Eat Smart

Healthy Eating Tips

Healthy eating begins with learning how to eat smart.  It's not just what you eat, but how you eat.  Paying attention to what you eat and choosing a variety of foods that are both nourishing and enjoyable helps support an overall healthy diet.

Take time to chew your food:  Chew your food slowly, savoring every bite.  We tend to rush through our meals, forgetting to actually taste the flavors and feel the textures of what is in our mouths.  Reconnect with the joy of eating.

Avoid stress while eating:  When we are stressed, our digestion can be compromised, causing problems like colitis and heartburn.  Avoid eating while working, driving, arguing, or watching TV (especially disturbing programs or the news).  Try taking some deep breaths prior to beginning your meal, or light candles and play soothing music to create a relaxing atmosphere.

Listen to your body:  Ask yourself if you are really hungry.  You may really be thirsty, so try drinking a glass of water first.  During a meal, stop eating before you feel full.  It actually takes your brain a few minutes to tell your body that it has had enough food, so eat slowly.  Eating just enough to satisfy your hunger will help you remain alert, relaxed and feeling your best, rather than stuffing yourself into a food coma!

Eat early, eat often:  Starting your day with a healthy breakfast can jumpstart your metabolism, and eating the majority of your daily caloric allotment early in the day gives your body time to work those calories off.  Also, eating small, healthy meals throughout the day, rather than the standard three large meals, can help keep your metabolism going and ward off snack attacks.

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Keith L. Smith, Associate Vice President for Agricultural Administration; Associate Dean, College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences; Director, Ohio State University Extension; and Gist Chair in Extension Education and Leadership.

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