Learning about improving nutrition with an intuitive lifestyle is not as hard as it sounds. People who first learn about living intuitively often have the “you can eat anything you want” mentality. While this is technically true, intuitive eating is not a free-for-all where nutrition doesn’t matter. Health still matters! But when you remove rules and restrictions, you will start actually craving more nutrient-dense foods.
Improving Nutrition With an Intuitive Lifestyle
There is no reason to be scared about living an intuitive lifestyle. Self care is something everyone needs. Taking control of your life and improving your nutrition is a great start. Here are some ways you can begin to improve your nutrition while still being intuitive.
Start With Nutritious Foods You Love
A good way to start improving your nutrition is to start eating more nutrient-dense foods that you already enjoy. You can make a list of foods that you currently eat on a regular basis that are also considered healthy. While healthy is subjective, just think about the nutrients in the foods.
For example, make a list of all your favorite fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other whole foods. If there are certain types of proteins like eggs or chicken you like, write those down. This can also include packaged foods like cereal, bread, granola, yogurt, and many other food items.
Nuts, sweet potatoes, legumes, kale, quinoa, berries, salmon, and dandelion greens are some of the most nutrient-dense options. Yes, I said dandelion greens. Might sound odd, but people all over the world consume them. They contain about the same amount of nutrients as kale, so give them a try.
Try New Things, One at a Time
Don’t go out and get an entire shopping cart full of new foods you have never eaten before! This is a recipe for disaster. You might end up with a lot of healthy food you don’t end up enjoying, which is going to lower your satisfaction factor immensely after each meal. It can lead you to binge on other foods and not being very intuitive since you aren’t enjoying what you are eating and feel forced to eat these foods.
If you want to try something new, choose just a few new items along with other healthy foods you know you enjoy. Doing this gives you some assurance. Assurance if you don’t like new food, you still have a staple you do like.
Being smart about what you decide to buy as you transition to intuitive eating also will save money. Nobody likes to buy things, just to throw them out. Sometimes hitting up a farmers market might help. A store sells items pre-bagged where a farmers market allows to buy less. Farmers’ markets offer many nutrient-dense food options.
Cook One New Recipe a Week
Another great way to start focusing on nutrition is just to cook one new recipe a week. Again, you don’t want to do too much, too quickly. You never know what your body will respond to and what you end up liking. Choose one new recipe a week that includes a lot of nutritious foods that you like, then for the rest of the week, plan with meals you have had before.
Amazon has a few good recipe books like Just Eat Real Food and The Nutrient Dense Kitchen. Both recipe books are perfect to get anyone started with a nutrient-dense eating style. Keep it simple and use foods you already like, but add something new to the recipe.
After a couple of weeks of trying a new recipe a week, you will be ready to try a couple of new recipes a week. If you find a recipe you love, make it every week. There are no rules saying you can’t keep eating the same recipe over and over.
Use Seasonal Produce to Your Advantage
Seasonal produce is great because it gives you a little inspiration to try new things. You might not think much about winter foods like cranberries, apples, and brussels sprouts, but when you get seasonal produce, suddenly creativity strikes.
Depending on where you live, the farmer’s markets like mentioned above will be great. A grocery store might carry out-of-season items because they are genetically grown. Those are things you want to avoid. However, a farmers market will always have in-season items, for your area. Here is a great list of seasonal produce.
Stop Obsessing About Food
You will also have a lot more free time when you aren’t thinking about food. Intuitive eating helps you stop obsessing about every single thing you consume. Food just becomes food. It becomes a way to fuel your body, to nourish it with nutrients, to feel satisfied and happy. When you get to this point, you start noticing when you are actually hungry and when you are full and are able to discover the foods you love
Once you have found foods you enjoy, recipes you like, and have the shopping part down, intuitive eating becomes easier.
You No Longer Have Intense Cravings
Feel like you will always crave chocolate chip cookies or salty snacks forever? First of all, there is nothing wrong with these foods. Second, you will notice that you don’t experience these intense cravings that seem to consume your mind. When you do have a craving, you will eat that thing to satisfy it, then move on. But you also understand when a craving is physical, or if it is an emotional pull from a history of restrictions. That is the beauty of intuitive eating.
Cravings don’t mean you have fallen off your intuitive lifestyle or have done anything wrong at all. Humans have cravings, and you are human. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your new intuitive lifestyle won’t’ happen overnight.
Final Thoughts on Improving Nutrition with an Intuitive Lifestyle
Changing one’s way of eating won’t happen overnight. Intuitive eating is something you start slow, and over time adapt to. While it’s not a diet, it is still a lifestyle. One that can help many people in many ways.