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Healthy Living Blog

Information and inspiration to help you make a habit out of living healthy.

What's Your Eating Personality?

Thursday, April 12, 2018

By Jen Hartman, YMCA Registered Dietitian Nutritionist

What does your attitude toward food say about you? Check out some of these common eating mindsets and see which one you most relate to. Maybe you fall into a few different categories. It can be eye-opening to look at how our personalities and lifestyles shape our nutrition habits in both positive and negative ways. Whichever attitude and habits you might have, I've included some helpful insights and tips for staying focused on healthy eating.

SLIDESHOW: 7 Eating Personalities

  • The Social Eater

    Eating alone? Not you! Parties, work lunches, family gatherings, Friday dinners with friends—count you in! You love breaking bread over conversation and sharing life with others. However, you might find that during social events, you don't have much control over what or where you eat or how your food is prepared. Family get-togethers, work events, and restaurants can pose some challenges when you are trying to eat healthy.

    A few tips to keep in mind: if you're making your own plate, fill half of it with veggies or fruit. When ordering at restaurants, choose dishes that are grilled, steamed, baked, or roasted. Portion control is also important at any social event. Go with smaller plates if available and limit yourself on those freebies (bread basket, chips and salsa, etc.) and appetizers.

  • The Overthinking Eater

    You've read too many nutrition articles and seen too many documentaries, and now you find yourself over-analyzing every bite of your kale salad or swig of your protein drink. While it is important to educate yourself on healthy habits, it can become a bit overwhelming and sometimes paralyzing when putting into practice.

    Above all, aim for balance and making wise choices 90 percent of the time. Don't let fear prevent you from enjoying life and food. Go with your gut and be confident in your choices.

  • The Creative Chef

    You love to cook, entertain, and create new recipes. You spend your free time on Pinterest or various blogs looking for inspiration for your next creation. Being in the kitchen is important to you, and you enjoy sharing your dishes and recipes with your friends and family. Keep that energy and excitement by finding new ways to make healthy foods taste great.

    One of the biggest obstacles that prevent people from eating healthy foods is the uncertainty of how to prepare them. Since creative cooking is your thing, help inspire your friends and family with unique and delicious healthy recipes they can prepare. For you creative mamas, get your kids involved! Those healthy habits and recipes will stick with them and influence generations to come.

  • The Eater On-the-Go

    You are always in a rush and rarely have time to sit down for a meal. You find yourself eating in the car, on the way to a meeting, or in the school pick-up line. You also end up in the drive-thru line multiple times during the week, and family meals at the dinner table are rare. This is a common season many of us find ourselves in, and we may wonder how we'll ever break the cycle!

    While you may not be able to change your fast-paced schedule, you can still aim to eat well. Be intentional about packing healthy snacks and meals ahead of time. Keep nuts, dried fruit or fresh fruit, and granola bars on hand. Choose wisely in the drive through: grilled chicken, salads, fruit cups, and yogurt. Use crock-pots for family meals in the evening, or throw together sandwiches to eat in the car. At the grocery store, purchase pre-cut and pre-washed fruits and veggies to make them easy to grab and go.

  • The Live to Eat

    You are a foodie. You love food and are constantly looking forward to your next meal. You might find yourself thinking about dinner before you have even finished your lunch! Your life seemingly revolves around food, and you plan your day accordingly. You rarely skip meals and are likely an adventurous eater. You look forward to trying new foods and eat a variety of healthy foods. However, you may lack self-control and tend to overeat at meal times. Since food always looks good to you, you may not recognize what important hunger or fullness cues feel like.

    A couple things to keep in mind: make sure you give healthy foods a try too! Make fruits, vegetables, and lean meats the star of your meal. And pace yourself at meal times to give yourself a chance to recognize fullness.

  • The Eat to Live

    Food isn't important to you. You eat out of necessity rather than enjoyment. In fact, you would forget to eat if it wasn't for your noisy growling stomach mid-day. You have more important things to worry about than your next meal. You often eat the same things during the week and don't spend much time planning meals or grocery shopping. While it's great to prioritize other things above foods, we can't neglect eating altogether! Food is our body’s energy source.

    Try to make it a priority to eat three balanced meals daily. Incorporate ready-to-eat foods such as string cheese, yogurt, fresh fruit and veggies (pre-washed and cut are great!), nuts, rotisserie chicken, and lean meats, such as turkey or chicken breast. This will save you time. Keep healthy snacks on hand (in the car, at the office, in your purse) to prevent going too long between meals.

  • The Stress Eater

    Most of us can probably relate to being the stress eater at least once in our lifetime. During times of anxiety and stress, it's not unusual to find ourselves eating to ease our nerves. Unfortunately, it's not a bag of broccoli or a stalk of celery that we find ourselves gnawing on during those times. Stress eating often leads to poor food choices, overeating, and feelings of guilt and remorse.

    While occasional stress eating won't necessarily ruin your entire month's progress or negate the healthy choices you are making, it is best to find other ways to manage stress than with food. Instead, try taking a walk, calling or meeting up with a friend, reading, or meditating to ease times of stress.


Hungry for more?

Check out more nutrition tips and recipes from our expert staff, and learn about the nutrition counseling offered at our centers. Our Registered Dietitian Nutritionists are here to partner with you to grow stronger and healthier!

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