We must all eat to survive, but nourishing is different from eating. Nourishing involves eating foods that help us perform, feel and look our best, and help our children develop, both physically and mentally, to their full potential. Sometimes, what we think of as “eating” involves consuming foods that actually make us feel worse, put our emotions and energy level on a rollercoaster, and eventually make us sick. Since most of us in the United States are fortunate to have access to a wide range of plentiful foods, why not choose the foods that nourish us and help us be at our best? Here are five tips to help you nourish, and not just eat.

  1. Commit to nourishing. You have a choice in what you eat. Period. I hear all the time from busy people that it’s hard to make the healthy choice when a less healthy choice may be easier. First, start by committing to nourishing your body. Then make sure that your meal plan is built around nourishing your body and not just feeding it.
  2. Have a plan. If you fail to plan, plan to fail. (Thank you, Benjamin Franklin!) If you don’t have a plan, how will you be able to nourish yourself, control what you eat, properly stock your kitchen, or accomplish what you want to in life? Use our Smart Nutrition Cookbook & Meal Planner to help you plan your meals.
  3. Make time to prep. Most people cannot afford the luxury of having someone prepare their meals for them and frankly, signing up for services that include packaged meals is not sustainable long-term. Since you’ve committed to nourishing yourself, carve out time to prep your meals. Do it all at once, or in stages, but make it a priority. Chop up a bunch of veggies so you can cook them at a moment’s notice or have them ready for grab-and-go snacks. Prep and cook meats in bulk so you can easily add cooked protein to your meals.
  4. Focus on shopping the perimeter of the grocery store. Get familiar with the perimeter of your grocery store, where you will find most of the nourishing foods: fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy, eggs, fish, poultry and lean meats. Grains and legumes are the items you may find in a center aisle. Fill your grocery cart with these delicious, unprocessed foods and you will nourish yourself and your family. Most grocery stores do you a favor by placing these nourishing foods around the perimeter.
  5. Know which foods to focus on and which ones you should avoid. Pay attention to which foods help you get through the day. Focus on lean protein, slow carbs and healthy fats. You can find recipes that include these macronutrients on our website, chefmarshallobrien.com, and in our new cookbook.

Also learn which foods work against you, put you on a blood sugar roller coaster and leave you feeling tired and depleted. Read the ingredient lists on products you are considering and avoid those choices that have long lists of artificial ingredients, added sugars, hydrogenated fats and refined oils (soybean, corn, cottonseed and canola). If you’re not sure how to read nutrition labels or ingredient lists, our Smart Nutrition workbook can help you learn that.

Commit to nourishing your body—not just feeding it—by incorporating these tips into your daily life. You will love the way you feel!