Basic Nutrition: Enjoying Good Nutrition

Content by: NCES, Inc.

Eating nutritiously is a very important part of good health.

Basic Nutrition: Enjoying Good Nutrition
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Often, however, people don’t follow through with nutritious food choices. Or, they choose nutritious foods, but don’t enjoy them. Consider the emotional barriers to eating nutritious foods.

Stopping Food Restrictions Leads to More Nutritious Eating!
Restriction of favorite high fat or high calorie foods for the sake of better nutrition or weight loss often sabotages the attempts to improve your nutrition. Read the following scenario and see if it sounds familiar.

"Sarah desires to eat cookies, but feels that she should eat a fruit instead because she is concerned about her nutrition and her weight. She eats the fruit, despite desiring the cookies. Even though Sarah likes fruit, she feels dissatisfied. Nevertheless, for the next few weeks, Sarah chooses fruit over cookies for her snacks. After the initial few weeks, she breaks down and buys a bag of cookies. She eats the whole bag in two days. She vows never to allow cookies into her pantry again. The next day she stocks her kitchen with fresh fruits. After several more weeks of fruit-only snacks, she finds fruit totally unsatisfying. She now only eats cookies for snacks. Sarah feels guilty about the cookies, but she doesn’t eat fruit again for a long while."

Although in this scenario Sarah tries to eat more nutritiously, she ends up disliking nutritious eating. This is because Sarah has “forced” herself to eat something she really doesn’t want. Even though the fruit is a nutritious food choice, it does not satisfy her. The result is less enjoyment of nutritious eating, in this case eating fruit. Sarah now views fruit as depriving, not enjoyable, nutritious eating. In other words, Sarah feels that to eat nutritiously means she must give up cookies.

No wonder healthy eating isn’t fun!

Quick Tips!
Eating what is desired leads to healthier food choices. It is important to eat only foods desired. Viewing nutritious eating as enjoyable fosters long-term healthy eating patterns.

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