Eating healthy is a way of life and can be simple yet have wonderful benefits! It’s not about strict dietary habits or never having good food… it’s about feeling great having more energy, improving your health! Eating Healthy starts at home and can be done in simple steps!
Here are some tips to help you and your family start eating healthier:
- Be a Savvy Shopper: One of the best ways to make healthy eating a breeze is to be a smart shopper. That starts with planning meals and making a detailed shopping list grouped by the layout of your supermarket before you head to the store. Concentrate your shopping in the outer sections of most supermarkets—produce, seafood, meat and dairy departments—where the healthiest and least-processed ingredients tend to be. In the freezer section, head for frozen vegetables and fruits. In the inner aisles, go for healthy staples like whole grains, canned or dried beans, canned tomatoes, spices and plenty of tasty condiments. Also GO FOR color, variety, and freshness for a healthy eating plan.
- Read Labels: When you pick up foods that have nutrition labels, make sure you always read them. Check the nutrition information and also look at what ingredients are in the product. A general rule: the simpler the ingredient list is to read, the better. Watch out for large amounts of sugar or unhealthy fats and high levels of sodium in packaged foods, even if they claim to be healthy.
- Keep a Well-Stocked Pantry: When your pantry is full of staples, you’ll find you won’t need to run to the store in the middle of cooking dinner to get a bottle of soy sauce. It makes it easier to improvise a dinner on the fly when you don’t already have something planned. Ingredients like pasta, canned beans and canned fish can be the basis of spur-of-the-moment meals.
- Maintain Moderation: Moderation is about eating only as much food as your body needs. It’s also about balance. Eating well is not about deprivation—it’s about that good feeling you get when you eat something that is flavorful, wholesome and satisfying. No food should be off limits. Studies show that depriving yourself of the foods you love, especially in the name of dieting, may cause you to overeat later. Embrace a delicious and healthy way of eating that you can sustain for your whole life. The bottom line is that maintaining a healthy weight comes down to balancing the amount of calories you eat with the amount you expend during the day. So if you’re going to have that piece of cake, think about cutting back somewhere else or exercising a little longer. The best way is to reduce portion sizes of unhealthy foods and not eating them as often.
- Eat with Good Habits: Taking your time, eating with others, and timing meals can lead to great benefits.
- Stop eating before you feel full and drink water throughout your meal. It takes a few minutes for your brain to tell your body it’s had enough. Drinking water not only slows down eating, but also hydrates your body. Being dehydrated can often make one feel hungry when they are not.
- Enjoy meals together and at a table. When everyone sits down together to eat, there’s less chance of children eating the wrong foods or snacking too much. In addition, you can model healthy eating habits for your kids. Kids and adults often have mindless overeating when eating alone or in front of the TV or computer.
- Get kids involved in cooking and planning meals. Everyone develops good eating habits together and the quality time with the family will be an added bonus.
- Time meals so that you always have a healthy breakfast and have small healthy meals throughout the day. Also avoid eating late at night so that you’re eating when you’re in more active times of the day and fast overnight.
In addition to those tips, remember that eating healthier starts with the ingredients you use! Here are a few ways to make healthy dietary changes:
- When you use oils for cooking, baking or in dressings or spreads, choose healthier oils- which include canola, corn, olive, safflower, sesame, soybean and sunflower oils.
- Limit added sugars in your family’s diet. Sugar-sweetened beverages are the largest source of added sugars for most of us, so reduce or cut out soda, sports drinks, energy drinks and fruit drinks as well as enhanced waters, sweetened teas and sugary coffee drinks. Drink more plain water instead.
- Reduce the amount of sodium you eat: If using packaged foods, compare food labels, and choose the product with the least amount of sodium. Processed foods like canned soups or frozen dinners can contain high amounts of sodium. Use herbs and spices to add flavor when cooking, instead of salt.
- Load up on fruits and vegetables: At present, only one in four Americans gets the 5 to 13 daily servings of fruits and vegetables the USDA recommends. Simply upping your consumption of fruits and vegetables—foods packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants—helps to lower your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Add them to dishes your family already loves and use them as healthier sides, snacks and desserts. If you choose canned, watch for added sodium and sugars.
- Make the most of meats: Protein is essential for our bodies. It’s a component of every cell in our body, it helps us build and repair tissues and gives us energy. The foods highest in protein, such as beef, chicken and seafood, often are at the heart of a meal. And that’s where they should be—at the heart of it, not the whole meal. Try filling just a quarter of your plate with a lean protein, such as chicken, fish, tofu, lean beef or pork.
- Serve seafood: The American Heart Association recommends eating two servings of fish and seafood a week. Why? Seafood is a good lean source of protein. And many fish, especially fatty fish like salmon, tuna and sardines, have something that’s hard to get from other foods: omega-3 fatty acids and specifically DHA and EPA, healthy fats that have been linked to improving everything from heart health to brain functioning to depression.
- Cook with good fats: Not all fat is bad—and some, like the unsaturated fat in olive oil and canola, may actually help reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol, which in turn may help to lower your risk of heart disease. There are plenty of ways to make cooking with less fat easy and tasty. For instance, make sure you have a set of nonstick or cast-iron skillets so you can cook with teaspoons of oil rather than tablespoons. Try roasting vegetables with a little olive oil or serve them with a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkling of fresh herbs. Add fats from avocados, nuts and seeds and eliminate trans fats from vegetable shortenings, margarines, cookies, fried foods, and baked goods. Regardless of what kind of fat you use in a recipe, use all fats in moderation because they are high in calories.
Enjoy a healthy lifestyle, and Happy National Healthy Eating Day!