Mary Ellen Phipps, MPH, RDN, LD

Mary Ellen Phipps, MPH, RDN, LD

Mary Ellen Phipps, MPH, RDN, LD, the founder of Milk & Honey Nutrition, is a diabetes dietitian (Registered Dietitian Nutritionist) renowned for combining her knowledge of diabetes and culinary expertise into easy-to-follow recipes and articles!

Eat intentionally: 11 food choices to make in 2019 that won’t set you up for failure

 Eat intentionally: 11 food choices to make in 2019 that won't set you up for failure

This post for Eat intentionally: 11 food choices to make in 2019 that won’t set you up for failure was sponsored by the Florida Department of Citrus. Rest assured, all thoughts and ideas are my own.

It’s almost one week into 2019, and we’re probably all thinking similar thoughts:

“It’s a new year! 2019 is going to be great!”

“I’m going to crush my goals this year!”

“New year, new me!!”

Right?! The first two, sure. That last one? NO. I hope and pray that this mentality is far from your brain… the new year should be about setting goals and intentions, not changing who you are.

I think the same is true with food. Rather than setting unrealistic weight loss goals, or proclaiming you’re going to never eat sugar again, let’s try setting ourselves up for success and vowing to eat intentionally in 2019. No crazy goals, diets, or fads, just realistic plans and perspectives on food.

Still not quite sure what I mean? Keep reading for 11 food choices to make in 2019 that won’t set you up for failure like a traditional New Years resolution would…

1) Say “Heck, no!” to New Year’s Resolutions

Just don’t do it. At least not the typical kind related to fad diets, weight loss, or unrealistic goals. Try to set yourself up for success. A quick google search will show you anywhere from 80-92% of New Year’s Resolutions will fail by the second week in February. That’s a lot of failure. So why would anyone set themselves up for something like that? I think a lot of it stems from people thinking they need to change something about themselves, rather than thinking about just making some positive behavior changes. It helps to focus on your behaviors rather than the outcome. For example: Commit to eating more vegetables each week, not to losing a certain amount of weight. You’re more likely to be able to control that outcome and thus set yourself up for success. And let’s face it… doing what you hoped to do, or INTENDED to do, feels good. And that feeling will help motivate you to continue eating more vegetables 🙂

2) Prioritize your health above your body size

Hopefully by now you’ve clued in that I’m a big fan of loving your body where it’s at and not bowing to the pressures of our culture to be a certain size. It took me a long time to get to this point, and I would give anything to go back to my teenage and early twenty-something self and tell her “You are fabulous, amazing, and beautiful… on the inside and outside!” This mindset of doing what is best for your health (and subsequently the way you feel, not the way you look) and NOT what will shrink your body, is also another way to avoid setting yourself up for failure. If our focus is on eating and drinking things that make us feel our best, then we’re bound to succeed! That’s a pretty easy thing to measure. If it helps you be your best self, great! If it doesn’t, and leaves you feeling a little lousy, then you move on and don’t eat it super frequently. Pretty simple right?! And notice there’s no talk of body size or weight loss here. While that may happen as a secondary effect of changing your eating habits, it’s not the end goal.

   Eat intentionally: 11 food choices to make in 2019 that won't set you up for failure

3) Make eating an active (intentional) activity

In order to eat intentionally, you have to actually BE intentional about eating. You have to focus on what you’re doing. Eating has become a very passive activity in our culture. We eat a hurried lunch at our desk at work. We shovel food in our mouths standing at the kitchen counter while we feed the kids. We grab a quick breakfast to eat while we’re driving. Eating has become a secondary activity. In 2019, I challenge you to make eating a priority. Let it be the primary thing you’re doing at the time so you can really focus on enjoying your food and honoring when you’re full.

4) Don’t eat too fast

Have you ever heard that it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to get the signal that you’re full? Well, from what we know, it’s true! If you eat too fast, hormones like leptin, cholecystokinin, and dopamine can have trouble keeping up and can’t send signals to your brain as fast as you’re eating. By slowing down, you’re helping your gut have ample time to send these signals to your brain. One little trick I like to use is pausing halfway through my meal. I stop eating for about 5-10 minutes to give my brain and a gut a chance to fully communicate. Do I really want to finish this meal? If yes, then I continue eating. But if I register that I’m full or already satisfied, I now know I can stop and not continue eating.

