10 Simple Ways to Eat Better

Once upon a time, when you were a child, you thought about food differently than you do today.

When you were a child, you didn’t care about calories or carbs.

Organic and Grass Fed meant nothing to you.

You didn’t worry about eating 30 grams of protein within a 1/2 hour of waking up, or setting time limits like, no eating after 7:00 p.m.

You didn’t starve or binge.

You weren’t an emotional eater.

You didn’t know that there was “good” food and “bad” food.

When did things change and how can you get back to enjoying food? I’m not talking about eating less or more, but how can you eat better?

10 simple ways

  1. Eat with wonder. Be in awe over the flavor of a pear.
  2. Buy a farm share. Support a local farm and remember the meaning of fresh.
  3. Eat Colors not Calories. There is so much goodness in every piece of fruit and veggie you eat.
  4. Cook with 5 ingredients or less. Your recipe doesn’t have to be a mile long to taste good.
  5. Grow your own tiny garden. Keep it simple and grow what you love.
  6. Don’t clean your plate. Stop eating when you are full.
  7. Don’t eat in your car or at your desk.
  8. Set up a no thinking cooking routine.
  9. Linger over your meals.
  10. Eat when you are hungry.

We all have a unique relationship with food. Some of us have been gaining and losing the same twenty pounds for twenty years. Some fear what they eat will eventually kill them. Others have been eating out of anger, frustration or sadness for so long, that they don’t remember how to eat to nourish their bodies, or how to enjoy a meal.

Regardless of where you are today with food and weight, find a childhood food memory that reminds you what it’s like to enjoy food. It might be a strawberry you picked with your mom and ate right off the plant, without even washing it! (gasp) Maybe you licked the bowl after your mom made a cake from scratch, and you didn’t die from the raw eggs in the batter.

Sometimes, analyzing every bite becomes exhausting. Get simple with your food. Let joy jump start new habits. Make healthy choices but don’t forget to indulge in some childhood favorites or new creations.



  1. says

    Funny, one I remember distinctly is fighting with my brothers over who was going to lick the bowl after mom baked a cake!
    I love this list. I try to eat colors, and enjoy going to the farmers market and choosing lots of brightly colored fruits and veggies.
    I also enjoyed Minimalist Woman’s post on a No thinking cooking routine. Thanks for sharing!
    Being productive in stressful times

    • Julie says

      Wow i have sooo many good food memories. My dad always,and at 92 still plants a vegi garden. My sisters and I had a 8ft by 8ft playhouse with a real door and cupboards. We couldnt wait to go out to see what vegies were ready to mix up in our little pots and pans,with water and sometimes salt,to eat at our little table. Little tiny baby carrots and onions barely ready to just thin out. Also Mom canned everything and made homemade bread and jellys. In the fall coming home from school and smelling fresh baked bread and then spreading it with the jelly was heavenly.

  2. says

    What a glorious picture. I am definitely craving fresh fruit now.

    I grew up spending a lot of time at my grandma’s. She had a garden. I have many fond memories of food from her garden. Raspberries, rhubarb, carrots — everything tasted better from grandma’s garden. I also made my first jam/jelly from the current bush in her garden.

    Thank you for the beautiful trip down memory lane with someone I love so much. I needed that today.

  3. Christa says

    I immediately remembered eating plums on the front porch, as a kid, because they were so messy and watching rolly pollys crawl around on the sidewalk, while all the juice dripped down my face. lol Thank you for this, exactly what I needed today.

    • Courtney Carver says

      Christa, Thanks! I almost forgot about being messy. That is one of the best parts of foods. When juice is dripping down your face, you know you are truly engaged in the present moment.

  4. says

    I love this post, Courtney, and thanks for the shout out.

    One of my favorite food memories is going apple picking as a kid. We only went a few times when I was growing up, but I just loved eating all the apples I could, straight from the tree, and loading up bags to bring home to make applesauce.

    • Courtney Carver says

      Lisa, I grew up in New England and went apple picking every fall. That was awesome, and then to top that off with a fresh apple pie..wow!

      • Caragh says

        I grew up in New England too, and have wonderful memories of apple picking! The smell of fresh apples is still one of my favorite scents. Definitely a simple pleasure that made lasting memories.

  5. says

    Thank you for the link, Courtney, that was a pleasant surprise :) And thank you also for the suggestion to think back to pleasant childhood food memories….

    There are so many!!! I, too, remember licking the batter bowl and the beaters, never worrying about raw eggs, eating strawberries and blackberries right off the plant, tomatoes and peppers, too. In the winter everybody baked and I would just float on the aromas throughout the house. There are a thousand memories, and life was so different then!

  6. says

    Lovely post of which I am unable to take advantage. I can’t swallow so eat through a stomach tube. However, in the past 3 years, I have expanded my liquid diet to include coffee, V-8 Fruit/Vegetable drink, cocoa, various olfactory delightful flavorings, etc. I do have a juicer which is waiting for spring and farmers’ markets. Variety is the spice of life – no matter how you ingest it :).

    • Courtney Carver says

      Roberta, It sounds like you are doing a great job at making the best of a less than desirable situation. Spring is right around the corner so get that juicer ready. I’d love to exchange green juice recipes!

