People often recommend that you “eat in moderation.” This sounds like a great concept, but what does it mean? Eating in moderation is a more relaxed way of eating without a specific food plan and a set of rules. With this plan, all foods fit, but nothing should be overdone.
Paying attention to portion sizes, eating mindfully, and filling your plate with healthy food is key. Small amounts of treats and sweets are okay when mixed with a healthy plan. For many people, this relieves the pressure of adhering to a specific diet.
Tips for Eating in Moderation
- Make Your Own Plan — Eating in moderation can be vague. It’s important to determine a plan that works for you. Allowing yourself to eat all food mindfully is great, but find a plan you can follow. If you choose a small piece of cake, how will you balance the meal before it? Planning a low-calorie meal prior to a treat can help you stay on track. Some choose a 90/10 plan. This means that 90% of the time they will eat a balanced plan but allow a little extra room for treats.
- Realize that Eating in Moderation is Not a Free-for-All — You can’t eat anything you want all the time. Extra treats are fine, but eating small volumes and balancing them with other choices is also very important.
- Make Healthy Choices Readily Available — Make it easy on yourself to eat healthy foods. Fill your fridge with fresh chopped produce and low-fat dairy foods. Keep non-perishable items on your plan at eye level in your pantry or set out a bowl of fresh fruit. It’s much easier to choose nutritious foods when they’re right in front of you.
- Have the Right Utensils — Eating in moderation relies on appropriate portion sizes. It’s not a free pass to eat as much as you want. Try using small bowls, plates, and cups to avoid eating directly out of the food or drink container.
- Keep Some Foods Far Away — Keep sweets and extras out of reach. Many times, out of site is out of mind. Treats in the back of the pantry are less likely to tempt you than if they were sitting on the kitchen counter.
- Set Limits — Some people make certain foods off-limit. Many struggle to limit some of their favorite foods. If there are foods that are hard for you to control, don’t keep them in the house where they are readily available. For example, if ice cream is your trigger food, choose to eat it only at a restaurant or ice cream shop.
- Eat Mindfully — Pay attention when you eat. Make sure you eat meals and snacks intentionally while sitting at a table or focusing. Take small bites, chew your food well, and place your utensil down between bites to remain mindful.
If you think mindful eating can work for you, give it a try. You might find that it helps you stick to your health goals and live an overall more balanced lifestyle.