Why a healthy relationship with food is important

November 13, 2023

As a registered dietitian, I strongly believe that having a positive relationship with food is equally as crucial to our dietary needs - yet many of us neglect this aspect of their regimens.

Food is more than fuel; it nourishes our minds and spirits too. Emotions, thoughts, and experiences all impact how we approach food - so cultivating a healthy relationship with it is vital for overall wellness.

What does a healthy relationship with food look like? Firstly, it involves adopting an optimistic outlook towards it - food should not be seen as something to feel guilty about; rather, we should use food as a source of enjoyment, pleasure, and nourishment.

Second, to maintain a healthy relationship with food requires attending to your body and responding accordingly. This involves being aware of when you're hungry or full and eating accordingly or paying attention to cravings and indulging in moderation.

Thirdly, a healthy relationship with food acknowledges that maintaining a balanced diet is crucial. An essential aspect of developing a positive relationship with food is recognising its impact on both physical and mental wellbeing. Eating well can positively influence mood, energy levels and sleep quality - being aware of what we eat can help create a healthy relationship with it.

Overall, a healthy relationship with food encompasses all aspects of our emotional, mental, and physical wellbeing. I believe that understanding this dynamic can help us reach optimal health and wellness - so let's see food as more than just fuel and experience its pleasure and nourishment!

An enjoyable relationship with food can have a tremendously positive impact on both your overall health and wellbeing. Here are some tips to help foster such a relationship.

  • Practice mindful eating: Tune into your body's hunger and fullness cues when eating; chew slowly, enjoy each bite, and appreciate the experience of dining!
  • Avoid labeling food as "good" or "bad": Since all types of foods can fit into a healthy diet in moderation. Try not to limit certain food groups but aim instead for an overall balance when selecting meals and snacks.
  • Home Cooking: Preparing food yourself gives you more control of what goes into your meals while also helping to recognize all the effort involved in its creation.
  • Focus on Nutrients over Calories: Nutrient rich foods provide essential vitamins and minerals essential to keeping us healthy. As such, focus on including more nutrient-rich food options in your meals and snacks to reap maximum nutritional benefit.
  • Practice Self-Compassion: Be kind to yourself if you overindulge in one of your favorite treats; just remember moderation is key and that it's essential to show kindness towards oneself.
  • Avoid Fad Diets: Fad diets may offer quick weight loss but can damage your relationship with food over time. Instead, focus on making sustainable lifestyle changes that fit with you and work for you.
  • Reach Out: If you are experiencing disordered eating or have an unhealthy relationship with food, do not hesitate to seek support from a registered dietitian or mental health professional.

Integrating these tips can help you foster a healthier relationship with food that can have a significant positive effect on both your overall health and wellbeing. Keep in mind there is no one-size-fits-all approach; finding what works for you may take some trial-and-error.