5) Plan out your weeks

This is pretty much the definition of being intentional about food. PLAN AHEAD! Think about the week before you. What are your busy days? What are your slow days? Could you cook a double batch of something on a slower day so you have something easy and ready to go on a more stressful day and avoid having to get fast food. (Not for fear of weight gain or anything like that, but more so you can make a more nourishing choice for your body on a stressful day when you could probably use some more nutrient dense food. ) Click here to download the meal planner you see below for free.

   Eat intentionally: 11 food choices to make in 2019 that won't set you up for failure

6) Identify foods that don’t make you feel good

I’m not talking about food sensitivity tests here (though I do think there is a time and a place where they are useful). But I am talking about being in tune with your body and recognizing certain things you eat that don’t make you feel your best… a perfect (yet totally random) example of this for me is raw carrots. A really nutritious food, right? Well for me, they almost always result in indigestion, a stomach ache, and burping. So when I eat carrots, I typically only eat them cooked.

This same line of thinking is why many people choose to cut out more hot topic type foods like dairy, grains, gluten, etc. If this is you, make sure you are truly doing it to feel better and not just to have more control over your food or for weight loss. Example: If eating dairy products truly makes you feel physically bad/ill, obviously don’t eat them… but if you’re cutting them out because of some belief that not eating them is “better” for you, regardless of a lack of evidence of that in your own body, maybe stop and think twice about that?

7) Prioritize all meals

We often hear that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Well, it’s not. They are ALL important. Give each meal the care and consideration it deserves.

   Eat intentionally: 11 food choices to make in 2019 that won't set you up for failure

8) Don’t believe the hype

There are way too many “health” or “wellness” websites out there written by people who have no business and no training in the field. Many of these websites cite personal experience as their one frame of reference and that “xyz” is what worked for them, so it will definitely work for you too. WRONG. We are all uniquely different and failure to recognize that is just poor judgement. I’d also challenge anyone who doesn’t believe or support science-based research results. The reason we as dietitians favor a science-based approach is because it takes into account a summary of experiences from many, many people and via that lens, we are able to make educated and informed recommendations for your unique situation. If a website is causing you to fear food or certain food groups even more, then run. Run far away. I wrote a post last May related to orange juice and why I feel very strongly about stopping the vendetta about it, and acknowledging it’s place in a healthy and balanced diet. The same could be said for ice cream and cookies too 🙂

   Eat intentionally: 11 food choices to make in 2019 that won't set you up for failure

9) Know who you’re getting your nutrition information from

And I just realized as I’m typing this article out, I kind of covered this information above… so: see above. Example: if a website or person, makes you afraid of having a simple glass of Florida orange juice (aka, 100% OJ) run far, far away.

   Eat intentionally: 11 food choices to make in 2019 that won't set you up for failure

10) Drink your nutrients

You had to know I was going here 😉 For the longest time, we were told “don’t drink your calories.” Along with a host of other warnings about our bodies not processing liquid calories the way it does solid food. But what about nutrients? Let’s toss the calorie thoughts aside and think about the more important component of food: The nutrients. The things your body needs to do the fabulous things you do everyday. Sometimes, a beverage like a smoothie, flavored water, or 100% orange juice is a great option to load up on a specific nutrient. Especially when it means it could save you some money on an unnecessary supplement. Example: Want an extra dose of vitamin C? 8oz. of Florida orange juice can provide 100% of your daily Vitamin C needs. (Note: It also provides, folate and potassium, tastes great, and has no added sugar.)

   Eat intentionally: 11 food choices to make in 2019 that won't set you up for failure

11) You do YOU!

This is probably the most important intention to set about food for 2019. Don’t compare yourself to your mother, sister, neighbor, friend, or that girl on social media you follow. Your food choices are just that: YOURS. What is best for you, is going to look different than what’s best for someone else. Remember that.

Now that we’ve covered all that, what choices will you make in 2019 to be more intentional with what you eat? How will you plan ahead to make eating a priority? Let me know below! And make sure to check out Florida Orange Juice for up to date and science-based resources on 100% Florida Orange Juice.

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