Nutrition Month 2017- Take the Fight out of Food!

Do you ever get frustrated by food and nutrition? Maybe you can’t figure out why you feel bloated after eating certain foods, have family mealtimes that are mayhem or are unsure about which foods are best for a particular health condition. I call these “food fights” – they represents times when you struggle with yourself or others about what to eat. Part of my job as a dietitian is to coach people to calm these food fights, so I was super excited that the Nutrition Month 2017 theme is “Take the Fight out of Food” – it’s exactly what I do every day!

Nutrition Month 2017’s campaign from Dietitians of Canada guides people through a three-step approach to improve their relationship with food, no matter what the struggle. Dietitians across the country will empower Canadians to:

  1. Spot the problem. Identify or define the specific nutrition problem that needs to be solved, since it’s causing a fight with food.
  2. Get the facts. Decide what needs to be done to solve the problem, using reliable and credible sources.
  3. Seek support. Put the plan into action with support from family, friends, a dietitian and other members of the health care team.

When I think about 'taking the fight out of food' the first thing that comes to my mind is having a healthy relationship with food.

All foods do fit in moderation! It is important to eat the food we love to help nourish our bodies to be our best selves, without beating ourselves up or feeling guilty. You really can have your cake and eat it to.

Instead of focusing on WHAT we eat, let's think about HOW we eat!

As part of this,  there are three things that can help you have a healthy relationship with food.

The first is eating regularly.

While this seems pretty intuitive, often when when think about our days as a whole, our eating can be all over the place. Skipping meals, over-eating and under-eating often happen all within the same day. Changes don't have to be large, but eating three balanced meals, starting in the morning when you wake up, and adding 2 or 3 snacks throughout the day can go along way! But how to do this? Check out the awesome video below from Dr. Mike Evans, a Toronto-based doctor who is focuses on helping people make healthier choice. He hits the nail on the head here on how to nudge ourselves (our kids) and our families towards better eating. 

The second is knowing what your cravings are and what triggers them.

The food we eat is influenced by so much including our emotions, preferences and life situation. Getting in tune with why you eat the way you do can be a really powerful process! A tip that people often find helpful is identifying the type of hunger you are having. Did you know there are three types of hunger?!

There is STOMACH hunger, the actual physical hunger that indicates your body needs food for nourishment. There is MOUTH hunger, where you want a certain food because it tastes good. And then there is HEART hunger, where eating makes us feel good or fills an emotion. Each of these types of hunger are okay and we all experience them daily. Have I mentioned that food is about way more than eating?! Identifying which type of hunger you are experiencing can be super helpful in 'taking the fight out of food' and eating in a more balanced way (i.e. a balance between the types of hunger)! 

The third is thinking about our 'Choice Architecture'. 

Our choices are formed but what is happening around us and often become quite automatic and without thought. Becoming aware of our eating triggers is part of rethinking our 'choice architecture'. By re-thinking these triggers, we can make choices that are healthier for us and fit into our busy lives. By making small modifications to your routine, you can make the healthier choice, the easier choice. Here are some ideas: 

  • Pre-cut veggies and store them in containers in the fridge. Research shows we eat more veggies when they are easy to grab. 
  • Similarly, keep a bowl of fresh fruit on your counter or table so it isn't hidden away in the fridge. Grabbing an apple on the go is just as easy as grabbing a granola bar or cookie. 
  • Keep foods like cookies, and packaged snack food off the counter and in a higher cupboard so they aren't so easy to grab when you are feeling 'hangry' (angry because you are hungry!). 
  • Instead of taking the whole chip bag to the couch, portion it into a bowl. You still get to eat the chips, but this way you won't mindlessly eat the whole bag. If you want more, go for it, but you have peal yourself away from the Netflix marathon to get them! You have to consciously think about it. 
Remember, having a healthy relationship with food isn't about your weight. It is about how what you eat can make you feel better

Check out this video about nudging ourselves, our kids and our families into eating better. I abosolutely love Dr. Mike Evan's videos. If you want more from him, check out his youtube channel here

 

Here at the Domestic PhD, we will be sharing tips to help you 'take the fight out of food' all month long!

To find out more about Nutrition Month and to check out some really great resources, click here! If you want support, you can always search for a dietitian in your area at www.dietitians.ca/find. And visit www.nutritionmonth2017.ca to find recipes, local nutrition month event listings and more.

Happy Nutrition Month! 

xo Kath 


Adapted from the Dietitians of Canada’s Nutrition Month campaign materials. Find more information about Nutrition Month at: www.nutritionmonth2017.ca.