What is food?
A fresh perspective on ‘diet’
What is food?
Your body uses the energy in food to grow, repair and sustain itself. If you want your body to run smoothly and last a lifetime, you have to put in the right amount and ‘mix’ of fuel and keep all the moving parts in working order.
Life gets busy and the gradual decline in health and fitness often goes unnoticed as you lose sight of your ‘normal’ self. Signs that you are out of tune include lack of energy, being over or underweight, getting sick easily, teeth, tummy or toileting issues and generally feeling flat.
Food is part of a broader concept called ‘diet’. Diet is about the whole eating experience, including how the food is prepared and combined, the quantity and nutritional value, how and when you eat, and your relationship with food.
Start paying attention to your overall approach to food and eating. Do you plan your meals and snacks or do you wait and see what turns up? Do you
eat with others, at the table or your desk or in front of TV? Are you eating in response to physical or mental hunger? Are you not eating enough?
Every day you make countless conscious and unconscious choices about all aspects of your diet. Step back and focus on a few of the key decisions. Is there room for improvement?
Perhaps you are responsible for making dietary decisions on behalf of a child? Their developing bodies are vulnerable and the dietary habits and body composition they establish as they grow will endure into adulthood.
Positive dietary habits include:
being conscious of why you are:
– eating – hungry, bored, tired, stressed, emotional?
– not eating – not hungry, following a healthy fasting regime or denying your body essential nutrition?
making conscious choices about what and when you eat. A little meal planning and routine go a long way towards maintaining your energy balance.
choosing predominantly wholefoods. Look for raw or minimal processing, plenty of fibre and no added sugar.
going for simple, nutritious meals rather than complicated recipes. It is not a competition!
using nature’s colour-coding system to cycle through a wide variety of whole foods.
being mindful of portion size. Plate up the food rather than offering a ‘help yourself’ option. The goal is to feel satisfied not stuffed.
keeping up your fluids. Plain water is best. 2-3 litres per day.
noticing how you eat (e.g. sitting down, on the run, in the car). Respect the food and your digestive process by taking a short rest break to eat.
bringing family and friends together around the table to nourish both their belly and their soul. Make it a no phone zone!
If you are eating alone, set the table with the best cutlery and a candle, and put on some relaxing music. You and your body are worth it!
Download the ‘Conscious Eating Placemat’ activity to encourage your child to eat at the table and to become more engaged with positive dietary habits.
Download the printable A4 flyer for this module.