Whether you’re trying to improve your own eating habits, support a friend who is struggling with an eating disorder or simply educate yourself, it helps to have an understanding of the different types of eating patterns. This includes the where, when and why you eat in addition to the what you eat. Knowing more about the various types of eating can help you stay committed to your healthy lifestyle journey.
A habitual eater eats regularly at the same times and in similar places on a regular basis. They may have a favorite restaurant they always go to and tend to order the same thing every time. This type of eater can benefit from planning ahead a little more, particularly if they’re going to be in a situation outside their normal eating routine, such as traveling or dining out at someone else’s home. Having meals planned for these situations can ensure they get the nutrients they need.
An omnivore eats both plants and animals. They’re also known as “opportunistic eaters” because they eat what’s available to them at any given time of the year. An omnivore can be a good eater, but it’s important to have balance in your diet. In particular, make sure to eat plenty of fruit, especially citrus fruits like oranges and grapefruits; a variety of berries; and fruit that grows on trees, including apricots, cherries, peaches and mangoes.
Some animals eat only plants, and they’re known as herbivores. Herbivores usually have large front teeth, called incisors, which are used to cut and chew plants. Herbivores also have molars, which are used to grind and crush plant parts. Some large herbivores, such as elephants and giraffes, have digestive tracts that are specially designed to handle the roughage they eat.
Emotional eating occurs when you eat out of emotion rather than hunger. This can be a harmful eating pattern, and it’s important to try to eat for health instead of emotional reasons. Emotional eaters can often end up overeating, particularly when they eat high-calorie foods.
A healthy diet consists of a variety of foods from each of the five food groups daily, in the recommended amounts. A balanced diet will also contain both plant and animal sources of protein. This will give your body all of the essential amino acids it needs to function. It’s also important to eat both low-calorie and higher-calorie vegetables and fruits. This will provide your body with the fiber, vitamins and minerals it needs. It’s a good idea to avoid processed foods, such as frozen and canned vegetables and sugary drinks, and focus on fresh, unprocessed options instead. This will also make it easier to maintain a healthy weight and reduce your risk of disease.