No doubt you’ve heard people telling you that you can eat what you want, but all in moderation. It’s true. I love a good slice of chocolate cake and my glass of red wine, but implementing mindful eating and an awareness of balance in my diet has completely changed the way I approach these foods.
The French are always practicing mindful eating, especially when it comes to creating balance in their meals. It’s rare to find a plate of just pasta, for example, in a French restaurant. You’re more likely to find a small portion of cooked pasta next to some kind of protein, such as chicken. The meal is also likely to be paired with a salad and a small dessert.
The French like to enjoy a little bit of everything. They don’t believe in the no-carb diets or protein-only diets. The only thing that they do believe in having an abundance of is fresh fruit and vegetables. While a French person may love their meat and potatoes, they’re not apt to skip the side of veggies.
I try to carry the same approach at home. When I first became privy to this balancing act, I wrote down everything I had eaten the day before to just self-reflect and figure out what I needed to pay attention to in my diet. Right off the bat, I could tell I was consuming too much sugar.
It wasn’t that I was eating bags of candy or anything like that. It was as simple as having some fruit-flavored yogurt in the morning, only to be followed by a salad at lunch with a sweet dressing. My afternoon caramel latte followed, and likely something sweet in my dinner and dessert.
As you can see, mindful eating and creating balance in your diet isn’t just about saying you’re going to have 1 dessert in the day or 1 glass of wine. These are all well and nice, but it’s more about creating balance with ingredients and flavors rather than just how much you eat of one particular item. You could be consuming sugar all day like I was, for instance, without putting an ounce of candy or chocolate in your mouth.
Today, if I have toast for breakfast, and let’s say a sandwich for lunch, I try to get more greens and less carbs in at dinner. I think about all the ingredients I’m working with during the day and make adjustments as needed to compensate for any lack or necessity when it comes to dietary components on my plate.
If I’m at a brunch and have pain perdu, then I forego dessert later in the day, or at the very least just keep it to something simple like fresh strawberries with cream.
It’s all about being able to enjoy our favorite foods while also being mindful of what we’re putting into our bodies and how much of it we’re consuming throughout the day.