Nutritionist Jane McClenaghan from Vital Nutrition takes seven easy steps to reinvent your relationship with food.
Good nutrition is about so much more than just the sum of the calories on your plate. The food you choose can transform your health from the inside out. It can help support your physical health, mental well-being and can even affect your emotional state.
We often feel guilty about choosing foods we enjoy that aren’t necessarily the best for our health. What if we changed our attitude to diet and had a healthier, more balanced approach to nutrition?
Instead of focusing on what you are not doing, the “bad” choices, or the foods you should be eating, what if you focus on the healthy habits you already make?
It is not the quick fixes and fad diets that make the difference. The little, everyday habits, like building flaxseed into your morning routine or making time for a nutritious lunch, can work to build our long-term health and well-being. The more we can connect to how food makes us feel, the more likely we are to make choices that nourish our bodies and provide optimum nutrition.
It is all a matter of balance and a little rethinking about what your diet means to you. Here are simple habits to help transform your thoughts about the food on your plate.
Take a mindful moment
Before you tuck into a plate of food, take a breath. This will help to switch you out of “fight-or-flight” mode and into “rest-and-digest” mode, which is a much better state to eat in. This switch from the sympathetic to the parasympathetic nervous system will aid digestion and help to slow down your eating so that you get the most from the food on your plate.
Connect to the food on your plate
As you munch, notice how your food smells, looks, tastes, and feels. Tuning into your senses will help to slow things down a little for better digestion.
Plan ahead and give your food choices a little more consideration
Do you eat on the go, grab a quick bite to keep you going, or skip meals because you are too busy? A little bit of planning can go a long way. Planning ahead for three or four days is a great habit to get into. You will likely make better choices, spend less on takeaway or quick food, and reduce food waste.
Consider how you might add extra nutrition to your plate
One of the simplest ways to add extra fibre, omega-3 fats and protein to your daily diet is to get the flaxseed habit. Linwoods milled flaxseed is so easy to incorporate into mealtimes. Stir into yoghurt and fruit, add to smoothies or soups, or sprinkle on top of curry.
Try different varieties, like the original milled flaxseed or Linwoods seed mix with flaxseed, sunflower, pumpkin, chia seeds and goji berries. Use it in different ways and see what works for you.
Enjoy the process of planning, prep and cooking your own food
Taking a little time to be more thoughtful about what food will fuel you and what you want to eat is likely to mean that you choose food that nourishes you rather than grabbing a quick fix that tends to be void of much nutrition.
Choose foods that are unprocessed and as near to their natural state for optimum nutrition
Adding plenty of plant foods like fresh (or frozen) fruit, vegetables, herbs, spices, pulses, nuts, seeds, and (of course!) a daily pop of Linwood’s milled seeds into your diet will give your meals a nutritious boost that will benefit your health.
Eating an unprocessed, natural diet means improving your dietary fibre intake, essential for regular digestion. Still, it has the added benefit of helping to manage a healthy blood sugar and insulin balance and protecting cardiovascular health.
Change your attitude to calories
When you eat for health, rather than simply counting calories, you will improve the balance of what’s on your plate. Foods that naturally contain high levels of omega-3 fats, like flaxseed, chia and oily fish, are especially beneficial.
These “good fats” will not be stored as fat as they are used by the body for many different functions – from appetite balance to metabolism, hormone regulation, immune support and neurotransmitter function.
Get in touch with how food makes you feel. Be more mindful of your food choices; you will soon notice a difference in your health.