You are what you eat. We have all heard this phrase over and over, but how many of us stop to consider what that really means? Are you eating healthy fresh foods? Are you a picture of glowing health and vitality? Or do you live on a diet of junk foods, deep fried chicken and fries, take outs, and pizza? In which case you probably don’t feel fantastic, and unless you are genetically blessed, you probably don’t look your best either.
Even more scarily if you don’t feel fantastic, how do you think your blood vessels and heart are coping? Are they nice and clean, or silting up with layers of fat provided from the take out, deep fried foods, and pizzas? Here are some easy tips for better healthy eating:
1. Consume moderate portions. “Size me up” has become a world wide phenomena. We all eat much more than our parents or grandparents did. The more you consume, the more activity you have to perform to burn it off. Consider these portion sizes and see how you stack up. 1 cup of pasta is considered 2 servings. 3 ounces of cooked meat is 1 serve. 1 medium sized piece of fruit is 1 serve.
2. Cut down, don’t totally ban. If there are unhealthy foods that you enjoy, just eat them less often and in smaller amounts. The moment you tell yourself that chocolate is off the menu forever is the moment you feel that you can’t maintain this new lifestyle. Banned foods become even more desirable.
3. Eat a variety of healthy foods. Your body requires many nutrients on a daily basis. These needs cannot not be meant by just one food group. Introduce eating foods from each of the food groups on a daily basis. This would mean consuming fresh fruit and vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy. Foods heavy in fats and sugar should be kept to a minimum.
4. Eat on a regular basis. Consuming 5-6 small meals per day is much better for your metabolism and blood sugar levels than 3 huge serves many hours apart. Skipping meals entirely is even worse. You will end up so hungry that you will eat vast quantities of the wrong foods.
5. Eat fruits, vegetables and grains. Do you eat 3-5 serves of vegetables daily? Do you eat 2-4 serves of fresh fruit daily? Do you eat enough whole grains? Fruits, vegetables and whole grains contain many nutrients as well as the all important fiber.
6. Alter gradually. Many people cannot totally overhaul their eating pattern overnight. Start with small changes and go from there. Evaluate your diet and work on the most deficient aspects first. Eventually you will have healthy eating habits that will last you a lifetime.
7. There is no such thing as a “bad” food. There are more healthy and less healthy eating options. The pizza and ice cream belong in the unhealthy. Unhealthy foods should be consumed in smaller amounts and less frequently than healthy foods. If your whole diet consists of unhealthy options perhaps a visit to a dietitian could be helpful.
8. Keep track of what you are eating. A food journal can be invaluable for showing you where you may be going wrong. It can be easy to forget about the extra beer, or the late night snacks, again. Writing down what you eat will also help you to understand your eating patterns and identify any unhealthy routines that should be adjusted.
9. Cook it yourself. Cooking meals yourself allows you to know exactly what you are consuming. If you are totally helpless in the kitchen then why not try purchasing bags of premixed salads and adding fish, chicken or meat? Precooked and take-out meals are not only more costly but tend to be much higher in fats, salt, and sugar than you might expect.
A healthy eating plan includes incorporating variety, moderation, and balance. Eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, and a little less of the cakes, pastries, cookies, pizza, and ice cream all adds up to healthier life long eating.