Published: May 23, 2014
Eating for health isn't just about consuming adequate amounts of food that will provide your body with the nutrients it needs to respond to your daily requirements. Your eating habits or patterns also contribute to a healthy eating plan.
Eating habits or patterns concern not only what you eat on a regular basis, but also when, where, how, and why you eat the way you do. Do you regularly skip breakfast, lunch and/or dinner? Do you eat "on the run"? Eat out frequently?
Will you only eat certain foods at certain times of the day? Are you careful to make sure you avoid eating certain types of food together or avoid eating certain types of food altogether? Do you follow rigid rules about what you can and cannot eat?
If you are trying to lose, maintain or gain weight what eating habits are you practising to attain your goal? Are your eating habits and patterns influenced by the environment in which you live and the people you live and work with?
Most of all do your eating habits and patterns promote a sustainable eating for health plan?
Your eating habits are influenced by your food preferences, life experiences, and your knowledge about food and nutrition, but may not always be health promoting.
If your desire is to create a sustainable eating for health plan (this can include weight loss and weight gain eating plans) identifying potentially health promoting and health adverse eating patterns and habits can be beneficial.
There are several steps to identifying health promoting and health adverse eating patterns and habits:
- Identify the food you eat by constructing a food record or diary
- Identify when you eat, where you eat, and how you eat
- Identify why you eat the foods you do, why you eat when you do, why you eat where you do, and why you eat how you do.
The decision to make changes to your eating habits and patterns is ultimately yours and you will need to consider the environment in which you live and work, and your values and beliefs about food nutrition and health as these are important aspects of an eating for health plan.
If your eating for health plan is to be sustainable it needs to be practical, modifiable and flexible so that you can put it into practice every day. Read on to learn more...
Whitney, E. & Rady Rolfes, S. (2005). Understanding Nutrition. Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth
Centre for Science in the Public Interest (09/2013, 07/2012, 12/2013, 05/2012, 04/2013, 05/2014)