• The Hopefulist

Eat with Intention

When it comes to what we eat, the goal is to eat foods that give us energy, make us feel good and are good for our overall health. Summer is a great time to up our fresh fruit and vegetable intake. All these beauties are from a neighbor who shared his bounty with me. Thank goodness because I still suck at growing tomatoes. I should just give up...it's very annoying! But lucky for me many of my neighbors grow them and have plenty to share. Because there is nothing like a home grown tomato. My husband doesn't like tomatoes and I feel so bad because they are so juicy and delicious and readily available. I also got some eggplant from neighbor. Something I didn't even like until a year or so ago. I learned to like them. I figured out a way to prepare them that I prefer. But I figured out something else too. You can really learn to like just about anything. This is huge when it comes to eating with intention.

It first happened to me many years ago when I first worked with a trainer. He told me the perfect breakfast post workout would be peanut butter on a slice of whole wheat bread. I wasn't crazy about that. But I made myself eat it and it wasn't long before I was craving it. The same thing just happened with avocado. I was never a fan. But as I have been looking into a more plant based diet I thought I would give them another shot. The first few days I was on the edge...I wasn't crazy about it. But after about day three, I was in love. Now, I can't get enough of avocado toast! Don't forget the "everything but the bagel" spice. It really makes everything better!

I have learned to love fish and vegetables that I never enjoyed before. So much so that salmon is one of my favorite meals now. If you truly don't like the taste of something then don't eat it. There are plenty of foods that feed you in a healthy way that you shouldn't have to force down stuff that you don't truly like. But you may be surprised by how much you can learn to enjoy. But I know I will never like peppers. Any kind of peppers. I just don't like the flavor. It makes me sad because they are in so many foods that I love! And they are so colorful and pretty....it makes me want to eat them. But no...yuck!

We have eliminated a lot of the fattening add ons as well. We use cooking spray more often than oil and butter to cook things up. There's so much less fat involved. A little bit of anything is okay and you do need a little fat in your diet. But keep in mind how much fat there already is naturally in some foods. Like the avocado....yes, it's the good kind of fat but there is still a lot of it. Nuts are another thing that has a lot of fat. It's fine to eat these things in moderation but don't forget how much natural fat you've already consumed when pouring the oil or butter over your food.

We all tend to overeat in this country. I definitely include myself in this. Try to eat with intention. Be mindful of when you are eating. Make sure to taste your food. Really taste it with noticing the texture and aroma. Pay attention from the first bite to the last. Intend to not overeat. Notice how you feel as your meal progresses. Are you eating slow enough for your brain to catch up to your stomach? We should be eating until we are satisfied, not full. If we ate every meal until we were full we would be overeating. Try to notice how you feel throughout your meal. And if you don't finish everything...bonus....you get leftovers to enjoy another time!

When eating with intention try to pick healthier options and be mindful when eating. Another great idea is to meal plan. Make a list of what you plan to have throughout the week and plan for it by making some of the things you can ahead of time. That way it's easier to prepare in the moment. Is it a pain in the butt to meal prep for a couple of hours each week. Yes. You know what else is a pain in the butt? Having to buy new clothes or feeling sluggish with no energy all the time because you are eating out of a vending machine or fast food every day. Eat with intention. Plan your meals. It is work...but it's worth it!

Oh, it's Taco Tuesday! Grab a taco and maybe a margarita? How can you start eating with more intention? Now, go out there and be a badass....you know, I'm cheering you on!

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