moving
Maintaining your exercise routine is key to maintaining a balanced diet. Starting your day with a run or other workout will help you to have energy throughout the day. A study showed that moderately intense exercise on a consistent basis is key to keeping off unhealthy weight gain. It helps by burning calories and giving you energy that won’t have you reaching for unhealthy snacks to get an energy boost.
Making a conscious decision to eat healthy doesn’t mean you have to banish your favorite foods. You can eat them as long as you make them a part of a balanced approach to your diet. By doing so, you won’t regret that cookie or bag of chips -- you’ll actually be able to enjoy it!