There are a number of people you can ask on how to eat healthy, from healthcare professions, your coworkers, your family and friends, however you may truly never get one main answer. Everybody has their own opinion on eating healthy, some contradict each other, some make sense, some don’t. After you’re done listening to everybody you may sit back and think “eating healthy sounds really complicated” and “I don’t want to give up my favorite foods.”
Those thoughts are normal, but also not even close to being true. Food is meant to be enjoyed, not feared or counted or be tracked.
In this article we will look into healthy eating, what it all means and how we can make it work for you.
Why should we eat healthy?
Before explaining what healthy eating means, lets first understand why we need to eat healthy to begin with.
Life is short, why shouldn’t we pig out and eat everything we possibly can and enjoy life?
Well as we just stated, life is short, and you don’t want to spend your time suffering and going through major health complications because of your eating style. Pigging out and eating unhealthy won’t help you in enjoy life instead will lead you to dread life. There are so many illnesses our body can go through because of the way we eat. There’s diabetes, sleep apnea, heart, live and kidney disease, along with the risks of heart attack or stroke.
The basics of eating healthy
Just like with anything we try to learn, we should learn the basics of it first.
When you first hear or think about eating healthy, your first thought might be about cutting calories. Calories are an important part of your diet yes, but they are not your main concern, your main concern is nutrients.
Nutrients is what our bodies need to flourish. “Nutrient density” refers to the amount of nutrients in a food in relation to the calories it provides.
Something many people over-look is the fact that all foods contain calories, but not all foods are nutrient dense. We obsess about calories and think if we eat something with less calories then we are eating healthy but that’s not really the full truth. Just because a food is high in calories doesn’t mean that it’s bad for you and just because a food is low in calories doesn’t make it a healthy choice.
We should aim to eat foods that are high in nutrients such as protein, fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals.
Something else we should know when it comes to eating healthy is to eat a variety of foods.
When you have a diet that includes different kinds of food it helps support your gut bacteria, promotes a healthy body weight and protects against chronic diseases.
Macronutrients or Macros are the main nutrients you get from food, which are carbs, fat and protein. Your meals and snack should be a good balance between these three.
Unless you’re an athlete, or someone needing to either gain muscle or fat for medical reasons, you don’t need to be counting macros.
Something people over-look is when you count macros, you can get obsessed with doing so and trying to stay in range that it can lead to disordered eating habits.
Do you need to give up on your favorite foods or drinks?
I answered this a bit earlier in this article, and I’ll repeat it again. NO! You do not have to give up on your favorite foods or beverages…. BUT… You may need to cut back on them. As mentioned earlier, don’t just pig out and eat everything unhealthy, balance it out. Your favorite food or snacks or drinks can be a part of a healthy well rounded diet, but you shouldn’t be a big part of your calorie intake.
Making it work for you
When eating healthy you have to make sure you’re comfortable and liking what you eat. Sometimes we fail to make food a priority in our life, we’re too busy thinking about work or family or other things to do we don’t really think about what to eat, when to eat it, how will it affect our body, etc.
One of the first steps you’ll need to do when following a healthy diet is making it one of your priorites, this will require some thinking and effort on your part even if you have a busy lifestyle.
You’ll need to go grocery shopping maybe few times per week to make sure have healthy choices in your fridge. When your kitchen is stocked up, choosing healthy meals and snacks becomes much easier.
When you’re grocery shopping you should stock up on things like:
- Fresh & Frozen Fruits & Veggies
- Chicken, Eggs, and Fish
- Canned Beans & Whole Grains
- White potatoes, Sweet potatoes, and Squash
- Avocados, Olive Oil, and yogurt
- Simple snacks like nuts, seeds, nut butter, hummus, olives, and dried fruit
If you’re having trouble coming up with ideas for dinner, keep it simple and think in threes:
- Protein: eggs, chicken, fish, or a plant-based option like tofu
- Fat: olive oil, nuts, seeds, nut butter, avocado, cheese, or full fat yogurt
- Fiber-rich carbs: starchy options like sweet potatoes, oats, certain fruits, and beans — or low carb fiber sources like asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, and berries
You might have a spinach and egg scramble with avocado and berries for breakfast, a sweet potato packed with greens, beans, and shredded chicken for lunch, and salmon filets or baked tofu with sautéed broccoli and brown rice for night.
Focus on a single meal if you’re not used to cooking or grocery shopping. Shop for supplies for a few of breakfast or supper dishes for the week at the grocery store. Once that has become a habit, gradually increase the number of meals you cook at home until you are preparing the majority of your meals at home.
Take time to develop a healthy relationship with food
Just like with any relationship, it takes time to develop it, food is no different.
You’re not alone if you have a strained relationship with food.
Many people suffer from eating disorders or disordered eating habits. If you think you might have one of these illnesses, seek medical care immediately away.
You need the correct tools to build a healthy relationship with food.
The best approach to start repairing your relationship with food is to work with a healthcare team, such as a certified dietitian and a psychologist who specializes in eating disorders.
Food restrictions, fad diets, and self-imposed ideals such as “getting back on track” will not assist and may even be detrimental. It will take time to work on your relationship with food, but it is vital for your physical and emotional wellness.
Getting started with eating healthy
Now that I’ve given you all the details, lets look at how we can get started with eating healthy!
- Make plant-based foods a priority. The majority of your diet should consist of plant foods such as vegetables, fruits, legumes, and nuts. At every meal and snack, try to include these items, especially vegetables and fruits.
- Prepare meals at home. Cooking at home allows you to vary your diet. If you’re used to eating takeaway or eating out, start with preparing just one or two meals each week.
- Regularly do grocery shopping. You’ll be more inclined to prepare healthy meals and snacks if your kitchen is stocked with nutritious ingredients. To have healthful items on hand, go grocery shopping once or twice a week.
- Recognize that your diet will not be flawless. The key is progress, not perfection. Accept yourself as you are. Cooking one homemade, veggie-packed dinner each week is major progress if you’re currently dining out every night.
- Choose foods that are filling. When you’re hungry, your objective should be to eat items that are satisfying and healthy, rather than to consume as little calories as possible. Choose protein- and fiber-rich meals and snacks to keep you satisfied.
- Consume entire foods. Whole foods including vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and protein sources like eggs and fish should make up the majority of a healthy eating pattern.
- Hydrate in a wise manner. Staying hydrated is an important component of eating well, and the easiest way to remain hydrated is to drink plenty of water. If you’re not used to drinking water, invest in a reusable container and flavor it with fruit slices or a touch of lemon.
- Respect your dislikes. Don’t consume a food if you’ve tried it multiple times and don’t like it. Instead, there are a variety of healthful meals to pick from. Don’t push yourself to consume something simply because it’s supposed to be good for you.
Making a few minor modifications to your diet might help you get started on the path to a healthier lifestyle.
Although everyone’s definition of healthy eating is different, balanced diets tend to be high in nutrient-dense foods, low in highly processed foods, and consist of full meals and snacks.
This article can assist people who are just beginning their healthy eating journey, as well as serve as a refresher for those who have a basic understanding of nutrition but want to learn more.
Consult an expert dietician if you want extensive, tailored nutritional guidance.
We hope that you enjoyed this article and learned some new things. Please feel free to share this article with your friends and family