Are you trying to eat healthier but find it much easier to buy fast food then spend time deciding and preparing something to eat?
Today there are so many foods that nutrition experts and physicians recommend eating that will help ward off heart disease, cholesterol, high blood pressure and all types of illnesses associated with a poor diet, that it’s overwhelming. In addition to that information combine all of the data involving nutrition, such as counting calories, grams of fat, carbohydrates, measurements of portions and all the language involved in choosing the best foods to eat, it is not surprising that most of us chose the fast food option most of the time. Making healthy food choices throughout your day shouldn’t be complicated. In fact, it should be about enjoying a tasty meal, having more energy, feeling great and being as healthy as possible. By reading a bit and learning about healthy eating practices, then simplifying the information to your liking, you can create good healthy meals and gradually start making more delicious healthy food choices.
First it’s important to know the foods you should be eating and understand what dietary guidelines to follow. The easiest way to do this would be to learn the food pyramid or simplified modern versions of it, such as in the chart we created for you below or in resourceful websites like Choose My Plate, to avoid making things complicated.
This pyramid or blueprint below should always be on your mind when you think about eating or think of food. Keeping this is mind and associating it with the thought of food, will guide you throughout your day and help you decide what to eat and how much of it daily. After studying the food pyramid a few times and understanding the essentials to a healthy diet, you should be able to chose green vegetables, fruits, nuts and whole grains which are at the base of the pyramid (foods which should be eaten in largest quantities daily) over greasy processed foods which are at the top (foods which should be eaten in significantly less quantities daily). If you can remember this when deciding what to eat, chances are that you’ll pick a salad over a greasy cheese burger and saturated fatty onion rings when making a meal decision.
Secondly you should familiarize yourself with basic nutrition facts and learn about calories, carbohydrates, sugars, fatty acid types, sodium levels, cholesterol, protein, fiber and the basic terminology involved in nutritional diets. After you have a general understanding of these basic nutritional components along with the guidelines described in the food pyramid, meal plan ideas should start firing off in your mind. Also once you’ve read about these components in food, you could start relating it to the things that you normally eat. For instance in the plants or vegetables consumed by us, you’ll comprehend that these contain large doses of vitamin C, along with other vitamins, iron, calcium, are very low in fats and calories. You’ll know that fruits are packed with fiber, vitamins and are a good source of natural sugars. And that they’re also low in calories and fat. You’ll differentiate the oils found in fried foods or in butters and imagine examples of unhealthy fat types clogging your arteries. You’ll recognize the healthy sources of fat and associate them with certain vegetables, fruits, fish and nuts. When drinking milks or yogurts and eating cheeses you’ll know that these are rich in calcium, protein, vitamin A, vitamin D and phosphorus, however understand that many dairy products are high in saturated fat and cholesterol. Meats, poultry and fish have major sources of protein, iron, zinc, vitamins and more. Once you’ve acquainted yourself to these basic food substances you should be able to conceptualize the nutrients in foods that you eat. For example lets say that you eat donuts daily you’ll understand they contain approximately 400 calories of little to no nutritional value at all.
After habituating yourself with steps one and two you’ll be able to choose foods or select meals that your body and mind require more often and avoid the foods that are to be eaten less often and are unhealthier for you.
The third step in this deciding process should involve creating small lists or jotting down ideas of meal plans for breakfast, lunch and dinner according to the things you’ve learned in steps one and two. It’s important for you to develop healthy eating habits if you want to reduce the risk of health issues and benefit the way you feel. You’ll find that creating daily reminders for at least ninety days until you establish a new eating pattern, will greatly help in developing a new way to eat. When creating your small daily “what to eat today” notes, choose foods that are the richest in nutrients per calorie and ones which should be consumed most, such as green vegetables, fruits and whole grains adding them in larger quantities throughout your meal choices. Maybe for breakfast you could eat kiwi, strawberries and a whole wheat bagel (which is toward the middle of the food pyramid) with a table spoon or two of cream cheese (which is at toward the top). A scheduled lunch may look like a steak and cheese (top of pyramid) sub, with lettuce, tomato, spinach, green peppers (base of the pyramid) with a fruit (middle of pyramid) and an iced green tea for example. Dinner can be something like fish and vegetables (base of the pyramid) with a glass of wine. Maybe you can incorporate healthy snacks and healthy drinks throughout your day as well. So as you can see, it’s fairly simple to create healthy options and easy healthy meals by utilizing some basic information about good nutrition.
The fourth and final step after you’ve learned the methods above is to actualize your plan. Practice adapting to new ways of eating with a proper diet everyday and make it a part of your life. By radically improving your diet and eating habits, you’ll dramatically reduce the risks of chronic diseases, illnesses, prevent obesity, you’ll feel fantastic daily and change the overall quality of your life for the better.