We get a lot of information every day from texts, emails, social media, news… the list goes on and on! With so much coming at us, it can be easy to forget to listen to the most important source of information – you! Your body can tell you many things about your health and your needs, if you remember to tune in. 

Feeling hungry soon after eating? Your meals might not be balanced. 

Some foods digest quickly, leaving you feeling hungry again before it’s time for your next meal or snack. Balancing your plate gives you the right combination of foods to make you feel satisfied and energized. Fill half your plate with vegetables and fruit, then put protein foods and whole grains on the other half. A balanced meal could be scrambled eggs with toast and fruit, a chicken or falafel wrap with salad or a shrimp and vegetable stir-fry with rice. The possibilities are endless! 

Feeling tired and light-headed? You might be dehydrated.   

Not getting enough fluids can zap your energy and even give you headaches. Water is the best way to quench your thirst and prevent dehydration. If you find it hard to remember to drink water, try carrying a reusable water bottle so it’s always available and in sight. Bored with plain water? Try sparkling water, or infuse your water with fruit, vegetables and herbs. Some winning flavour combinations are lime and watermelon, cucumber and mint or strawberry and basil. 

Having trouble sleeping? Check your caffeine intake. 

Too much caffeine can keep you awake and make you feel nervous or jittery. Think about the amount of coffee, tea, cola or energy drinks you consume in a day. Most adults should limit their caffeine intake to 400 mg per day – that’s the amount in about three 8oz cups of coffee. If you think you are getting too much, try replacing some caffeinated beverages with caffeine-free choices like water, sparkling water or herbal tea. Decaf coffee and tea are also good alternatives. 

Feeling stressed? Schedule regular meals and snacks. 

Stress can wreak havoc with your appetite. You may feel hungrier when you are under stress, or you might not feel like eating at all. Planning regular meals and snacks throughout the day can help. If you tend to overeat, then scheduling meals and snacks may help control cravings. If you are prone to undereating, keeping a schedule will remind you to nourish your body. Make it easier by stocking your kitchen with healthy, appealing and easy-to-eat foods that you enjoy. Try yogurt with fruit, whole grain toast with peanut butter, an apple with cheese or hummus with raw vegetables. 

Feeling rushed and distracted at meals? Try mindful eating. 

Healthy eating isn’t only about what you eat – it’s also about how you eat. Rushing through a meal with one eye on your phone can leave you feeling dissatisfied. Sometimes you barely realize that you ate at all! Use mindful eating to get more enjoyment and satisfaction from your meals. When your schedule allows, sit at a table, distance yourself from electronic devices and focus on your food. Eat slowly and savour every bite. Put foods with different colours and textures on your plate to stimulate your senses even more. 

Pay attention to your body and be sure to nourish it with good food, quality sleep, exercise and relaxation time to feel you best. 

Laurie Barker Jackman is a registered dietician with a passion for helping people understand the importance of healthy eating and how to adopt it into your lifestyle.