Food is the bane of many peoples’ lives. We cannot live with it and cannot live without it. Many of us eat out of habit, rather than necessity. The clock tells us that it is time to eat, or we combine eating with meeting friends socially, or we are stressed or lonely and eat for comfort. Bottom line, there can be many different reasons behind eating without an affirmative schedule. And, the urge to rely on food to uplift our mood goes back to when we were a baby.
Food habits from the start
As individuals, our relationship with food starts when we are babies. Many babies are fed at certain times of the day. Some kids are even awoken from their nap so that they can be fed. As a child grows food is often given orally to soothe their mood if they start to cry. This is an effective way to calm down the kid. This is a habit that eventually registers in the kid’s brain. Children are hence fed to control their fluctuating mood and establish control of their irritability.
Many food items are regarded as treats. These usually come under the sweet and confectionery banner of biscuits, cakes, toffee, chocolate, basically any dessert that you can order through online cake delivery in Agra. Children are often rewarded with these things for good behaviour and learn to expect these items frequently and spend their pocket money on them. This habit stays with them for a long time. And, it is how children grow up to believe the same thing about food when they are adults too.
Food as a quick fix
Feeling emotional is unavoidable. While only a handful of people like to be creative and divert their feeling of subdued emotion through physical exercises, most people are inclined towards finding comfort through food.
Many of the food items are thus used as quick fixes. Mealtimes are often rushed affairs, with many children and adults having limited time available to sit and dine. Many people also miss out on the timings of different meals and thus end up developing odd food habits. Many families are in fact getting more dependent on casual improper meals. People often eat in front of the television or in their bedroom whilst on the computer which both influences bad eating habits. Supermarket pre-chilled dinners or takeaways are used as a convenient answer to the problem of finding a quick ready meal.
Over time, bad eating habits have been found to be the reason behind many physical and behavioural problems. Relying too heavily on meals that are laden with fat, sugar, salt and chemical preservatives, or are full of poor quality ingredients eventually impacts general health and well-being. Obesity, diabetes, heart disease are just some of the obvious examples, but skin conditions, stress, insomnia, behavioural problems, can also be exacerbated by a poor diet too.
So let us look at some simple ways to take back control over what we are taking into our bodies and the bodies of our young people.
Tips for better food habits:
- Try to plan meals for the week ahead. This means that the weekly diet and food intake becomes more organised and efficient. By putting a prepared schedule on the fridge door, everyone knows what is available for eating the very next day each night. Even if different meals are eaten on individual days, at least the meal plan is known and the person who is in charge of preparing the meals.
- Consider batch cooking when certain vegetables and fruits are in season so that the freezer is stocked up with good, healthy dishes.
- Get the children in your family involved in cooking. This way they learn how to prepare vegetables and meals and appreciate what is involved. Make it fun. This will help children develop a certain knack for eating healthy and they will also understand the value of cooking your own meals.
- Eat together whenever possible. Family meals are about more than the food. They are an important time to connect together, to notice if someone seems to be depressed or upset and to provide an opportunity to discuss things and build relationships. Needless to say, when you are sitting for meals with your loved ones, you become more focused on your meals.
- Find alternatives to sugar. Our bodies produce a hormone called ghrelin, which works on the brain and makes us crave high-calorie foods even when we are full. Understanding that this occurs enables us to learn to resist the urge to overeat.
- Food is a necessary part of life. A little forward planning can make it less of a chore to deal with and enable it to become a more pleasurable part of family life. It is a positive way of teaching our children to have a healthier relationship with food and eating also.