Have you ever reflected on your own healthy eating habits or patterns and wondered how you developed them? Were they influenced by nature or nurture? Here are some of my eating patterns!
When I see people eating big vegetable scrambles for breakfast I get a little queasy.
That’s just not what I would wake up craving.
But I would devour the exact same scramble for lunch no problem!
I have often wondered what creates our eating habits.
Is it nature or nurture? Are we born with certain preferences based on our own genetics or metabolism or do our cultural norms hold most of the influence on our preferences?
Obviously the foods that are traditional and/or available in different parts of the world will shape what you choose to eat for each meal as well. So I imagine it’s more nurture than nature!
My body seems to know what time it is because my cravings turn on and off as the clock strikes each hour.
If I put a bowl of spaghetti on your nightstand and woke you up at 5am, would you find that appealing? Probably not! You’d say “Um I’m sleeping, maybe later, but I’ll take some coffee or tea please.”
But at 6pm when it’s dinnertime, spaghetti sounds amazing!
I want to be very clear that these are not rules.
I like to joke that I participate in intermittent fasting – I stop eating at bedtime, fast all night, and break the fast when I wake!
But in all seriousness, I don’t believe you should look at a clock or use an external cue to determine what or when you should eat. And there are definitely days when my body craves the opposite of what it normally would (like breakfast for dinner!)
Intuitive eating encourages you to follow your hunger and cravings to eat what feels right and natural in the moment. And that’s exactly what I’m doing! (Check out Anne’s post about being Meal Hungry or Snack Hungry.)
I’ve simply noticed a pattern and find my eating habits interesting to observe. Here’s what they are:
My Healthy Eating Habits + Craving Patterns
I like to have my coffee before breakfast, not with. And then after I eat, I’m not really interested in coffee anymore!
It doesn’t feel like breakfast without fruit! If I am somewhere when I can only have toast or only have eggs I feel like my meal wasn’t complete. Just a small serving of fruit leaves me satisfied.
Vegetables in smoothies or on the weekends in omelets. That’s about all I can stomach!
I like dairy or eggs for my morning protein. I’m not wild about breakfast meats.
I am rarely hungry for a snack in the morning no matter how big or small my breakfast was.
If I do have a smaller breakfast, I eat an early lunch.
Lunch can have either a fruit or vegetable involved but without one or the other it doesn’t feel complete.
Lunches feel most complete with a big salad. If I have a sandwich (even one packed with vegetables) it doesn’t feel as satisfying or leave me as full.
I need to have carbohydrates at lunch in the form of bread/crackers/starches or I’ll be hungry all afternoon!
I always crave one small palate cleansing bite of sweet after lunch, whether that’s dark chocolate or something fruity. If you offered me a “big” dessert I probably would say “no thanks” with ease.
If lunch ticks the boxes, I rarely get hungry until 5pm.
If lunch was light I’m usually hungry around 3:30 and like snacks that come in ‘handful’ form. Too much more and I’ll squash my appetite for dinner!
I am always in the mood for wine at 5:00. My urge for a glass is like a bell curve that starts at 4:30 and ends at 6. If I am busy or otherwise don’t have a drink during those times, I couldn’t care less about having one. I rarely want to drink anything after I’ve had my last bite of dinner!
Opposite to breakfast, dinner without a vegetable doesn’t feel like dinner! And opposite to lunch, I don’t crave fruit at dinner at all (unless it’s on a salad or cooked, like grilled pineapple!)
I like to have dessert right after dinner. If I wait more than an hour, I don’t really want it anymore because it’s too close to bedtime for me to want to eat.