Healthy Eating Simplified
Ask anyone if they would like to eat healthy food every day, and they will probably say yes. Ask them what they think healthy food is and they’ll probably tell you about the latest fad diet. Goodness knows there have been plenty of interesting diets in the media in the last couple decades, but most people who try them don’t enjoy eating a restrictive diet, such as low-carb, for very long.
A better approach to healthy eating takes a more holistic approach. Rather than focusing on one thing, such as protein or fat, see the big food picture. Eat a wide variety of whole grains, whole produce (you can quit peeling your carrots now), low-fat dairy, and lean meats. Whether you love to cook or not, preparing inexpensive, wholesome meals isn’t a difficult thing to do once you’ve had a bit of practice.
There are several ways you can adapt your eating style to be holistic. You might already be doing some things right, like only eating when you’re hungry, and choosing nutritious snacks. For a few quick ideas to get you eating the right way, read on.
Everything in Moderation
There’s no doubt it’s possible to get too much of a good thing. Take calcium, for example. Your body needs a certain amount of it every day, but if you consume too much you can suffer from muscle pain and mood disorders, among other things. The same is true with vitamins and other minerals that are stored by the body. So, instead of loading up on food that contains a particular nutrient, eat a modest amount of a variety of foods.
Meat Isn’t the Only Source of Protein
Many people think of meat first when they think of protein. However, there are many outstanding sources of this necessary nutrient, and some of them are better for you, the planet, and your budget. Peanut butter, eggs, dairy products, whole grains, and legumes such as beans are all excellent sources. Some foods, such as bread, need to be consumed with other foods, such as peanut butter and milk, in order to be a complete protein that can be utilized by your body. Which just proves that PB&J sandwiches were meant to be washed down with an icy-cold glass of milk.
Fish is another great protein-packed food, but it isn’t always a cheaper alternative than red meat and chicken. Some fish, such as tuna and swordfish, can be bad for you because of the possibility that the flesh harbors heavy metals. Other fish may be suspicious if it was farmed, especially if it came from a different country. If you are careful to source your fish from local waters, and choose smaller fish such as salmon or cod, it can be part of a healthy diet.
Fear Not the Fats
Fat has a mixed reputation. The experts seem to change their minds about whether or not it is good for your body as often as some people change their hair color. What it boils down to is there are different kinds of fats, some of which are good for you, and others of which are bad. The key is knowing which is which. The three types of fats that are most commonly discussed are saturated (bad), monounsaturated (good), and polyunsaturated (also good). The easiest way to tell which is which at a glance is that most saturated fats are solid at room temperature.
Fats to avoid include:
Hydrogenated oils found in margarine
Fats to enjoy in moderation include:
Nuts and seeds
Love Your Veggies
Vegetables are a very important part of a healthy diet, and by eating a wide variety of them you can feed your body the vitamins, fiber, and other nutrients that it needs. Some people prefer fresh, canned or frozen veggies, but all of them are good for you. When choosing fresh produce, be sure that it was ripe at the time of harvest, not picked and shipped green, for maximum food value.
Raw vegetables as a snack between meals can be very satisfying. Grab a carrot for crunch, a red bell pepper for sweetness, or cherry tomatoes for a burst of flavor. When dipped in healthy dressing, you’ll get a wallop of flavor too.
Eating a healthful diet can be as simple as you want it to be. Just remember to eat a wide variety of foods, don’t overdo any one category, and keep the bad stuff off your plate. By putting these simple tips into action you can start eating the healthy way now.
Make sure you check out my weight loss planner, fitness journal and water guide and my menu planner to help you on your healthy eating journey!