You Are What You Eat

The alarm clock goes off, and we hit the ground running. In the hustle of the morning, breakfast may be a grab-and-go choice – or it could be an afterthought once a few hours of work have passed and the hunger and cravings emerge. We are reminded of the need for food with both physical and emotional cues, which lead to eating and satisfaction. Mindful eating helps us be aware of the factors that guide us in why, when, where, what and how much we eat.

Healthy eating begins with conscious choices. When examining your eating habits, consider how what you eat may be affecting the way you feel, the way you think or how you are able to move. One of the best gifts we give ourselves is a set of healthy nutrition habits that are carried throughout our lives.

Healthy eating habits include meal planning. Using balance and moderation, all foods can fit. Choosing a variety of foods helps you get all the nutrients that you need. Include a rainbow of color such as greens, reds, yellow and browns on your plate. Mixing sour, sweet, bitter and salty in meals gives the flavors that satisfy the palate. Give yourself plenty of time to eat by varying the textures: crunchy, soft, chewy and smooth. Savor your food, observing all the colors, smells, flavors and textures.

Meal planning and sound eating habits also apply when dining out. Make a plan for health by checking into menu options in advance and anticipate your choices. Nourish yourself by selecting healthy options at the start of the meal, such as salads or broth-based soups. Learn about portion sizes and stop eating when you feel full – ask for a to-go box for the remainder of the meal. Look for choices that are roasted, poached, steamed, baked or grilled rather than deep-fried, pan-fried or sautéed in butter. Choose a light dessert such as fruit or sorbets.

Healthy Door County 2020 aims to help make the healthy choice the easy choice when dining out. A single meal out in a day can contribute 30 percent, or more, of your daily energy intake. Working with local restaurants, Healthy Door County 2020 will indicate entrée items that are 650 calories or less, which equates to about 1/3 of the typical recommended daily calorie needs.

One healthy, conscious – and hopefully easy – choice at a time, Healthy Door County 2020 can reach its goal of lowering chronic disease and obesity rates throughout the community.

This series of articles is brought to you by Healthy Door County 2020, a collaborative community organization with representatives from for-profit, nonprofit and government sectors, aiming to make Door County Wisconsin’s healthiest place to live, work, raise a family and retire. For more information visit their Facebook page at or call Allison Vroman at 920.868.3660.