Eating healthy doesn’t have to taste like cardboard, it doesn’t have to be expensive, it doesn’t have to be limiting, it doesn’t have to be complicated and it doesn’t have to be boring! Eating healthy should always be colorful,flavorful,easy and full of variety. I will also give the basics on how to eat healthy day to day. One huge myth is that eating healthy is difficult. It is only difficult for those who are less privileged, and who have trouble paying for/finding enough food for their family to eat. That is a different story and another topic to be discussed. But for most American’s, food is easy to come by, and though we are all on a budget, but it can be done. Here are some basic healthy eating tips:
- Focus on whole grains
- Eat 5 fruits and vegetables a day
- Get your fiber in
- Eat and drink fat free and low fat dairy
- Eat very lean meats such as grilled skinless chicken, and avoid highly saturated fat meats such as bacon
- Avoid fast food, and limit eating out
- Start slow
- Moderation is key
- Keep things simple, and only focus on fresh ingredients. Don’t focus on weight and calories
- Keep small portion sizes, use smaller plates
- Eat with others
- Chew slow and enjoy your food
- Avoid fruit juices, eat whole fruits
- Eat fish
- Use olive oil instead, focus on the heart healthy fats such as these instead of unhealthy fats such as butter and margarine.
- Limit salt intake, never add salt. American’s consume well over the allotted salt portion for the day. Don’t be part of the statistic.
- Never add sugar
- Shop the perimeter of the grocery store. You will find the healthiest foods here.
It does take time to adopt a healthy diet. You have to think forward and forget your past eating habits. Eating healthy does not mean that you cannot indulge every once in a while. I love to make brownies and cookies. I will probably make these once a week. I also love macaroni and cheese. I will indulge in these things and reward myself, but they are not everyday foods. Here are some tips on how to start eating healthy.
- My first tip is to start meal planning. Read my meal planning blog for more tips. And tips for eating on a budget. Meal planning allows give you freedom. It does take time to plan your meals, but it will save you time throughout the week, save you money, and keep you on track. My advice is to try it one week. Plan oatmeal and fruit for breakfast, plan salad and whole wheat turkey sandwich with hummus and vegetables for lunch, and for dinner pick your favorite grilled chicken dish, fish dish or pasta dish. Chop your vegetables after you have gone grocery shopping and you are all set for the week.
- As for eating foods that taste good it is all about exploring! If you havenever tried certain foods, how do you know if they taste gross? Go to the grocery store or your local farmer’s market and buy 5 fruits you have never tried before. Be adventurous, and try a new recipe with new vegetables such as bok choy, Romanesco cauliflower, black radish, yellow carrots, purple sweet potatoes or ramps.
- Try recipes with different types of grains. Some wonderful whole grains to try are wheat, oat, barley, brown rice, rye, spelt, millet, quinoa, amaranth, triticale and teff for added fiber and fullness to your diet.
- Try different lentils, peas and beans for added protein and fiber. These especially are not expensive.
- Try different spices and herbs for added flavor without the sodium. Adding spices and herbs to foods can mean all the difference when experience the flavor and final product.
- Healthy recipes do not have to be complicated. Start with recipes with 5 ingredients of less.
The world is so wonderful and beautiful, it has so many great foods to offer you. Don’t waste your time or money on highly processed, fatty, highly refined foods such as fast foods and pre-made dinners. Do not limit yourself to these foods that you might feel expected to eat because you are “too busy” or because they are already pre made for you! Your body, deserves better! With a healthier body you can serve your family better, do your work better, have more energy and feel happier!