In this world of the internet and social media, we have so many messages thrown at us. We’re bombarded with individuals who lack proper credentials inadvertently telling us and showing us how we should look. Underneath these specific looks, there is often a diet or routine that they follow to make them appear a certain way.

Often, these celebrities and influencers get asked how they look the way they do. These questions are usually followed up with YouTube videos, Instagram posts and/or TikTok’s that share what these individuals eat in a day. It’s not uncommon for a lot of these meals and snacks to be void of the nutrients our bodies need to run properly. Many times, these food selections can be bland and not very exciting. There is generally a rigidity to food that can make eating seem like more of a chore and less exciting.

How do we make that shift from eating feeling like something we have to do into something that gives us joy? Here are a few ideas:

  1. Try new recipes. Sometimes chicken, broccoli, and rice are not all too exciting to eat. Try to pick a recipe once a week, or every other week, to add to your routine. Start looking for recipes by choosing a protein source that you want to center your meal around. Next, determine how much time that you can realistically set aside to make this dish. Start with a Google search such as “Easy Beef Meals Under 30 Minutes”. You will be amazed at all of the different options that come up. Are you crunched for time? Consider a crockpot recipe. This way, you can come home to a meal all ready to go!
  2. Incorporate all of the food groups at meals. At a minimum, meals should consist of a protein source, a serving of fruits and vegetables, a grain source, and a source of calcium along with a serving of dietary fat. This ensures that you are getting the vitamins and minerals that your body needs for optimal function.
  3. Add a new food that you have not tried before. Challenge your palate by aiming to add one new fruit, vegetable, grain, or dairy product. Make it your goal to pick one new item each week. Take note of the foods that you enjoy and continue to incorporate them into your meals and snacks.
  4. Enjoy fun foods without guilt. Foods like desserts, crackers, and chips are usually demonized in the media and referred to as unhealthy. The truth is that many of these foods are tied to positive emotions and experiences. For instance, cake is generally the dessert of choice at birthday celebrations, and it is tied to memories that last a lifetime. Give yourself permission to not only enjoy these foods a couple of days a year but on a regular basis. Do you like ice cream? Have it alone, or make it a complete dessert by creating a milkshake for an additional protein boost! Realize that it is perfectly acceptable to enjoy these foods. Know that you do not need to “burn” these foods off or eat better the next day either. Our body is smart and benefits from all food to function.

If you are struggling or recovering from an eating disorder, we understand that it takes time to undo many of the nutrition information and beliefs that we have held onto for a long time. The Registered Dietitians at Water’s Edge Counseling & Healing Center are the food experts, and we are here to help adolescents and adults with eating disorders make food more enjoyable again. We are here to help you along your journey to peace with food. Please contact 951-898-5020 for more information on our Eating Disorder Therapy offerings.

РKatie VandenPlas, RD, LD, Registered and Licensed Dietitian