A friend was talking about his favorite “bliss foods” the other day as we exercised at the gym. When I asked him what a bliss food was, he replied that it is a food that tastes soooo good it makes you want to keep eating it.
My mouth was watering as he described eating strawberry cheesecake. I looked up the word “bliss” in the dictionary; it means feelings of enjoyment, pleasure and satisfaction. So my friend was right, bliss foods do make us feel satisfied.
The problem with bliss foods is that often our favorite ones are loaded with fat and/or sugar, which is why we crave them and get pleasure from eating them.
So with Valentine’s Day chocolates just around the corner, what is one to do?
Here are a few suggestions for enjoying those bliss foods without craving or overeating them:
• Make sure you are eating balanced meals throughout the day. If you skip meals, it is easy to grab something “blissful” to satisfy that hunger.
• Look for deeper, unfulfilled emotional needs. Bliss foods can be connected to the feeling of being loved. Chocolate on Valentine’s Day is a classic example.
• Stress and anxiety also can head us straight for that “bliss food” binge. Try taking more time just for yourself. Sit and breathe deeply for a few minutes. You will be surprised how the stress will decrease and you can better control what you eat.
• Try to make some healthy foods your personal bliss foods. For example, if you love pineapple, but eat it only when you are in Hawaii (which for most of us, isn’t very often), why not start buying it and having it as a special blissful treat? There are so many incredible fruits available that surely one of them could become your favorite.
• Use exercise as a blissful experience in your day. It seems so much easier to eat healthy after exercising because you feel energized and in control.
• Bliss foods can be enjoyed in moderation in any healthy eating plan. Try savoring every bite of your special food. Try eating one piece of chocolate very slowly. Let it melt in your mouth so you can savor its flavor and texture. This can be more satisfying than gobbling down the whole box.
• Last, but not least ... try not to talk about bliss foods while you are working out at the gym.
Hadley is a registered dietitian at Sutter Gould Medical Foundation.