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Abundance of Opportunities for Healthy Eating

Are you mindful of what you eat? Are there times when you subconsciously eat foods that you really should not eat? Do you know what you should eat to nourish your body?

It is funny, when I ask kids about nutrition they know what they should be eating but often will admit that they are not eating healthy. One of the funniest conversations I have ever had with one of my classes was when a student raised his hand and literally said, “I eat nothing healthy.” Which we all giggled about, but then we started talking about how to make healthier eating choices and that maybe we could find some healthy choices that he might like. We went to far as to have a healthy eating day where students brought in different foods that they like that are healthy options and everyone in the class got to try it if they wanted to. This was one of the best days I have had with teaching. Students were so excited to share their healthy options and almost everyone tried something new. Then we made a class, ‘Healthy Eating Recipe Book,’ so that students could go back and make any of the healthy options they tried.

When my daughter was little my rule was always, “healthy first,” then she could have a treat or something else that she wanted but she always had to have a healthy snack first. Later, I had a friend say to me that whenever they reach for a snack they would hear my voice in their heads say, “healthy first,” then they would pick a healthy option to have before a treat. This made me laugh but it really is a good approach to a more balanced way of eating.

When we begin to eat mindfully it really is about taking that extra moment to make a conscious decision about your food choices. So often our go to snacks are not the best option, so learning to take that extra moment and consciously choose, can make a big difference. Then when you do consciously decide on a treat you can enjoy it that much more.

If you think about it you probably have easy mindful options in your cupboard or fridge right now but they may not be the first thing you reach for. So I challenge you to set up your week so that the healthy options are easier to reach for. Cut up a bunch of fruit and vegetables so that when you are hungry and reaching for a snack you can easily pull them out first instead of the chips or chocolate.

Another aspect of mindful eating is to begin to take notice of what is in the foods you purchase. One lesson I remember learning as a child that still sticks with me today was: “if you cannot read the ingredients or know what they are you should not buy that product.” This is a really important lesson.

The more mindful we are about what ingredients are in our foods the more there will be a push for policies on our food production to change. There are companies that produce the “same” products for Europe and North America but with different ingredients. There are stronger rules and regulations in the European Union the products in Europe are more wholesome. This is something every consumer should be aware of and demand better of their governing bodies, but so many people are oblivious to this.

If you struggle with knowing what the ingredients in your foods are, you can use apps like “Yuka.” It is an app that scans the barcodes of products you purchase and gives you a detailed outline of if the product is a healthy option or not and why. This app is absolutely amazing. If you are beginning to be more mindful of your foods, I highly recommend downloading it and using the free or paid version.

This week I challenge you to be really mindful of what you eat. Make a list of everything you put in your mouth each day this week. At the end of the week take notice of what you had and evaluate if you made healthy choices or not. Even being conscious of the fact that you are writing down what you eat will be the first step to an abundance of opportunities to make mindful food choices.

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