I’m on a perpetual quest to improve my health in all areas – mental, emotional, spiritual and physical. These aspects of health often intertwine. As we embark on National Nutrition Month, I’m focusing on food: when we eat, why we eat, how we eat and whether our good intentions match our reality. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics explains, “There’s no one diet that is right for everyone, so it’s important to follow a healthful eating plan that’s packed with tasty foods and that keeps your unique lifestyle in mind.” In my own life, I created my own Nutrition Audit, by asking myself important questions to see if my actual daily life measures up to my goals.
The intention: I try to eat at regularly-spaced mealtimes and occasionally in between for quick fuel, as snacks.
The reality: Sometimes I eat too late at night or have a snack when I’ve recently eaten a whole meal, and I’m consistently picking throughout the day.
The intention: I want to make the choice to eat because I’m hungry and because I need food and fuel.
The reality: Occasionally, I eat to celebrate something, to console myself or because I’m in a group and everyone else is ordering cake. And ice cream. And cappuccino.
The intention: I intend to eat nutritiously, making sure to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, as a way to take care of myself. I also intend to eat mindfully and slowly, savoring the experience.
The reality: Sometimes I eat on the go, grabbing a bite of something less nutritious quickly because it’s available, or I find myself eating without thinking about it.
My goal is to make progress in all three areas, becoming healthier and more mindful of the when how and why of feeding myself.
Think about your own relationship with food. Ask yourself when you tend to eat, why you eat, how you eat and whether the reality of your plan lines up with your intention. Take a look at your cupboard and inside your refrigerator. Do you see healthy options? Have you planned ahead to ensure a healthy diet? If you’re eating on a budget, planning ahead can make a big difference in your grocery bill and in your waistline.
As we move into National Nutrition Month, let’s work toward making our reality match more closely with our intention. We’ll never hit perfection, but we can strive for health. Every step we take toward closing the gap between what we plan to do and what we actually do is a step toward wellness. We can be more mindful of our food, savoring it properly and allowing our bodies to be fueled. We can eat in healthier ways. Let’s take the first step together by adding more fruits and vegetables into our diets, and by paying attention to every bite.