    • Karen says

      Roberta, your delight in variety and continued interest in exploring new possibilities enable you to manage a difficult situation. God bless you!

      Now that you mention it, I remember sharing beaters and batter bowl with my brother and sister. I also remember strawberries and cantaloupe fresh from my grandmother’s garden — yum. When my own kids were little, we used to visit an apple-growing area in the Sierra foothills about an hour from our house. The scent of an apple barn is one of my favorites, and apples straight from the tree, or cider fresh-pressed, are such treats! But we haven’t visited for several years.

      Why do we deny ourselves pleasure from food? I’ve always struggled with weight issues; so do my siblings, my mother, my grandmother, my aunts, etc. For the last 20 years all I’ve done is count calories and carbs and eat fake (“lo-fat” or “lo-cal” or “artificially sweetened”) food. I’m still overweight, and it’s not as if I even enjoy food anymore.

      Courtney, thank you for your “10 Simple Ways.” I’m inspired to eat simply, eat real, and eat foods I will truly savor.

  7. says

    Great reference to childhood wisdom. I recently reflected on children’s literature for Margie Clayman, and see sooo many parallels. (Think of the magic, somewhat musty smell of your elementary school library!)

    I love your list (especially colors over calorie). I feel like there is a kind of “intuitive eating” that we lose as we near adolescence.

    I’d also add the importance of traveling. Watching the way other cultures eat has made we quite aware of my habits, and prejudices. Many locals here in Brazil eat a lot, but stay thin by walking to and from public transport. “They go local” to survive (having no idea what a carbon footprint is). They call minimalism “resourceful poverty.” They also have bad habits (a Sunday brunch is an all day affair, and no one leaves a speck of rick on a plate)>

    Keep ’em coming, Courtney!

  8. Mark Tuttle says

    I have searched and searched but have never found a potato that had as much flavor as the ones that my grandfather and I would pull from the ground behind his woodshed in Sweden when I was growing up.
    Food was different when looked through a childs eye.
    The same Woodhsed had Lingonberry bushes growing by its side with a plum and pear tree out front. And in typical early 1970’s Swedish fashion, a fish truck would come to the house with about 15 varieties of fish on ice to choose from.
    I am willing to bet none of these fish were raised in farms or had been fed colored pellets to make them grown twice the size and change the color of their flesh.

    • Courtney Carver says

      I think it is so cool when my husband comments on my blog. Sounds like we need to plan a trip to Sweden soon! xoxo

  9. says

    Oh what a delicious post! We gratefully take advantage of year round farmers markets and fruit stands where we live and are finding as we simplify our lives and shop less we’ve had a correlating simplificationof diet and are just satisfied with less. Thanks too for the childhood memories; so true!

    • Courtney Carver says

      Gena, I forgot that year round farmers markets were another great benefit of living somewhere warm and tropical.

  10. says

    There was so many things I loved as a child; candy especially lol. But one thing that comes to mind that was my absolute favorite was fresh mango’s!! My family is from the island of Jamaica so whenever I visited there I had all the mango’s I could eat :).

    Great post Courtney! Thank you for reminding us how enjoyable food can be!

    • Courtney Carver says

      oooooh Jamaica! I was there once in 1985 or 1986. I remember beautiful beaches and churches.

  11. says

    As someone who is just starting to find my way around the kitchen and cook for myself and my wife, the idea of cooking with less than 5 ingredients is so important. Just because the ingredient list is a mile long doesnt mean it is that much better than a perfectly cooked piece of meat/fish/whatever.

    Thanks for the tips, very important things to remember.

  12. says

    Thanks for the prompting to think about food in this way. The foods I love best are simple. My great-grandma’s Slav spaghetti is a favorite–and now my children’s favorite. It just has tomato sauce, bacon, celery, onion, beef and some spices. Too many fond memories to recount, as it was a staple of all holiday dinners.

  13. says

    Hi Courtney,

    My relationship with food has had a complete overhaul in the last couple of years. It was a forced change though as I was diagnosed with coeliac disease.

    For those who don’t know it is an autoimmune condition where the body does not process gluten properly and the result is that eating gluten activates antibodies that attack the stomach lining. There is no cure, at this stage, so the only treatment is to completely remove gluten from the food we consume. This is an incredibly difficult thing to do.

    There is gluten in so many foods- essentially anything made from wheat, rye, barley and oats. It is also hidden away in so many foods that we wouldn’t even think it might be in- for example just recently I realised gluten is found in apple sauce, mayonnaise, a lot of icecream flavours, even some brands of iced tea.

    So as you could imagine it has taken me a while to come to grips with having to change the way I eat and the way I cook. I have had moments where frustration has really got the better of me.

    Like one time when I walked in and out of about 4 different cafes while on a day trip out with the family. None of the places had even one item of food that they could offer me. Or when I eat out at a restaurant for someone’s birthday, and there is nothing on the menu that is gluten free. Or when someone invites me over for dinner and I have to go through the list of foods that they are cooking with to see if I can eat the meal. No wonder no one invites me over any more.

    I have to remember to keep things in perspective. I consider myself to be a very lucky person. At least I was able to eat a great variety of food before diagnosis. And at least I know the problem now, so I can work towards a healthier future and reduce the risks of chronic illnesses related to coeliac disease.