What’s Your Eating Style?

, What’s Your Eating Style?

Do you often play mind games with yourself about what you should or should not eat? Or beat yourself up about your inability to stick to a balanced eating plan? These ‘disordered’ eating styles may be standing in the way of your health and happiness, so I’ve listed some tips to help you resolve them.

But first, what does having a healthy relationship with food even mean?

A healthy relationship with food involves a trusting that your body is functioning to the best of its ability, and your body trusts that you’ll provide it with the proper nourishment in return.

It doesn’t involve a set of strict ‘dieting rules’ telling you when, how, or what to eat. It involves you listening to your body and responding to its needs accordingly – a principle well known as mindful eating. There is no labelling foods as “good” or “bad” and there is no shame or guilt after eating certain foods. It tends to be more peaceful versus chaotic.

FOOD FRETTING

What could be wrong with eating healthy? But for some, a fixation on healthy eating develops into an obsession where a food is virtually off limits unless it’s either organic, raw, gluten, grain or fructose free. It’s an emerging eating style – particularly in professional women – called orthorexia where the pleasure is more in eating ‘correctly’ rather than simply eating. In other words, eating can become a source of anxiety instead of a source of pleasure.

Eventually food choices become so restrictive that health may suffer. The problem gets worse when very few self-identify as dieters (because we all know by now that ‘diets’ don’t work), instead, eating ‘clean’ becomes a revised version of food restriction which flies under the radar as healthy ‘lifestyle changes’.

The Fix: There’s no such thing as a perfect diet. Moderation is key which includes being flexible in what and when you eat and giving yourself permission to enjoy an occasional treat, like a gelato on a hot day. Consciously satisfy your craving; then resume your healthy eating patterns. Taken in moderation, these treats add contentment and variety to our diets – not to mention our lives.

SPORADIC EATER

From skipping meals to mindlessly munching while scrolling through Instagram, mayhem eaters spend a lot of time feeling either extremely hungry or extremely full, and for this reason may find themselves constantly scurrying for food and eating things they don’t even enjoy. Result? You end up eating more than you think.

The Fix: While women are great at multi-tasking, meal time is the one task where you do nothing else but eat, allowing you to be in better communication with your body’s true hunger signals. This includes making a conscious effort to eat when you are hungry (not ravenous) and stop when you’re comfortably full.

Planning ahead is also a must as knowing what, when or where you eat will put order back into your eating routine. Over time, you’ll be amazed at the difference it makes in both the quantity and the quality of what you choose to eat.

EMOTIONAL EATER

Eating is a complex behaviour and we don’t always eat simply to satisfy hunger. We also turn to food for comfort, boredom relief, or as a reward – most likely calorific foods. While it’s perfectly acceptable to reward yourself with a special treat after a stressful day, letting your emotions dictate what and when you eat on a regular basis can often lead to a habit of overeating. Not only can this hinder your health and fitness efforts, it can also leave other issues in your life unresolved.

The fix: Keeping a food journal can help you rule out which emotions or types of feelings tend to drive you into the kitchen and what foods you’re likely to eat as a result. The next step is to make a list of what alternative behaviours will help deal with these emotions. For example, if you find that you’re about to reach for a tub of Ben and Jerry’s, consider introducing coping mechanisms other than food to your repertoire. Go for a walk, phone a friend or paint your toe nails. Whatever it is, do something other than eat to cope with the emotion and your eating habits will take a turn for the better.

Which of these types of eaters do you think you are?

This post was originally published on the Get There blog by Fitness First.

If this post resonated with you, be sure to check out Whats Eating You? which walks you through practical ways to heal your relationship with food and your body.

 

 

Mother’s Day Citrus Cashew Cream Tart

, What’s Your Eating Style?

This Mother’s Day, show Mum how sweet you are with this no-bake Citrus Cashew Cream Tart recipe.

Vegan and gluten-free, this tart includes buckwheat, nuts, lemons, dates, fruit and pretty edible flowers. She will love it!

