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Enjoying Your Food

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As you're creating your plan for healthy eating to give your body what it needs, remember to include happiness in the recipe. Don't deprive yourself of your favorite foods. If you're feeling deprived, you'll probably be irritable and less likely to stick with a healthy diet plan. Macaroni and cheese, meatloaf, chocolate pudding — they've been named comfort foods for a reason. Eating these familiar foods makes you feel happy, safe, and protected. You may have happy memories connected to these foods, and eating them brings back those good feelings. The trick is to eat these foods in a mindful way so that you get maximum enjoyment from a smaller amount.

Instead of eating an entire carton of ice cream, slowly eat a tablespoon or two and notice how the flavor and texture changes. And don't eat from the carton. Put a small portion into a pretty dish. Experience the pleasure of the food on your tongue and in your mouth. Savor each sensation as you chew and swallow.

If you love chocolate, splurge on one or two pieces of expensive, individually wrapped pieces rather than a jumbo bag of chocolate candies from a discount store. Yes, the richer chocolates will have more fat, but they'll also taste better and may give you more satisfaction in the long run. Plus, if you don't have an entire bag on the shelf, you can't eat it all.

Moderation just may not work for you when it comes to certain foods — like your mother's pumpkin pie or freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. You might need to totally avoid these foods for several months until you feel comfortable enough with your healthy diet to add back a small piece of pie or one cookie. Or you may find that you don't even like the taste anymore.

Eating should be a joyful experience that gives your body what it needs to be healthy. Be creative and daring with new recipes and combinations. Smoothies, for example, are a fun, easy way to try new flavor combinations. Download this smoothie recipe chart for healthy ideas (PDF).

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