Eating right is really quite simple. Remember back when you were a kid? You ate when you felt like it. You felt hunger, you ate, and then you felt satisfied and stopped eating. Yet as you’ve gotten older, you may have noticed that it’s not that simple any more: you’ve been bombarded with contradictory messages about healthy eating (what to eat, what not to eat, when and where), your weight has changed and you blame your diet, that food relieves boredom or stress or helps with many other “feelings”. Truth is, just as the science of food and nutrition is continually evolving, so is your relationship with food. Ask yourself “what would you like your relationship with food to be?”
Here are our suggestions for the best ways to nourish yourself and nurture your relationship with food (minus the rules):
1) Eat, small, balanced amounts of food at regular intervals throughout the day- waiting too long to eat can cause dips in blood sugar which increase feelings of stress and anxiety, additionally you are likely to eat more than you would like to the next opportunity you have to eat. We suggest roughly every four hours while awake.
2) Balance your meals throughout the day. Eating foods from all different food groups helps keep you satisfied longer both emotionally and physically.
3) Practice mindfulness. Pay attention to what you are eating, slow down your pace of eating and involve all your senses. Slowing the pace of your eating gives your brain a chance to catch up with the fact that you actually have food in your stomach and turn off the “I’m hungry message” this generally takes twenty minutes but can take up to up to thirty minutes for some. Eating slowly also allows you to taste your food, saturate your taste buds and truly feel satisfied with what you have eaten.
After eating this way for a while it will become second nature to you and you and you’ll feel (and eat) just like a kid again!
For more information and nutrition resources visit Duke Student Health Nutrition at http://studentaffairs.duke.edu/studenthealth/nutrition
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