2. Figure out which food rules apply to you. Some people can eat whatever they want and never worry about weight gain or a bout of indigestion (two things that can definitely impact one’s happiness level), while others need to constantly watch. If onions get you every time, or that second cup of coffee puts you on instant caffeine overload, then do yourself a favor and come up with the food rules that allow you to function at your best.
Gretchen Rubin, author of "The Happiness Project," the best-selling memoir recounting her year of test-driving theories and studies on happiness, says when it comes to overeating (which a lot of us tend to do in response to stress or unhappiness), you can regain some control by figuring out if you work best as an abstainer or as a moderator. If you can’t be around a plate of cookies without eating seven, she says abstaining might be exactly what you need to bolster your resolve and leave you feeling in control. “But if the idea of never eating another cookie leaves you feeling panicky and running for the cupboard, then moderation may be the way to go for you,” says Rubin. Instituting a rule (no more than two cookies in a day), allows you to get your fix and eat with some control.
3. Get out of your chicken comfort zone. Eating the same thing for breakfast, lunch and dinner can be reassuring for some, but the predictability can also lead to boredom. Liven things up once in a while by trying a new recipe or a new food. The new foods needn’t be exotic. Nutritionist Elizabeth Somer, MA, RD, author of "Eat Your Way to Happiness," offers a few suggestions for thinking outside the every morning cereal box and starting off your day with a well-rounded meal:
• Try a new cereal and top it off with fresh peach slices, dried cranberries, and almonds or walnuts. Yum!
• Fill a corn tortilla with scrambled eggs and salsa. Serve with OJ.
• Mix equal parts peanut butter, toasted wheat germ and honey. Spread on 100 percent whole-grain bread. Serve with fresh fruit and milk.
4. Employ small rituals related to food. Sipping a morning cup of peach tea while sitting on your cozy sectional for five minutes can go a long way toward making your day happier. Same with using the fancy china and silverware once a week (even if it’s for pizza!), or preparing dinner while you sip wine and listen to your favorite music. According to Rubin, research shows that rituals — and often they involve food or drink — allow for a greater sense of satisfaction then getting a raise or that leather bag you’ve had your eye on.
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