When in Rome – Eat REAL Food

This past weekend placed me downtown Minneapolis and if you are not familiar, there is some damn good, real food in the HOST CITY OF THIS YEAR’S SUPER BOWL!! This is not an exaggeration! Seriously, just because we live up north and use the word Uffda from time to time doesn’t mean we live under a rock or a pile of snow for that matter. So you know that saying “when in Rome”? It has me thinking. How do we keep balance without sabotaging our efforts on the path to better health?

Before we get in too deep, I have a question for you.  Do you consider yourself a realist or an idealist?  For me it comes down to owning my goals and asking the right questions. This is especially important this time of year as November is just the beginning of a season full of tasty opportunities to indulge.

Personally, I’ve always seen myself a realist.  I’ve often stated the R in the RD is more about the Real than the registered in Dietitian.  Real Food Defined For Real Life™ is more than just a tagline. It’s part of my nutrition philosophy. While reality sometimes has negative connotations or can seem like a buzzkill, owning your reality can be a foundation that keeps you grounded or provides a platform to spring forth from.

So how do you better define your reality when it comes to making the best choices for your personal health without falling into the all or nothing thinking that often comes with ideals? How does one do this to stay true to their personal reality? Try asking yourself one or all of the following questions before you purchase, plate or consume your next perceived treat or as some like to call it “cheat meal.”  Note: these are in no particular order.

  • How can I achieve my health goals without forgoing foods I love?
  • What foods are worth the splurge?
  • Are there foods that I can choose to provide healthier options without missing out on flavor?
  • If I eat this food now, how will I feel later?
  • Am I really craving this food?
  • Once I start eating it will I be able to stop?
  • Does this taste as good as it looked? Again, is it worth it?
  • How can I increase my nutrition value later today for what is lacking now?
  • How will this food impact my greater health goal?
  • How often do I have the chance to eat this particular food?
  • Can I make it for myself at home?
  • What has my day looked like up to this point? Will balance out?

Finally, only you know how you feel about the answers to these questions. But if you can pause long enough to ask them, you will increase self-awareness to eat mindfully and intuitively each and every time you enter a situation around what you may feel is a forbidden food.  Last but not least, enjoy it if you really want it!  Take time to appreciate the food, what you like best about it, your surroundings and your company.  Eating is an experience. Food is beautiful. And it’s true, you only live once. Be true to you. Stay Real.