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Reward Yourself the Right Way:

Why Healthy Food Is The Best Treat

Article by Debbie Harris

Photography by Debbie Harris

Regarding weight loss, “rewarding yourself” can often lead to confusion and guilt. Traditional advice tends to steer us away from using food as a reward, suggesting we opt for non-food rewards like a spa day, shopping, or spending time with friends. While these are undoubtedly wonderful treats, they overlook one powerful truth: healthy food can also be a fantastic reward! Why Healthy Food is the Best Treat

I understand the whole idea of moving away from food as a reward. Rewards tend to be those we refer to as “trigger” foods. Those foods that, once we start eating, we seem incapable of stopping. For me, it’s nuts. I can eat my healthy handful of walnuts each day but put a bowl of cashews, almonds, and macadamia nuts in front of me and watch it disappear. Whatever your trigger food is, that is not a good choice as a reward. You can, however, reward yourself with a non-trigger, healthy food choice. Let’s explore that.

The Case for Healthy Food Rewards

The idea of rewarding yourself with food doesn’t have to mean indulging in unhealthy choices. Choosing nutritious foods as rewards can enhance your sense of well-being, boost your energy, and even reinforce your weight loss goals. It also increases your resolve that YOU control what you eat, not some mysterious power that food has over you. Feeling in control of one area of our lives tends to spill over to other places. You feel less overwhelmed and more motivated to accomplish all kinds of things. 

Let’s contrast two scenarios: eating a donut versus enjoying a bowl of delicious, perfectly seasoned broccoli.

Imagine the Immediate After Effects

After the Donut: While the sugar rush of a donut might feel good momentarily, it’s short-lived. Soon after, you might experience a crash in energy, feelings of guilt, and no real nutritional benefit. This can lead to a cycle of craving more sugary, high-calorie foods.

After the Broccoli: Now picture yourself choosing a bowl of steamed broccoli. Add your favorite spices to it. I make a big batch and then have it in the frig to snack on. Use it as a reward for showing how much in control you are. Savor each bite. It’s incredible how good vegetables and fruit taste when we remove all that sugar from our daily diet. This treat is packed with fiber and nutrients that support your body’s health and leave you feeling satisfied and energized without guilt. You feel ecstatic that you stayed in control and continued your weight release and health journey. Of course, it could be carrots, a big handful of blueberries, or half a cantaloupe. 

That feeling of having control, working towards our goal, and knowing we can succeed motivates us even more.

The Long-term Benefits of Choosing Healthy Treats

Rewarding yourself with healthy foods does more than avoid the pitfalls of empty calories; it actively contributes to your body’s well-being. Nutritious foods provide vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients that support bodily functions, improve mental clarity, and can even enhance your mood.

How to Implement Healthy Food Rewards

Identify What You Love: Make a list of healthy foods that you genuinely enjoy. Whether it’s a crisp apple, a handful of blueberries, steamed broccoli, a large raw carrot, or a colorful salad, find those foods that delight your taste buds.

Get Creative: Experiment with new recipes or ways of preparing your favorite healthy items to keep them exciting and rewarding.

Make It Special: Set the table, use a favorite dish, or add a garnish to make your healthy meal feel like a reward.

Choosing healthy food as a reward doesn’t just help you stay on track with your weight loss goals; it also respects and nurtures your body. Next time you want to celebrate an achievement or treat yourself, remember that the best rewards contribute to your lasting health and happiness. Treat your body like the temple it is, and let your rewards help build a stronger, healthier you.

DISCLAIMERS The Client understands that the role of the Maynestreet program is solely for weight loss, not to prescribe or assess specific meal plans; provide healthcare, medical, or nutrition therapy services; or diagnose, treat, or cure any disease, condition, or other physical or mental ailment of the human body.

The Client acknowledges that, if under the care of healthcare professionals, the Client should discuss any dietary changes with those professionals. If the Client currently uses prescription medications, the Client should not discontinue any prescription medications without first consulting the Client’s prescribing healthcare provider.

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