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More than food: How you eat is important too


A toddler boy looks at a cherry he is eating at a picnic table while his mom looks at him.
How does food bring you joy?

If someone were to ask you what brings you joy, what would you say? For me, it’s simple: food.

There are so many memorable food experiences that come to mind when I think about the joy of eating. Things like:

  • An impromptu coffee date with a great friend and catching up on each other’s lives, laughing together over a steaming hot beverage and digging into a shared dessert with forks in hand.
  • Harvesting fresh aromatic basil and bright red succulent cherry tomatoes from my patio garden. Then using the ingredients to create a flavorful pasta sauce that just needs a sprinkle of grated parmesan. Voila – dinner is served! (This recipe is five ingredients and takes less than 10 minutes to prepare; so easy and so delicious!).
  • Tasting something new for the very first time and loving it … or not. It can be fun to try new foods.
  • Sitting down to a holiday meal with friends or family – sharing offerings of the season and finishing with a soul as satisfied as my belly.
  • Sitting down at the table to a solo meal after a long and exhausting day at work. Relishing a few moments of solitude and the opportunity to savor every bite of a quick meal. It might be a salad with whatever was in the fridge or “breakfast for dinner” with over-easy eggs and buttered toast to mop up the thick golden yolks.

What is joyful eating?

Ellyn Satter, a dietitian and food guru, says, “Enjoying your food, taking an interest in it and eating what you like are more important than what you eat on any one day.” According to Ellyn, “When the joy goes out of eating, nutrition suffers.”

It’s not always easy to feel the joy of eating. Some of us have had challenging relationships with food, and have heard conflicting advice about how to eat. We might want to feel good about food and eating, but don’t always know where to begin.

How do we feel satisfaction or joy when it comes to food and eating?

Consider exploring:

  • How you think and feel about food
  • How you organize yourself around food
  • Where there may be opportunity to give yourself permission to truly explore and enjoy food

The Ellyn Satter Institute has more information.

Join us to celebrate Nutrition Month

During March 2020, join Northern Health’s dietitians as we celebrate the joyful and deeply personal aspects of food. Follow along on your favourite social media platform as we share stories, tips, and recipes to inspire you on a journey towards the discovery of joy in food and eating.

Enter the Joy of Food Contest

During Nutrition Month, show us how food brings you joy and be entered to win a special gift basket, brimming with locally sourced products!

This might look like:

  • Finding comfort in a traditional family recipe
  • Tantalizing your taste buds with a new food or cuisine
  • Sharing a simple but tasty meal or sit-down snack with others
  • The experiences related to growing, harvesting, or cooking your favourite foods

Whatever it may be, we recognize food is one of life’s greatest pleasures and eating can be deeply personal.

To enter:

Check out the official rules for complete details!