They say we are what we eat. If we were to decode this short but insightful sentence, it would probably sound more like – we are what, when, where, how and with whom we eat.
According to experts in the fields of Psychology and Nutrition, our day-to-day eating habits have more to do with happiness and well-being than we think.
In this article, we’re going to be looking at the whens, whats, wheres, and hows of eating and how cultivating healthy eating habits can improve our happiness and well-being.
Habit #1: Start strong with a nutritious breakfast.
Image source: healthyfitguide.com/top-5-healthy-breakfast-choices
“If you win the morning, you win the day.” – Tim Ferris
What better way to start our day than with a healthy and nutritious breakfast?
We know for a fact that getting that first meal of the day right, can boost our happiness and productivity. Just take a look at what some of the most successful and productive people in the world are eating for breakfast:
- Tony Robbins (author, motivational speaker) – salad and fish.
- Richard Branson (businessmen and investor) – muesli and fruit salad.
- Bill Clinton (politician, former President of US) – almond milk smoothie with fresh berries.
- Oprah Winfrey (talk show host, producer) – oatmeal, walnuts, and fresh blueberries.
And the list goes on.
Aside from a healthy breakfast, there are plenty of other habits you can include in your morning ritual.
Timothy Ferris’s newly released book Tools of Titans, can teach you anything and everything about productive morning routines. The ‘Healthy’ chapter (this is the name of the chapter) of the book is packed with useful information on how to start your day on a positive note. For instance, you can add a short exercise routine before breakfast and a brief session of meditation afterward.
Habit #2: Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.
Image source: adrenalfatiguesolution.com/adrenal-fatigue-diet
Eating fruits and vegetables is another well-known diet hack. Everyone, from doctors and nutritionists to athletes and health ‘junkies,’ is urging us to consume as many and diverse fruits and vegetables as possible.
Even a group of researchers who’ve studied the benefits of fruits and vegetables concluded that:
“A high intake of fruit and vegetables is associated with reduced risk of chronic disease,”
But what does this have to do with happiness and well-being?
Well, according to a study that investigated the relationship between happiness and the consumption of fruits and vegetables:
“[…] well-being improvements from increased consumption of fruit and vegetables are closer to immediate.”
Moreover, the authors of this study concluded that the level of happiness and well-being we achieve by eating more fruits and vegetables is equal to the one we experience when we move from unemployment to employment.
To emphasize the importance of eating fruits and vegetables, even more, let’s go back to Habit #1 and take a closer look at what successful people are usually eating for breakfast. You’ll notice that fruits and vegetables are constant in their daily meals.
Habit #3: Lunch breaks are for eating only.
In today’s fast-paced society, we often sacrifice our lunch breaks for the sake of productivity. Most of us tend to fill our lunch breaks with small tasks such as, answering emails or adding the final touches to that project that is due tomorrow.
A study published in British Journal of Nutrition revealed some interesting facts about our everyday eating habits.
Not only that,
“Eating while doing another activity was negatively associated with QOL (quality of life) scores in men and with productivity in women.”
“Fast-food meals were associated with decreased productivity in men.”
The two valuable conclusions that we can draw from this study are:
- Our lunch breaks should be dedicated entirely to eating.
- If we want to be more productive, we should cut down on fast food.
Habit #4: Have a home cooked meal every once in a while.
To demonstrate the benefits of eating at home, surrounded by friends and relatives (if possible), we’re going to be looking at a study conducted by four researchers from New Zeeland. The goal was to see if there’s a link between cooking, mental well-being and family relationships.
Here’s what they concluded after surveying 8,500 students:
“Learning to cook and having the opportunity to cook may provide a unique means for adolescents to develop life skills and contribute positively to their families.”
It appears that the simple act of cooking a meal can help us develop skills and also strengthen our bonds with our families and friends.
Moreover, after studying the benefits of shared meals on adolescents, a group of researchers launched the following conclusion:
“Nutrition professionals should encourage families of adolescents to share meals often and establish the tradition of eating together.”
Cooking at home is about creating a warm atmosphere where people can interact, talk, share ideas, and enjoy each other’s company. In other words, don’t get stressed over the fact that your recipe isn’t as appetizing as it looks in the pictures.
To sum up:
- Win the day with a nutritious breakfast.
- Eat fruits and vegetables on a daily basis.
- Lunch breaks are for eating. Period.
- Invite your friends and family over for a home-cooked meal.