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How to develop a healthy relationship with food

Food is essential in our lives. Without it, we would die. However, many individuals may look at food as a source of evil, something that can cause us to be fat. Developing a healthy relationship with food is just as important as developing a relationship with family members. When we have an unhealthy relationship with food, we are causing harm to our bodies. We may be putting in the wrong types of food, not enough food or an excess amount of food into our bodies. When we have a healthy relationship with food, we are able to keep our weight in check, receive the nutrients our bodies need to survive and much more.

Developing a healthy relationship to food is a lot like developing a strong relationship with your family members and friends. It takes work and time. It is hard to change our eating habits permanently, but here are a few suggestions that may help you get on track.

Limit the fast food

You’ve probably heard the saying, “You are what you eat.” Fast food may be great for convenience but it does not have the health benefits of cooking and preparing a meal. When you eat out on a constant basis, you are not providing your body with quality food filled with nutrients and vitamins. Most fast food is filled with excess calories, fats and oils. When working to improve your eating habits, think about the quality of food you ingest, not just the conveniency of it.

Splurge in the produce department

Fruits and vegetables can make a drastic difference in the way you feel. When you eat the proper amount of servings each day, your body will receive essential nutrients, have an easier time fighting off illness and disease and maintain proper bodily functions. When you go grocery shopping, avoid processed foods. Spend your time and money on fresh produce. Be willing to try new fruits and vegetables and reap the health benefits from eating more healthy. The more nutritious food you eat, the better you will feel throughout the day.

Also, teach your children to enjoy fruits and vegetables. I grew up in a home where my mother hated a vast majority of vegetables. We rarely had any fresh vegetables in our home besides occasional corn and lettuce. As I grew up and married, I had to completely change my mindset that vegetables weren't disgusting. To avoid this situation with my own son, we have a different type of vegetable each night with our dinner. We also established a rule that my son must take at least three bites of the vegetable, especially if it is new. This has helped him develop a love for fresh produce and has helped him become an excellent eater.

Eat in moderation

Many individuals avoid eating certain types of food. They fear the food will harm their body or cause them to gain excess weight. It is important to eat food in moderation and limit yourself on less healthy food. Often, when you try to avoid food that you enjoy, you end up binging and doing even more harm than simply eating in moderation. However, many individuals do have medical conditions where they need to stay away from certain types of food, if this situation arises in your life, follow your doctor’s orders.

Think about your food

Many of us are guilty of chowing down on the food in front of us. We don’t think about the food and what it does for our body. Before you eat a meal, think about the type of food you will be eating and what it will do for you. For example, the plate of spaghetti in front of you will give you energy and an orange will help you fight off the cold that has been going around.

You can teach your family to be appreciative and grateful for their food by saying a prayer as a family before each meal. Also, talk about the different food in your meal and its health benefits. A grateful attitude toward food can help you and your family members focus more on the food that will benefit your body.

A healthy relationship with food is something we can work to perfect. Food doesn’t have to be something we dread. It can be the source to which we better our physical and mental selves. Here are some more tips on better nutrition for your family.

Courtnie Erickson is a Utah State University graduate and a technology guru.