Just like all relationships in your life, your relationship with food requires hard work, patience, and balance.  This may be easier said than done, but without a healthy relationship with your food, it will be nearly impossible to achieve and maintain your health goals.  Below are some simple rules to keeping a healthy relationship with food.

1.) Avoid skipping meals: Skipping meals is more common than one may think, especially at breakfast time.  However, skipping meals can cause  individuals to consume more calories at those meals and snacks that are consumed, which can lead to overeating and weight gain over time.  In addition, skipping meals can cause us to reach for empty calories such as sweets and cola when we start to slow down, so we miss out on important vitamins and nutrients, such as iron and vitamin C, that a healthy balanced meal would provide.  In particular, the iron found in animal products and leafy greens and the vitamin C found in citrus fruits and tomatoes that aids in absorption of iron, together are important for the physical energy and immunity that keeps us going as we go about our daily tasks.

2.) Take time to prepare meals: If we grab a bite to eat at a restaurant or with a convenience meal, we can't fully appreciate the food we are eating.  If we take time to dice and slice the vegetables, season the meat, or even grown the herbs used to flavor your food, then you can take pride in your food as well as experiment with different flavors each day that will keep eating healthy exciting and new each day.  Although we may not have time to eat prepared meals at home everyday, if we can eat at least two meals a day from prepared foods from our home, then we will dramatically lower the amount of calories and fat we eat each day and be on our way to living our healthiest life!

3.) Take time for meal time: Of course it's convenient to grab a frozen meal or order a takeout meal, but do we really appreciate our food during such quick meal times.  In many cases, we consume the food so quickly in between our to-do list that we barely get to taste the food.  That is why it is important to take time to have a meal time so we can, even if for one small moment, savor the taste of our food as it nourishes our bodies and satisfies our taste buds.  If we take at least 20-30 minutes for each meal time, then we allow ourselves time to identify our hunger cues that tell us when we are full, so we can avoid overeating at meals.

4.) Enjoy family meal time: Eating with others, whether it be family or friends, provides a time to talk about our feelings with others that we care about and helps strengthen our relationships with others.  Without a television in front of our meal plates, eating with others helps us to slow down the eating process, in turn helping us to digest our food better, in turn helping us to eat less. In addition, eating with others helps us talk about our emotions instead of keeping them inside and allowing us to eat our emotions away, therefore helping us to deal with the emotional problems in a healthier way.

Therefore, even though it may take time and compromise to make your healthy relationship with food work, it will be worth it in the end since it will make us healthier inside and out.