The advice would I have given to my younger self

I was recently interviewed by a friend who I used to do track and field with. She was putting together resources for youth at the non-profit she volunteered for. She asked some great questions that got me thinking: when I had just moved out of my parents house and was struggling with my relationship with food and “eating healthy”, what do I know now that I wish I had known then?

I wanted to share my reflections with you in case they resonate with you, no matter where you are at in life.

1. If you were to give advice to a youth who has recently moved out by themselves about healthy eating habits on a budget what would you give? 

  • Plan ahead, you can save money (and prevent getting hangry) by planning ahead. Planning ahead allows you to make food decisions ahead of time, so that all you have to do in the moment is execute (prepare or eat the meal). When you remove the decision making from the time of the meal, you can focus on enjoying your food and getting back to what is most important to you. It also reduces decision fatigue and feelings of overwhelm which means you’ll be less likely to think “I can’t be bothered”. It also helps you save money – when you have decided what to eat in advance you can make sure you have all the ingredients and tools you need – so all you have to focus on is making the food. This prevents last minute grocery store runs, buying duplicates, or spending money eating out. 

2. When thinking about healthy eating, what are some things that most people tend to overlook? 

  • I think the most overlooked piece of healthy eating is your relationship with food. People usually focus on the “what” of healthy eating – eating more vegetables etc. But how can you possibly make healthy choices if you feel stressed, afraid, anxious, or craving certain foods. Having a positive relationship with food puts all foods on an equal playing field, so that you can make food choices that honour your health, culture, and preferences and that leave you feeling good. Healthy eating is so much more than the nutrients in the food – it is spending time and connecting with others,  a celebration, a connection to your culture and heritage, a source of enjoyment and pleasure. When you have a good relationship with food you can enjoy all the benefits of healthy eating (not just the nutrients). 

3. What sort of advice would you have given your younger self with the knowledge you possess now? 

  • It doesn’t have to be perfect, you’re learning and you’re doing your best (this applies to nutrition and beyond). It’s ok to ask for support – you have friends/family, resources, and professionals you can go to for help. You’ve got this! 

4. What sort of resources would you recommend that are free for us to use or create a link to in our work book? 

  • Recipes – Budget Bytes 
  • UBC Foodie on Youtube – grocery store “tours”, chef cooking skills videos, recipe videos etc. 

5. What is a general piece of advice that anyone can use, regardless of diet?

  • 1. Work on your relationship with food. 
  • 2. Focus on learning to plan ahead (meal planning, grocery shopping) and learning the basic skills of cooking. 
  • 3. Enjoy food and share the experience with others.

I hope these reflections were encouraging to you. If you’re looking for support with your relationship with food, meal planning, or healthy eating – there is a way you can have support for all 3 in one place. Dietitians work with you to make a customized action plan so that you can receive support that works for your life – what that really means is that you can focus on living your life.

Book a complimentary discovery call here to save time and see if working with a dietitian would be a good fit for you!

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