This recipe originally appeared in Fitness First blog as part of my monthly column and you can find the full method on their site here.

INGREDIENTS

Base:

1 cup of raw almonds
1 cup of buckinis (raw buckwheat)
¼ cup of shredded coconut
½ cup of coconut oil (melted)
5 medjool dates
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp of cinnamon
pinch of sea salt

Filling:

3 cups of soaked cashews (soak in hot water for 2+ hours)
Zest of 2 lemons
Juice of 2 lemons
¼ cup of cacao butter (if you don’t have this, you can substitute for coconut oil)
1 tsp of vanilla extract
¼ cup of honey/maple syrup or desired sweetener

Topping:

1 cup of raspberries (can use frozen)
1 tbsp of maple syrup
1 tbsp of water

Method:

  1. Place raw cashews in a bowl, cover with boiled water and leave overnight (if possible) or 2+ hours.
  2. Line a 20cm spring form pan with baking paper and set aside.

Find the rest of the method for this recipe online at Fitness First here.

Lunchbox Zucchini Slice

, What’s Your Eating Style?

We make a big deal about lunchbox packing, don’t we? Pretty Pinterest pics a side, what is it about the lunchbox that we fuss about?

A healthy lunch box is actually a pretty critical part of learning:

  • Improved concentration and staying ‘on task’
  • Better behaved with an increased capacity to learn
  • Less likely to be tired and retain more information…

Apart from those valid reasons as to why we should give the school lunch so much thought, quite often we find ourselves being stuck on repeat and making sandwiches day after day for lunch boxes is as boring as it is eating them!

This make-ahead (freezable) zucchini slice is one way to break free of the sandwich rut and are so yummy yummy the kids will forget they are eating veggies. Serve hot or cold.

Ingredients:

  • 2 zucchinis, grated
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 1/2 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1 large red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup tasty cheese, grated
  • 1/2 cup feta, crumbled
  • 1 cup self-raising flour
  • 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 eggs, lightly beaten
  • salt/pepper

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 170°C. Line a non-stick leamington tin with baking paper.
2. Combine zucchini, onion, flour, cheese and feta in a large bowl. Add oil and eggs, and mix. Season with a little salt and pepper. Pour into lamington tin.
3. Bake for 35-40 mins until golden and set. Allow to cool slightly before cutting.

Make your variations by adding bacon, corn, asparagus.

To freeze, portion up and wrap the slice pieces individually, then place in an airtight container. Freeze for up to 3 months.

, What’s Your Eating Style?

What To Feed The Kids?

, What’s Your Eating Style?

Parents are often interested in what I feed my three kids and whether they are “good eaters”. In reality, I’m just like most parents of young children: time poor, exhausted and just trying to put food on the table. My kids aren’t any different either. Yes, they’re “picky” and rarely do they eat the exact same way each day, or will eat more on some days than others.

As frustrating as this may be, helping children develop a love for what’s healthy can be a challenge. With the hectic pace of many family households, it can much easier to tolerate less desirable eating habits if it means less mealtime mayhem. Cave into this scenario often enough, children may start to believe it’s perfectly acceptable to live on nuggets, mac and cheese and tomato sauce for most meals.

The best thing parents can do is offer a wide range of foods from the five food groups.

Likewise with adults, nutrition for kids is based on the same principles – consuming fruits, vegetables/legumes, protein, wholegrains and dairy products (or dairy alternatives). Adequate nutrition of school-aged children will also ensure they grow and develop and not compromise their potential to benefit from learning. This involves eating three meals a day and two-three nutritious snacks, as well as limiting the intake of high sugar and high fat foods.

SAMPLE KID’S MEAL PLAN

Breakfast

1-2 high-fibre biscuits or

½ cup cooked porridge with 1 cup milk.

Mid-morning snack

1 banana

3 wholegrain crispbread with 1 tb nut butter or cream cheese.

Lunch

Egg or chicken and salad wrap

1 small whole grain wrap, 1 boiled egg, 1 cup mixed salad.

See more lunch box tips here

, What’s Your Eating Style?

