Healthy Eating: General Info
Adapting healthy eating habits should not be a miserable ordeal. Unfortunately, most of us are always rushing, either to get somewhere, or to get something done. We stop thinking about what we are putting in our mouths, and consume foods laden with calories, saturated fat, sugar, and salt. When this happens, we end up gaining weight and increasing our chances of acquiring various illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
Forming healthy eating habits
Healthy eating should not be a painful decision, and you should not feel as if you are making any sacrifices. Rather, it should be a gradual lifestyle change that lasts for a lifetime. To make a smooth transition, get the ball rolling by following the four fundamental rules of healthy eating:
1. Eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner at regular times and try not to skip meals.
2. Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and fiber.
3. Eat fewer foods that contain lots of fat, sugar, salt, and additives.
4. Eat smaller portions.
Begin by subtly changing daily habits. Substitute the foods you currently eat with healthier reduced-sodium or low-fat products that are almost identical. Modify one or two aspects of your diet, give yourself a few weeks to adjust to the changes, add another few modifications, and continue the process. When you look back a year from the day you started, you will realize that your eating habits have come a long way.
Healthy food choices
Wholesome foods such as fruits, vegetables (especially green leafy veggies), lean meats, nuts and whole grains have plenty of vitamins and minerals to meet daily nutritional requirements. Since some vitamins and minerals are not as easily obtainable through the regular intake of food, some opt to take dietary supplements to meet their nutritional needs. However, as our bodies cannot fully digest and process the supplements, it is possible for one to overdose on them. Be sure to consult a physician prior to taking dietary supplements.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) labels all foods with nutritional facts. Utilize this information to your benefit when selecting what foods to eat. Optimally, the goal should be to eat the foods with the highest nutritional value, so that the maximum amount of nutrients will be obtained from the least amount of calories consumed. Nutritional fact labels are also helpful for one to ascertain how many calories one can ingest in the course of a day to maintain or lose weight.
Keep your distance from foods that are high in saturated fat and trans fat; too much of these will raise your cholesterol level and possibly increase the chance of developing heart disease. Saturated fat is found in animal products such as beef, cheese, and milk. Trans fat is found in hydrogenated foods such as margarine, shortening, and various snack foods like cookies and crackers. Also, stay away from saturated fats and alcohol; these will accelerate weight gain, and may cause potential health issues.
Making healthy eating a way of life
The way the one eats is a way of life, and one should not expect to make these lifestyle changes overnight. Think about when you eat, how you eat, and what you eat. Ask yourself whether eating so much food is necessary. Be a little creative when thinking of new recipes for fruits and vegetables. Remember, in order to permanently change your eating habits, you need to want it and be persistent about meeting your goals.