To Count or Not to Count? Calories that is.
By: Lisa Wright Burbach
I really love the combination of Mindful Eating and Traffic Light eating. The two together help us move into being aware of the foods we eat and why we are eating, help us slow down, feel our hunger cues, and choose more wisely. With this style of eating, we don’t always need to count calories, but it does take learning to listen to our bodies and make a wise choice.
“Mindfulness is the capacity to bring full attention and awareness to one’s experience, in the moment, without judgment. Mindful Eating brings mindfulness to food choice and the experience of eating. Mindful Eating helps us become aware of our thoughts, feelings, and physical sensations related to eating, reconnecting us with our innate inner wisdom about hunger and satiety.” – Center for Mindful Eating
Eating healthy doesn’t have to mean counting calories, monitoring fat content, or analyzing every detail of the nutrition facts. While that information is undoubtedly important, it can become overwhelming when trying to make healthy choices for you and your family. However, choosing healthy foods doesn’t have to be complicated!
Traffic Light Eating makes eating healthy simple to understand, even for kids. Just like when you are driving a car, a traffic light tells you what to do:
Green means “go”, Yellow tells us to “slowdown”, and Red means “stop and think”
Green Light Foods
Green Light foods are “go” foods, meaning eat as much as you want. These include all fresh fruits and vegetables. Emphasis on fresh – these foods are grown, not manufactured. Packaged gummy fruit snacks are not Green Light foods!
The numbers: These foods are low in calories and high in nutrients. In other words, Green Light foods are nutrient-dense.
Yellow Light Foods
Yellow Light foods are “slow down” foods. While foods that fit in this category are okay to eat every day and are essential to your health, they should be eaten in moderation. Too much of a good thing really is no good! Examples of Yellow Light foods include whole wheat pasta, eggs, salmon, nuts and seeds, rice, whole grain bread, and yogurt.
The numbers: These foods have more calories than Green Light foods and usually have more fat or sugar as well.
Red Light Foods
Red Light foods are “stop” and think foods. Since these foods are low in nutrients, high in sugar and contain artificial sweeteners and ingredients, you should try and find a healthier option, or eat a smaller portion. Examples of Red Light foods include cookies, candy, fatty meats, sugary drinks, bacon, and other processed meats and frozen yogurt.
The numbers: These foods are lower in nutrients and higher in calories, fat and sugar. These are also known as “Treats” if you find you just can’t live without them.
Sometimes we find that counting calories helps us. There are a few times it may be especially helpful:
1. Times of Weight loss and portion control
2. Trying to gain weight
3. Tracking your Micronutrients
Whatever you choose, it’s essential to know yourself and know what works for you. Listen to your body and your own wisdom. Reach out for help if you’re stuck!
What tools do you use to help you stay on track with your health? Share with us in the comments.
Lisa received her Health Coach Certification from the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute, founded by world-renowned physician and author, Dr. William Sears. The Institute is a leader in science-based health and wellness education that focuses on the four pillars of health; Lifestyle, Exercise, Attitude and Nutrition (L.E.A.N.). A certification by the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute is obtained only after completing the extensive course work and meeting all requirements. Once certified, a Health Coach possesses the knowledge, tools and resources to make a positive difference in the health of others.
The information in this blog is educational and not meant to diagnose, treat, or mitigate symptoms.
Van and Lisa are also Independent Shaklee Distributors helping people live younger longer.