Recommendations on How to Learn the Art of Mindful Eating
I had a friend message me, over Facebook, asking for my recommendations on how to start eating healthier. As I thought about this, I immediately knew that I needed to not only respond to her with encouragement and suggestions, but turn it into a blog post as well!
I did not always live a healthy lifestyle. I wouldn’t classify it as terrible, but I wasn’t a mindful eater, back in the day. When I began running, I started learning more and more about nutrition. I began following healthy living blogs and devoured every ‘diet trick,’ in the book. This is where my healthy and educational pursuit of ‘healthy living,’ took a dark turn toward an eating disorder – which I battled for a couple years.
So, when I talk about healthy eating and mindful nutrition, I want to be very careful. Many people will tell you there the bad food and good food. Stop eating this, replace this with that and you are now a ‘healthy eater.’ And while, yes, I fully support and recommend not having sugary desserts at every meal or cutting out processed foods, I caution putting any food on a never list. Because, in my experience, as I put foods like donuts, ice cream, pizza, cheese, basically all carbs, and nut butters on a never list, I never ate them and eventually they became ‘fear foods.’ I don’t want this for anyone who is trying to become a more mindful eater. My hope for those who want to clean up their diet and feel better (physically and mentally) is that you will find the freedom to enjoy healthy food, while yet, never denying yourself a treat now and then. Balance is so important as a mindful eater and I cannot stress that enough.
Now, since I’ve clarified that, let’s talk about mindful eating and what that looks like, especially when one wants to change habits and learn to enjoy healthy food.
First of all, do not expect healthy eating and learning how to create, fresh, delicious food to happen over night. It may (will) take some time to figure out what whole, fresh foods you love, what recipes are your jam, and what processed food even is. But, do not get discouraged! It takes time, but once you learn how to shop and how to prepare good food, it becomes habit.
Growing up, I was blessed to live in a home where my mom read every label that came plastered on a package of food. I always thought that was kind of a drag, since most of my foods I wanted (i.e. processed stuff) had the junk in it that my mom was on the look out for. Most of the time, we didn’t purchase those food products. Looking back, the way she shopped for food, rubbed off on me and now I read everything too!
When I shop, I make sure to look for foods that are first, fresh. I love to shop the produce, the fresh fruits, the good meats and cheeses, before grabbing anything boxed. Not all boxed food is ‘bad’ or unhealthy, but if only grabbed boxed things, I can guarantee most of it has a lot of preservatives to allow it to have a longer shelf life.
As a mindful eater, it takes a little work and creativity. It takes thinking outside the box (no pun intended) and cooking foods that maybe a little different than the typical ‘American’ diet. But, it also starts with simply, making food at home and enjoying food together with those you love.
As a list of starters, I compiled a list of my favorite mindful eating choices and foods to help anyone get started.
- Sweet potatoes
- Collard Greens
- Dark leafy greens for salads (ice burg lettuce = no nutrition)
- Cauliflower (you can make amazing pizza crusts with cauliflower!)
- Broccoli (steamed and roasted is my favorite way to eat this veggie)
- Almond butter
- Peanut butter (look for no hydrogenated oils!)
- Dried beans (these are a great source of protein and carbs – black, pinto and navy are my favorite)
- Coconut oil (all time favorite oil: look for coldpressed and organic)
- Stevia (look pure stevia, nothing added)
- Honey (local is best!)
- Pure, maple syrup (local is even better)
- Whole Oats (you can make oat flour out of whole oats by grinding them up in a food processor or blender)
- Chicken stock or veggie stock (for soups)
- Fish (I love Talipia and Salmon)
- Organic, grass fed beef (Aldi has great prices on this!)
- Eggs (farm fresh are best!)
- Cottage cheese (Daisy brand is my favorite)
- Quiona (one of my all time favorites – it cooks in 15 minutes and has a mild flavor and super fun texture!)
- Brown rice
- Brown rice noodles
- Dark chocolate (75-80% is best)
- Halo Top (one of my favorites!)
- Sparkling water (La Croix is amazing)
- Banana ice cream (blended frozen bananas – you can make at home!)
This is just a simple list to help whoever get started on their mindful eating journey! I am totally not saying to simply and only stick to this list, but I hope this gives you a few ideas as you shop for your journey of healthy living!
As another help too, a few of my favorite meals to have in rotation are:
Oatmeal (1/2 c. whole oats + 1 c. water – cooked.) Topped with banana + almond butter + honey, stevia or maple syrup. So good!
Scrambled eggs with toast
Roasted sweet potatoes + grilled chicken + salad
Chicken salad + cottage cheese
Deli turkey meat wrap with fruit on the side
Fried eggs + toast + fruit
Grilled chicken + roasted veggies
Brown rice noodles + sauce + turkey meat and steamed veggies
Cauliflower pizza crust pizza with side salads
I hope these ideas give you inspiration as you dive into the world of mindful eating. Remember, you have the freedom to choose to eat healthy, to enjoy exploring and creating. No food should ever be a fear food, rather you have the freedom to say yes and enjoy and the freedom to say no.
Disclaimer I am by no means a dietitian or nutritionist. All I have shared is based on my own opinions and understanding/research of nutrition. On Lulu Runs, I promote living a healthy lifestyle, eating nutritional foods, while finding balance in everyday life.*
Questions of the Day
- What is your biggest nutrition struggle?
- Do you have a favorite, easy dinner?
- What is your current favorite food?