Sensible Eating throughout the Year

Rob Davis, BS Dietetic Intern

FEBRUARY 16, 2017

So, you’ve decided to start eating healthier. Congrats! We’re with you! But eating healthy doesn’t mean biting off more than you can chew. In fact, sensible eating is all about making small, manageable changes over a steady period of time rather than taking on several big changes at once. What’s more, sensible eating doesn’t mean you need to follow a strict diet or adhere to any rigid menus or bizarre fads. Sensible eating is about finding uncomplicated strategies to eat well in ways that work with your lifestyle. It’s a practical approach to healthy change. Here’s how to get started.

Eating sensibly starts with planning: Planning meals ahead of time can be key to making healthy choices. By planning ahead, you’re more likely to make sensible decisions while avoiding the impulses and rash decisions that come with time constraints or shopping on an empty stomach. This weekend, schedule a half-hour sit down with your family to plan out meals for the coming week. You can find inspiration in a cookbook, magazine, or check out the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics for healthy and delicious recipes. If finding recipes is difficult for you, there are several companies that deliver healthy and unique ready-to-make meals right to your doorstep.

Watch your portions: Portion control is another area you can focus on to improve the way you eat. Here’s how:

  • Use a smaller plate at meals. Smaller plates mean smaller portions, and this helps with eating less.
  • When snacking, put the food into a small bowl rather than eating out of the bag or container. This way you can visualize exactly how much you will eat.
  • Pre-portion leftovers to take for lunch or sliced fruits and vegetables for snacks. Not only does this control the amount of food you’ll eat during a meal, but it also saves time during busy mornings and encourages having healthy, ready-to-go options for you and your family.

Be a mindful eater: Mindful eating is a great way to enhance the experience of eating without eating large portions. This technique encourages you to focus on the experience of eating. It helps you to slow down and take the time to appreciate the full range of flavors, textures and smells of a meal. Practicing mindful eating can help you lose weight or simply enjoy your food more. You may find you are eating less while still feeling satisfied.

Keep changes small and manageable: The most powerful aspect of sensible eating is focusing on small changes. Making numerous or drastic changes all at once often leads to frustration and failure. Take a good look at your current eating habits and identify a small change you can make for the better. Maybe you can swap out that oversized morning muffin for a slice of whole-wheat toast, or eat an apple rather than a cookie. The list can go on and on, but focusing on one small change at a time will help you make eating better more manageable and less frustrating.

Above content provided by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. For advice about your medical care, consult your doctor.