“The journey isn’t always perfect, but always worth taking.”
Kara Goucher, USA olympic marathoner
Recently, a friend said, “I want to start eating healthy. What should I eat?” With this simple statement and question, she cut right to the core of the challenge. Many of us want to eat healthy and have the motivation to do it but don’t know how. There is so much information available about nutrition on the internet, in the magazines we read, from our friends and family, and from professional sources like nutritionists, doctors, homeopaths, and so on. What to believe? Where do you start? There are great tidbits of information from all of these sources; however, they may not be right for you.
Keep in mind that everyone’s circumstances are different. Some people turn to nutrition to resolve digestive issues, while others want to improve their competitive edge in sports. Many people just want to feel good and want to eat healthy to increase their lifespan. Everyone also has different tastes. Some people like spicy foods; some prefer meats over vegetables; others like nuts and some have nut allergies. All of these different circumstances and preferences play into your eating habits and are things that you need to seriously consider when embarking on a successful strategy for “eating healthy.”
Eat simply. Buy local, fresh foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, meats, poultry and prepare them simply by grilling or baking rather than frying. Our bodies need to eat locally grown foods as they are attuned to what is naturally good for us in our local environment!
Make your own foods and drinks from scratch rather than buying packaged foods that contain high sodium and preservatives. Making your own burgers, rice dishes, or granola bars allows you to have control over what goes into your food. Make lemonade using water, fresh lemons, and a few drops of Stevia rather than consuming high sugar juices.
Mind your portions. Follow guidelines to determine the proper size of average portions. For example, using your hands, proteins should be about the size of your palm; added oils/fats – tip of thumb; carbohydrates – size of your clenched fist; snacks – handful; vegetables – what you can hold in both hands or unlimited depending on how they are prepared.
Understand what the labels mean. Read the ingredients on the labels of the foods you buy. The fewer the ingredients, the better. If there are any ingredients you can’t pronounce or don’t understand then leave the product on the shelf!
Plan your meals. Ideally, plan your meals for the week, or even a day ahead for those of us who dislike planning! Knowing what you will be cooking will allow you to have all the essential ingredients at home and will keep you from ordering takeout. Your stress level will also be lower when you get home from work knowing what’s for dinner!
Make extras to save time. Cook a little more so that you have leftovers for lunch the next day or enough for another meal. For example, prepare extra chicken that you can add to a salad or that you can use to make quesadillas on another day. Cook extra quinoa that you can use for a simple dessert or that you can have for breakfast.
Buy some convenience foods. If you are always short on time, then buy some convenience foods like packaged lettuce or green beans. Read labels to ensure preservatives are not added to these foods. As we suggested in another post, you can also pre-wash and store some foods ahead of time like lettuce, carrots and other veggies.
We would love to hear from you. Please share with us your helpful tips for eating healthy either by leaving a reply below or by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.