woman eating a meal outside and smiling

When you think about your relationship with food, do you consider it to be a healthy one? Is there anything you feel could be better? If so, you’re not alone. Millions of people struggle with this every day. However, even if you’re feeling uncomfortable or frustrated with things as they are now, remember that it doesn’t have to stay that way. There are so many things you can do to improve this relationship. Keep reading for four tips on how to do just that.

Start Each Day Out Right
Chances are you have been told many times how important a balanced breakfast is, but are you following through with that advice? If you aren’t starting out your mornings with a healthy and full-of-protein breakfast, you’re missing out on a great opportunity.

Wondering why this is so important? Not only are breakfasts containing eggs, oatmeal and nut butter really healthy, they are sustainable and an excellent source of energy that will carry you through the morning. Since you’ll feel satiated, you’ll be less likely to fill up on unhealthy snacks and you’ll have more energy as well. If you’re trying to lose weight or gain muscle, this will help a lot.

Set Yourself Up for Success
In order to make good choices, having the right foods on hand will make all the difference in your journey. This is where planning ahead comes in. Before heading to the grocery store, sit down and make a list. Take it one step further by meal planning at the same time. This will ensure you have everything on hand you need to create healthy and balanced meals (and you’ll be less likely to order take-out).

Since your goal is to improve your relationship with food, it’s critical that you have a solid understanding of basic food and nutrition. For instance, you may have heard that shopping on the perimeter of the grocery store is the healthiest way to shop. However, just remember that for every not-so-good for you food lurking in the center aisles, there’s at least one or two hanging out in the perimeter.

Give Yourself Permission to Eat (and Enjoy) Your Food
For some, part of the battle is finding a comfort level when it comes to eating. Regardless of the reason, there is one thing you must do and that is to give yourself the green light to eat. This will mean different things for everyone, but acknowledging that it’s okay will have a big impact. Getting more involved with food preparation and cooking is another great way to do this.

When you have a healthy understanding of nutrition, you might find that you’re not as worried about the occasional slice of cake or plate of nachos simply because you have confidence in your choices and in yourself.

Know When and Where to Set Boundaries
While feeling comfortable eating a slice of cake is very important, it’s also important to create boundaries in order to stay healthy and on track. This might mean that you don’t keep cake in the house, but that you’re happy to indulge at a birthday party or out at a restaurant. It might mean that you replace your regular after-work cocktail with sparkling water, but that you meet up with your best friend once a week for a margarita or a glass of wine.

What’s critical here is that you’re able to strike and maintain a balance. For instance, declaring that you’re not eating foods containing sugar might sound like a good idea, but the reality is food cravings can be powerful and can lead to a binge cycle at the drop of a hat. Additionally, try not to label your food. Instead of considering a chocolate chip cookie as something bad, consider it something you’re happy to have in moderation.

Improving your relationship with food isn’t something that will happen overnight, but in time and with genuine effort good things will happen. If you find that you’re struggling regardless, don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional for guidance. Your health and happiness are more than worth it.