Afternoon snack

Vegetable sticks (capsicum, cucumber, carrot) with creamy corn tuna dip or hummus.

Dinner

Lamb or kofta with couscous and vegetables

65g cooked lean beef, ½ cup cooked couscous/rice or 1 cup roasted sweet potato with 1⁄2 cup cooked carrot, 1⁄2 cup cooked beans/lentils.

Evening snack

Yoghurt and fruit salad

½ cup plain yoghurt and 1 cup mixed fruit

Smart snacking tips:

Snacks can provide up to one third of children’s energy and nutrient requirements and also help to fill in certain nutrient gaps left by meals.

Children have small appetites and fill up easily, so what they snack on makes up a valuable part of their daily nutritional requirement.

Meal timing is key. In order to help children learn that there is a time to eat and a time not to, it’s important to allow enough time for them to actually feel hungry. Aim to leave at least two hours in between eating occasions, especially dinner. So have an afternoon snack no later than 3pm if dinner is served at 5pm.

Allow some indulgences. Teaching children about healthy eating is also about teaching balance. So be flexible and agree to include a treat from time to time, as long as that goodie is eaten along with a balanced meal. Rather than label food “good” or “bad”, refer to it as “sometimes” and “everyday”.

This post was originally published on Kidspot and republished with their permission.

Related post: Handy Hacks to overcome the breakfast battle

How Your Eating Habits Affect Your Kids

, What’s Your Eating Style?

As parents, we tend to categorise our children’s eating habits. Some of us have “fussy eaters”, others have kids who’ll “eat almost anything”. We view their eating behaviours as part of their DNA and, while every child is inherently different, we’re overlooking one big factor: our influence.

The force of your food attitude

It’s not easy being a parent in our image-obsessed society, but the force of your food attitudes can have a huge impact on the way your children eat. I try to set a good example for my two daughters, but I’m certainly not immune to negative thoughts and feelings about my body. Often, we obsess over weight loss goals or dabble with diet fads, forgetting that our little ones learn from watching and listening. And the food attitudes you’re teaching don’t just apply to body image.

Monkey see, monkey do

Seek comfort food when you’re stressed? Rely on take-away because it’s easy?  If you want to instil long-term healthy eating patterns in your home, it starts with you. Now I know there’s no magic pill to switch off these insecurities and hang-ups – but we need to present positive attitudes towards food and body image as best we can. How? Thankfully there are some simple principles to follow that will put your family on the path to having a healthy relationship with food.

Take time to teach them

Next time you’re at the supermarket with your children, spend extra time in the fresh food section. Look for quality ingredients, talk about the benefits of vegetables, and be sure to shop for balance. Instead of positioning greens as “something that we have to eat”, teach them as “something that our bodies love to eat”. Educating your kids on the nourishing qualities of veggies and modelling good habits is the best thing you can do for them.

Give fads the flick

It’s okay to want to drop a few kilos or get in shape for summer. But instead of turning to flimsy fads, do it the healthy way. Don’t cut out carbs or say no to sugar – this is confusing to your little ones who rely on a balanced diet to grow and function. Instead, be active, eat a balanced diet and choose your words wisely. That means focusing on “getting healthy” or “building strength”, not “losing weight”.

Turn food into an experience

Kids love to get hands on. Invite them into the kitchen with you and teach them the textures and tastes of different foods. Explain what greens, fruits and whole foods offer your body and why they’re such a healthy fundamental. Some kids are naturally excited by food, others couldn’t care less, but turning cooking into a shared experience is a simple way to engage them.

Be mindful of what you model

Remember how I said it all starts with you? Always eat a balanced breakfast, prioritise food prep, have healthy snacks on hand, and never skip meals. If your day goes out the window and you’re stuck buying from a food court, make good choices or explain that fast-food is a rare treat, not something to rely on. Your attitudes and actions will eventually lead to your children’s own self-regulated food habits. And don’t underestimate how much leading by example will benefit you too.

Q: What is your relationship with food really like?