5 Steps To Develop A Healthy Relationship With Food

Developing a healthy relationship with foods involves letting go of anything that you’ve been told about dieting, restricting, or eliminating, and embracing an “all foods fit” mentality. 

It also means finding freedom from food rules, food guilt, and food fear. It allows you to see food beyond its caloric value and enjoy it for its nourishment.

Read on to reveal these 5 tips to help you begin your journey on developing a healthy relationship with food. 

5 Steps to Develop a Healthy Relationship With Food

As you learn how to listen to your body and nourish it with foods that you enjoy and make you feel good, you will learn that you CAN create a healthy relationship with food. 

1.) Eat For Nourishment 

Eating for nourishment requires a bit of knowledge in basic nutrition, but it can help you make mindful food choices that allow you to feel good and provide you with the nutrition you need. 

A simple solution for this is to follow the CDC’s MyPlate guide. Make sure you include a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein, and dairy at every meal. A good rule of thumb is to eat consistent meals and snacks throughout the day consisting of carbs, protein, and fat.

Keep in mind deserts and snacks can fit in this way of eating! 

2.) Honor Your Hunger and Fullness Cues

“Eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full!” Should be easy enough, right? Then why do so many of us find ourselves overeating, undereating, and eating when we’re not physically hungry? 

Because food is comforting! 

While this might be acceptable on occasion (stress eating, bored eating, and emotional eating) in the long run, it’s not beneficial to our emotional or physical needs. 

Here are a few ways to combat these non-hungry eating habits:

  • Go on a walk 
  • Call a friend 
  • Talk about your feelings 
  • Practice breathing techniques
  • Journal 
  • Exercise 
  • Meditate 

By listening to your hunger and fullness cues, you will be able to give your body what it needs when it needs it and ultimately feel better, healthier, and happier. 

3.) Adopt An “All Foods Fit” Mindset 

Similar to hunger and fullness cues, our bodies have the ability to tell us what they need. 

When you fuel your body with nourishing foods on a regular basis – your body will begin to crave the things it needs. 

And contrary to popular belief that if you allow yourself to eat whatever you want, whenever you want you will be endlessly eating cookies. That’s not the case for most people. 

Research shows that people who allow all foods into their diets are less likely to crave and overconsume foods of lower nutritional value (cake, cookies, chips, etc.). 

So, practice adopting an “all foods fit” mentality and give yourself permission to eat all foods. 

4.) Break Up With Food Rules 

If you begin to listen to your hunger and fullness cues along with cravings and a general knowledge of a balanced plate, then you shouldn’t need any food rules. 

When you create rules around food – like “no carbs” – it creates feelings of hunger, restriction, and deprivation. Research shows that people who practice dieting and restriction are more likely to end up overeating or binge eating than people who don’t follow any food rules. 

5.) Let Go Of The Guilt 

Your food has no moral value. In other words, food isn’t good or bad. Eating too much of something might cause you to feel physically bad or sick, but it does not make you a bad person. 

Whether you ate too much popcorn while watching a movie or over-ate lunch with friends, you still need to eat later in the day.

Offer yourself grace when you make food choices that bring you feelings of guilt. Remind yourself that you don’t have to earn your food or punish yourself if you overeat at one meal. 

Bottom Line 

As you begin your journey to develop a healthy relationship with food, keep in mind that it takes time and effort. It may not happen overnight, but the more you work at it, the more freedom you will find.

Written by Sheridan Glaske, MS, RDN


1. CDC

2. Healthline


4. Wellness Workdays


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