Let’s explore some eating habits that can enhance happiness and well-being:
Health refers to the overall condition of a person’s body, mind, and spirit. It is depicted by the ability to function at a max potential level, and the foods we eat should enhance our overall happiness and sense of well-being. Nutrition is more than just calories – it is our small everyday choices that eventually lead to an accumulated lifetime of good nutrition. This is awesome because it means that your health is 100% in your control!
We are all busy in our daily lives, but taking a small portion of the day to slow down and focus on a basic need like food – sustains us more than just nutritionally. We should have a good relationship with food – it has the power to connect us to our bodies, our emotional drives, other people, and even nature itself. Food should make us healthier so that we can make our lives more vibrant in order to achieve the activities we want that day and everyday.
When it comes to our eating habits, a question we should ask ourselves is “What am I truly hungry for?” This strikes us all differently. Knowing the difference can help to curb unwanted cravings and extra calories.
When you are “stomach hungry” you are feeding a growling stomach which is triggered by hunger and indicates that you are low on energy. When you are “emotionally hungry” you are feeding a feeling triggered by emotions which may indicated that you are bored, sad, depressed, or even excited. Knowing the difference helps with mindful eating, which balances how you eat with what you eat.
The bottom line is that when and what you eat has a significant impact on how you feel. Being mindful will help keep our stomachs satisfied, our minds happiness, and us more like ourselves.
- Insight on the timing of meals and snacks throughout the day
No matter what you call it, we’ve all experienced that overwhelming grouchy-ness that takes over when we’ve gone too long without food. Turns out, there’s some science behind it. Researchers have found a correlation between being hungry, feeling angry and having low blood sugar. In essence, hunger can lead us to become emotional, which is often expressed as feelings of stress or anxiety. Thus, when you are not well fed, you are not at your best.
Why does this happen? As humans, we have the choice to listen to our hunger. Yet, in our busy and overbooked lives, we often choose to ignore this signal – waiting far too long to feed an empty stomach. Our body’s response to being ignored is to cause an emotional reaction (like anxiety and stress) to help get our attention. And the longer we deprive ourselves, the greater the emotional response. It’s normal to feel hungry from time to time – the problem is ignoring that feeling and not listening to our bodies. To stay on top of our hunger and consequently how we feel, here are some tips:
- Be Mindful and Prepared.
Listen for clues – if you notice yourself getting more irritable, hunger may be the cause. Take a break and find a healthy snack. Eating every few hours and choosing healthy snacks will help relieve your hunger and balance out your blood sugar levels to prevent riding an emotional roller-coaster. Be sure to keep snacks on hand that are travel-friendly so you have them easily available.
- Snack Smart.
A snack should contain a blend of nutrients – a mix of carbs, proteins, and fats is ideal and around approximately 250 calories or less. Whole-grain carbs that are high in fiber (5 grams or more per serving) raise serotonin levels to give your blood sugar a quick boost while the fiber keeps your stomach full. Good sources are whole-grain breads, cereals, whole-wheat pasta, and beans. Proteins and fats are digested more slowly to give you staying power and keep you feeling fuller longer. Good sources of proteins are lean meats, fish, cheese and tofu. Healthy fats include foods such as nuts, avocado and oils.
- Don’t skip meals.
Most people should not go more than four to five hours between meals. Waiting too long to eat can lead to a drop in blood sugar and once the ghrelin hormone has been released the lack of food will inevitably lead to “hangry-ness” (not to mention depriving our bodies of the nutrients it needs to function). Not skipping important meals will improve your happiness.
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