Being a healthy eater requires you to become both educated and smart about what healthy eating entails, and in its entirety. Being food smart isn’t about learning to calculate grams of fat, nor is it about studying labels and counting calories.
Let me explain: healthy eating is all about balanced and moderate eating, consisting of healthy meals at least three times per day; four to five is better to keep your body fuelled all day long. Healthy eaters eat a balance of whole foods. A great definition of whole foods includes fruits, vegetables, legumes, beans, brown rice, fish, game, nuts, dairy products, and true whole grains if they are served close to the state they were grown or raised. For example, apples are whole foods; apple juice is not, nor is anything sweetened with fruit juice. Yogurt is a great food, but if you tend to buy the stirred yogurt, (opposed to plain, or fruit on the bottom) you are now consuming processed food.
How about trying the 80/20 rule? 80% of the time you eat healthy choices and 20% of the time you don’t beat yourself up for having an indulgence. If you know you can still eat your ‘weakness’ once in while it’s not as tempting. For instance, if I know I’m going somewhere where they will be serving food choices I normally wouldn’t eat, I will be extra good beforehand so I can relax and share in the fare at the event. Don’t get me wrong, eating healthy requires a bit of forethought. For starters, get rid of the pre-packaged foods in your pantry and donate them, if they are in your kitchen they will eventually be eaten.
When I’m in the mood for cereal, I quickly make my own by pouring old fashioned rolled oats, boiling water, and cinnamon into a bowl and letting it sit for a few minutes. Throw in some sliced fresh fruit and you have a tasty and satisfying meal that has all its fibre and nutrients intact.
Eating whole foods doesn’t have to be complicated or totally alien to what you are used to, but you do need to be willing to familiarize yourself with what whole foods really are and find various recipes to make them the norm in your diet. You also have to be willing to spend a little more time chewing. The extra time chewing signals the brain that you are satisfied and minimizes the risk of overeating. Also, because whole foods are low in calories in relation to their bulk, and are absorbed more slowly because their fibre is intact, you won’t get a spike in your blood sugar levels that leads to a crash and more hunger like you will when you eat most processed foods.
Becoming a healthy eater just means being prepared, eat with sound judgement and make wiser decisions. As a healthy eater, we are always aware of what we eat, and we know the effect that it will have on us.
You should always remember that going hungry, skipping meals and starving yourself in any way is always a bad thing. You must think of your body like a car, it needs gas, oil, lubricants, etc. to run and to run properly. Same for our bodies; it may still be able to run but not in the way it is meant to. It may be sluggish, slow or tired, in pain, overweight, nutrient deficient, or sickly; everything being a struggle just to make it through your daily routine. When we eat the proper micro and macro nutrients we have the energy to get through the day, our digestive system works efficiently, our skin, hair and nails are healthy, we are able to concentrate for longer periods of time, and the list goes on.
Healthy eating is a way of life, something that you can do to enhance your body or your lifestyle. If you’ve thought about making your life better, healthy eating is just the place to start. You’ll make life easier for yourself, those around you, and even your family.
Make small changes to start, if you try to change too much too soon you will not be able to maintain the momentum. I suggest making one change at a time and that should be something that on a scale of 1-10, it’s at least a 9 that you think you can succeed. Taking baby steps are still steps forward and before you know it, you will be able turn around and you can be proud of how far you’ve come.
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