“Foodie” is a term often used for people who are obsessed with their food, seeking out new food experiences almost as a hobby. Whether creating their own delectable culinary dishes or scouting out the best restaurants and chefs, modern foodies also like to take pictures of their meals and post them on social media —eliciting eye-rolling responses from many of their friends (and mouth-watering from others).
Our understanding of the term “foodie” might not seem like something that would go hand-in-hand with a lifestyle of healthy eating, counting calories, and avoiding excess fats and carbohydrates. After all, taste is the focus of a good foodie experience, right?
Believe it or not, being a foodie and being nutritionally conscious don’t have to be mutually exclusive. In fact, a recent International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation survey shows that the emerging foodie is actually rather health conscious. If you consider yourself a foodie, here are a few tips for enjoying the sensory experience of your meals while staying on track with your eating plan and fitness gym workouts.
1. Cook at home to avoid artificial ingredients and processed foods.
If you’re a foodie who loves to cook, you’re in luck – it’s the easiest way to keep track of what’s already in —and goes into —your food. Today’s health-conscious foodie tries to keep things as natural as possible. This doesn’t mean sacrificing taste, although it may mean swapping out dressings, sauces, and marinades for healthier versions with fewer, fresher ingredients.
2. Know what’s “healthy.”
There are many conflicting ideas about what healthy eating looks like. To be honest, it’s a little different for everyone because each of us has unique genetics and metabolic rates, activity levels, and nutritional needs. The best way to sort through what’s healthy for you is to read, read, read (from reputable sources) and ask the advice of a nutritionist. Once you know what’s healthy, it’s a lot easier to know what you should and shouldn’t include in your culinary experiences.
3. Experiment with trying new healthy ingredients when you cook or eat out.
If you’re forced to cut a key ingredient from one of your favorite recipes, it’s easy to think it will never taste the same without it. Research and experimentation can help you find a similar, if not better, substitute that adds more nutritional value to your dish. There are countless herbs, spices, healthy oils, vegetables, and fruits that can add a surprising wealth of flavor to your cooking, and the process of discovery can be fun!
4. Keep eating out to a minimum, and seek out healthier options.
That buttery pasta dish or rich dessert might be tempting to you as a foodie, but keep in mind that healthier dishes prepared by an experienced chef can be just as tasty. Use your new knowledge of what healthy means to look for better options on the menu, and seek out restaurants and eateries near you that focus on using all-natural, fresh ingredients.
5. Enjoy a taste, but don’t feast.
Wine enthusiasts sip and swirl their drink, enjoying the subtlety of the flavors and tones. Practice this concept with your meals, and you can still enjoy sumptuous flavors and culinary experiences without undoing your hard work at the fitness center. After all, it’s the first few bites of a dish that are the most memorable and enjoyable.
When you’re eating out, beware of ridiculously large portions. We tend to eat what’s in front of us, and the stomach’s ‘full’ mechanism isn’t always in sync with the calorie count we’re shooting for. An easy way to practice self-control is to immediately split the meal up into two or three portions (yes, it’s okay to take a picture for Instagram first).
It’s possible to be a foodie who is aware of nutrition and healthy eating habits. If you’re someone who enjoys your food more than you’d like to admit, try these tips for keeping on track with your healthy lifestyle goals while indulging in new food experiences.