Guilt is not a food group

The media, well meaning mothers and our perfectionist culture have caused many of us to feel chronically guilty about our eating habits. Using guilt to inspire you to eat better may work for a little while, but it will also leave you feeling emotionally drained and fragile. Eventually you will make a less then optimal choice and guilt will be there to pinch you some place soft. These negative feelings are tiny holes in your happiness balloon. They are the Grinch stealing your everyday gifts and leaving you with sad, empty boxes. Feeling guilty about your food choices is a huge drain on your physical and emotional health and is no good for moody piñatas.

The only way to fight these dark forces is with fun and joy. It's been scientifically proven that you can't feel guilty when you're giggling (A rubber chicken in a lab coat wearing a clown nosed proved that). Here are five ways to eat healthier that focus on light and love instead of guilt and shame.

Smile and make significant eye contact with a farmer
There's a reason why Julia Robert’s character insisted on not kissing her clients in the classic rom-com “Pretty Woman.” Intimate contact like that makes it harder to forget people and keep things on a purely transactional level. Now I’m not suggesting you make out with everyone at the farmers market, but developing relationships with the people who nurture your grub is a powerful way to get connected to your food. If you’re not sure what to say to a particularly laconic farmer ask about his or her favorite recipe or try one of these wonderfully awful farm jokes. Lettuce have some fun!

A duck walks into a farmers market...

A duck walks into a farmers market...

Adopt some cute little orphans
Did you know that a ton of food is wasted because mean, judgmental grocery stores deem it not pretty enough for your plate? Think of all the crying onions, sad carrots and pouty pears who just want a loving home. Well now you can rescue these special little guys and give them the love and appreciation they deserve. If you've ever been rejected, left out or made to feel unimportant adopting rejected fruit is very cheap and nutritious therapy. Also you can make socks for the two legged carrots! Check out Imperfect Produce to learn more.

Photo courtesy of Imperfect Produce

Photo courtesy of Imperfect Produce

Draw a produce portrait
Did you know that there are two kinds of Vitamin C and you need both to be happy and healthy? The kind that comes inside of oranges is awesome and keeps you from getting scurvy. The kind that comes from drawing oranges is just as important. Vitamin Creativity makes life fun and reminds you that playing with your food isn't all bad. Actually drawing cute little pictures of your produce and posting them on your refrigerator is enjoyable and will help you remember to eat your models.

Write some banana-grams
Bananas are the Cracker Jacks of the fruit world and every one comes with a prize. A banana peel can be a game board, a love note, a daily affirmation, a blank canvas and so much more.Why not write a note of encouragement that your tired, 3 pm self can enjoy with their fruit snack? Or perhaps a sassy little love note for someone special? Or a riddle or joke for your goofy kiddo? A banana is potassium wrapped in unlimited potential. It's so a-peeling!

Play salad factory!
Making a few individual salads a head of time gives me a serious efficiency buzz that probably shouldn't be legal. Nothing feels better then coming from a long day, hungry and perhaps a bit cranky and finding a delicious, ready-to-go salad that my past self thoughtfully made for me. Knowing that I have a “love salad” sitting pretty in the fridge has kept me from countless burgers and burritos and probably added a few years onto my life.

What's your favorite way to make food fun?