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You Can Do It

Every day, we are faced with choices, multiple times, for snacks, meals, and unexpected food encounters. How we think about, choose, and approach these moments matter.

When you read the title of this, I bet you had one or both of these thoughts come into your mind:

Do what?

Yes, I can! …with a specific topic/task in mind, or with a follow up  – Yes, but how?

The thing is, we pretty much all have talents that we are confident in and trust to get tasks at hand done. We likely all also have hidden talents or less developed ones that need some boosting through training and/or practice. For the sake of this story, let’s focus on food and cooking.

Every day, we are faced with choices, multiple times, for snacks, meals, and unexpected food encounters (all that stuff that shows up at work after the holidays, for example). How we think about, choose, and approach these moments matter both now, in the moment, and over the long term.  Here are three things that are relatively easy to do yet can have great impact over time when it comes to taking the guesswork out of taking care of yourself.

  1. Learn how to read a recipe. Recipes are these wonderful tools that can turn nearly anyone into a decent cook. If they are used properly.
    • Find recipes that have a couple of ingredients you know you already love (confidence in a new dish if you already like some of the flavors that are in it).
    • Read the whole thing.
    • Look at the ingredient list and make sure you have what you need.
    • Look up substitutes for the ingredients you personally think are weird.
    • Follow the directions. In order. Read them all first before diving in.
    • Don’t be afraid to switch things up once you make it a few times.
lentils in ramekin
Made this one up myself: cheese, eggs, lentils, spices.
  1. Make your kitchen and dining table pleasant spaces to be.
    • Do simple things like think about dinner the day before you need to make it.
    • Play music while you cook.
    • Put the things you use most often in the most convenient places.
    • Sort the stuff you have to make room for the stuff you need.
    • Donate food that is still good but you know you won’t eat.
    • Keep your table clear of clutter and get away from your desk for lunch.

portion control homemade cookies

  1. Choose your food and nutrition “gurus” wisely. Who do you listen to when it comes to trying to make a change? Ask yourself why you listen to them. Do they have your best interest at heart, or are they benefitting from your fear and angst personally? Are they listening to you and what you have questions about, or are they demanding you do what they do? A true health professional is one that has training in the field and related skills and wants to help you, not push their own personal agenda. There are successful, smart and good professionals, and there are sneaky, inappropriate, greedy professionals in the field of food and nutrition, just like any other field. Make sure who you trust deserves it.

By Kim Kirchherr

I am a dietitian working in food and fiber (agriculture) through retail, addressing opportunities to make things better for people and planet.