Boston University Sargent Choice Nutrition Center

Thoughtful Eating

Chances are, you spend more time deciding what to put on your body than into it.

When you shop for a new pair of jeans, for example, how many factors do you consider? Price, style, color, fit. Your budget. Your wardrobe needs. How the jeans look on you. Although it’s a complex decision-making process, you’ve practiced it so often that you hardly notice all the criteria you consider. But how much thought did you give to the last snack you ate?

What we call “thoughtful eating” involves the same kinds of decisions. To enjoy (and we do mean enjoy!) a lifelong habit of eating well, the first step is to get off automatic pilot and pay attention. Ask yourself these questions when choosing something to eat:

Do I really like it? You wouldn’t buy a pair of jeans just because your friend likes them. How often do you eat something you don’t really enjoy, just because it’s offered to you?

Do I really need it? Maybe you a need warm sweater more than new jeans right now. You have nutrition priorities, too. Certain foods are essential for you to feel good and do well in class, at work and at play. (Don’t worry—you won’t have to give up foods you like to do this.)

Is it in my budget? You know you can’t afford to buy everything you’d like at the mall, even though someone else might. You have a unique food budget, too, based on your gender, age, height, weight and physical activity level.

This section of our website will give you the knowledge and tools you need to make smart decisions about what, when and how much to eat. Learn how to choose meals and snacks that keep you satisfied longer. And take the guilt out of special treats you eat purely for pleasure.

Just like shopping, thoughtful eating can become second nature. Whether you’re in a dining hall, a restaurant, a convenience store or at home, you’ll feel confident that your food choices are right for you.