For some people, “safe foods,” might be foods that feel “good” or “healthy.” They may be consumed in a repetitive way, day in and day out, without deviation. Safe foods vary by person but typically they feel safe for the person to consume – there is usually very little escalation of anxiety. Safe foods can be foods a person can trust and rely on or foods someone can tolerate, safely without side effects – and some may need these safe foods for various reasons. For this post, we are not referring foods needed to be consumed for medical reasons (and therefore safe to the body/gastrointestinal tract). We are highlighting the repeated decision to choose foods that are perceived as “better” than others. This often can keep someone stuck.
Examples of safe foods may be fruit, yogurt, vegetables, and/or chicken breast. Conversely, fear foods are foods that feel “scary” to eat. A person may view these foods as “unhealthy,” “gross,” “oily” or “too high in sugar.”
If you only choose the same safe foods again and again, the eating disorder can hide and stay very much alive.
It’s important to expand beyond safe foods to see that all foods can fit, and that nothing terrible happens when you go outside of your comfort zone.