Taking a mind-body approach to nutrition

March 08, 2021

Staying in Motion logoMarch is National Nutrition month, a time when we’re reminded to eat more fruits, vegetables and lean meats, reduce our sugar intake and learn about the role of nutrition in our overall health.

But healthy eating is not only be about what we eat but how we eat, and often, how we eat is instilled at a very young age. Here are a few examples of how lifelong bad eating habits begin:

Clean your plate. You probably heard this from a young age, maybe combined with a reminder not to waste food.

You can have dessert if you finish all of your… This may cause us to eat more than we really want and sets us up to be lifelong dessert-after-dinner-eaters. Evening sweets are not just unhealthy, they can cause your blood sugar to spike and impact the quality of your sleep.

healthy vegatables, beans and nuts on slate countertopHere are a few simple strategies for changing these not-so-healthy routines:

For the clean-your-plate club:

  • Eat from a small plate. You’ll have the satisfaction of cleaning your plate while avoiding larger portions that you may not really need.
  • Before reaching for seconds, wait 10 minutes—set a timer if it helps—then ask yourself, “Am I really hungry?”
  • Slow down and notice what you are eating. While it sounds simple, eating to get to the clean plate causes us to miss so much of the enjoyment of eating.

For the dessert-after-dinner lovers: 

  • Eat a piece of dark chocolate with some strawberries or blackberries to fulfill the craving for something sweet. (A bonus: You’ll be adding foods rich with antioxidants.)
  • Enjoy an after-dinner cup of herbal tea or sparkling water. Replacing the sugar with another behavior eventually will seem normal.
  • Remember that cravings are like ocean waves—they rise and fall. Notice what they feel like and see if you can ride out the wave.

Learn about nutrition and tips for healthy eating at an ERS wellness webinar. Some include live cooking demonstrations. View a schedule on the ERS  Wellness Events webpage .

Also, don’t forget to take advantage of the programs and resources your health plan offers. From weight management programs like Naturally Slim or Real Appeal, to easy-to-read online articles with tips and recipes, you’ll likely find strategies to address your individual goals.