How to Play to Improve Your Nutrition

A platter of nutritious whole foods. Image: Pexels - Taryn Elliott

When it comes to healthy eating it’s not just about what we eat, it’s how we approach it. Diets, meal prep, and strict restrictions often make healthy eating feel like a punishment. It’s time to shift our perspective and embrace a more enjoyable approach — play. In this blog, we’ll explore how play can boost human improvement in the context of healthy eating. We’ll also break down four types of play, with actionable tips for each play.  

5 Reasons Why Play Can Improve Your Nutrition

1. Stress reduction

Remember how engaging in a beloved game or activity brings instant joy and relaxation? Such experiences alleviate stress. The same principle applies to healthy eating — make it fun, not stressful. By viewing nutrition as a playful adventure, you can reduce stress and improve your eating habits.

2. Increased awareness

Engaging in enjoyable activities naturally heightens our awareness of how we feel. Whether you’re engrossed in a good book or chasing a soccer ball, you become more attuned to your body. This awareness extends to your eating habits when you approach nutrition as a game. You’ll be more in tune with your hunger and fullness cues.

3. Sustainability

Diets often fail because they are restrictive and devoid of enjoyment. Shifting your mindset to view healthy eating as a game, where you gradually level up, can make it more sustainable. It transforms the chore of dieting into an engaging long-term journey.

4. Social connection

Sports and games unite people as teams, creating a sense of community and accountability. Sharing your nutrition journey with friends can be motivating and fun. Having buddies on the same mission makes it easier to stay on track and commit to your goals.

Two friends enjoying food together

5. Open to learning

Children learn best through play, and adults are no different. You can find enjoyment in learning about nutrition by visiting the grocery store, experimenting in the kitchen, or watching documentaries. Learning becomes a pleasurable experience when it’s not forced but approached with curiosity.

Four Types of Play

Now, let’s dive into the four types of play and their explanations, accompanied by examples:

1. Educational Play

Learning doesn’t have to be dull. By subscribing to a weekly nutrition blog or newsletter that genuinely interests you, you can make the learning process enjoyable. There are no tests or grades; instead, it’s about the joy of discovering new aspects of the food you eat.

How to play? Subscribe to a nutrition blog that focuses on healthy cooking techniques and unique recipes. Set aside time each week to read and learn about nutrition from different angles. As you experiment with new dishes and ingredients, you’ll find learning about nutrition to be an exciting journey.

2. Experiential Play

Think of food journaling as a journey through your culinary experiences. By documenting your daily meals and how you feel before and after eating, you become more attuned to your body and your eating habits.

How to play? Keep a food journal where you record your daily meals, snacks, and your emotions before and after eating. This helps you identify patterns and gain insights into your relationship with food. You’ll be able to spot areas for improvement and savor the positive moments in your culinary journey.

Well plated shrimp meal with fruits

3. Plating Food Play

This type of play involves arranging your meals in an appealing and balanced way. By visualizing your plate as a canvas, you aim to create a harmonious mix of colors, textures, and nutrients (fiber, protein, fats, and carbs). This approach turns portion control into an artistic and self-expressive act.

How to play? When preparing your meals, think of your plate as a canvas, and focus on creating an enticing and balanced presentation. Incorporate colorful fruits and vegetables, a source of protein, and healthy fats to ensure a well-rounded meal. By doing this, you’ll find that not only does your food look more appetizing, but it also encourages you to eat mindfully.

4. Challenge Play

Challenges and friendly competitions are effective ways to stay motivated. By partnering with friends or joining a group focused on a food-related challenge, you create accountability and support. These challenges can be centered around balanced nutrition, and setting rewards can add an extra layer of motivation.

How to play? Connect with a group of friends who are equally committed to improving their nutrition. Create a challenge where you all strive to include a balanced mixture of macronutrients (fiber, protein, carbs, and fats) in your daily meals. To make it even more engaging, set up rewards or incentives for reaching certain milestones. This collaborative effort not only keeps you accountable but also provides a sense of community and fun in your nutrition journey.

Last word: the key to better nutrition is not just what you eat but how you think of it. So, embrace the joy of learning, experimenting, and connecting with others as you play your way to improved nutrition. There’s no judgment here, only encouragement and support on your path to better nutrition through the principle of play.

I help busy entrepreneurs to achieve a healthy lifestyle, increase their energy, and feel more confident — with a proven dietary system that goes beyond calorie counting through lasting transformation that fits their entrepreneurial lifestyle. If you are an entrepreneur and interested in it, book a free strategy session with me here!

Preparing dashboard.