Sure we have LOTS of rules in our life. Some rules keep us safe such as stopping at red lights and washing our hands after visiting the toilet. Other rules make for a nicer world such as not breaking in line and not spitting our used gum where people have to walk. Still other rules may not be written down anywhere but are nonetheless pretty important… like turning off the lights when we leave a room and putting the cap back on the toothpaste.
When it comes to food and eating though, some rules just need to be tossed out.
Food Rules to Lose:
1. ”Eat something (anything) for breakfast since this is the most important meal”.
There is NO health benefit to starting the day off with a sugary doughnut or a toaster pastry or a bowl of breakfast candy (otherwise known as: fruity flavored loops or frosted pieces of flaked corn product). Rapid blood sugar spikes are NOT healthy! It however is a good idea to try and eat a real foods meal or mini meal such as:
whole oats with nuts
eggs cooked in extra virgin olive oil
Greek yogurt, with or without some added fruit and / or nuts
Slice of whole grain toast with nut butter
2. “Don’t eat after 7:00 in the evening”.
Relax. Life happens and there are going to be evenings when the meal is not ready until 7:00 or even later. Kudos for preparing a home-cooked meal instead of grabbing a fast food burger and fries! DO however go easy on the carbs when dinner is delayed. Focus on meals that feature veggies and protein, with controlled amounts of high quality carbohydrates such as:
Home-made chili with beans, served with raw veggies and favorite dip
Chef salad with quick protein additions such as chopped egg, grated cheese, cubed left over chicken, chick peas, etc.
Roasted chicken and a large serving of a low carb veggie (sautéed broccoli or spinach, roasted zucchini, mashed cauliflower, etc.)
Salmon patties with a small serving of black eyed peas and a side salad.
3. “The protein part of your meal should be the size of your palm”.
For those of us who do not enjoy performing this silly size comparison .... that’s totally OK! Focus instead on how delicious the meal tastes. Eat the meal slowly enough to recognize when you are satisfied. And guess what….that might mean eating a piece of fish that is a bit larger (or smaller) than your palm!
4. “Don’t eat anything white”.
Really?! This might actually be a good rule to follow were it not for the fact that some delicious and healthy foods just happen to be white: think cauliflower, aged white cheddar cheese, cod fish, plain Greek yogurt, Great Northern beans, etc. On the other hand, it's definitely a good idea to bypass the heavily processed white products such as packaged flavored noodles, white bread, baked chips, etc.
5. “Fill up on water before eating your meal”.
If you happen to feel thirsty right before your meal then by all means enjoy a tall glass of refreshing water. Some research has even suggested that drinking water before a meal might result in eating less food by temporarily causing the feeling of fullness. This rule is meant to be broken though if you prefer to sip on water throughout the meal instead of drinking it all at once. Putting the fork down frequently to take a pause and drink water can be a great strategy to help slow down the pace of eating. Bottom line: make water the beverage of choice and drink it before, during or after the meal…. you get to decide!
Here is ONE food rule that we can ALL Live By:
Enjoy what you eat!
There is a reason why the human tongue is covered with thousands of taste buds. We are intended to savor our food, to eat is slowly and yes….to actually ENJOY it!