salad-374173_640There is so much contradicting dietary advice out there, it can be hard to navigate what is true and what isn’t. Eat breakfast. Don’t eat breakfast. Ditch carbs. Become vegan. Who’s right? The truth is, there are a few fundamental rules to having a healthy relationship with your food that you should heed — and none of them tell you what types of foods to eat. Here are 5 universal dietary rules you should follow.

Eat when you’re hungry. Logical enough, isn’t it? Yet, many people struggle to heed this one simple rule. We snack incessantly before the blue haze of the television; we stuff our faces with breakfast before we are even remotely awake enough to know what we are doing.

Stop eating when you are no longer hungry. Don’t pile your plate with an army’s worth of food and force feed yourself. You’ll just roll around in a state of uncomfortable fullness for the rest of the night. Eat slowly and enjoy it. If you don’t finish your meal, don’t panic — you’ll get to eat it again as leftovers tomorrow!

Not eating is okay sometimes. Intermittent fasting has been shown to provide health benefits, so being unable to grab a snack or meal may be a better choice than cruising through the drive-thru. But if you’re not a faster, you may be in the habit of eating meals at certain times, even if you’re not hungry.

Savor flavors. Try to challenge your palate with new flavors once in a while. By incorporating new, pungent flavors into your food, it may help you get out of the rut of perpetual blandness.

Enjoy yourself. Everything should be practiced in moderation — including moderation. Indulge in a decadent dessert once in a while. There’s no need to feel guilty about eating a whopping slice of cheesecake. As long as you enjoyed it and maintain a mindfulness about eating, you’ll be fine.

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