When it comes to making sure that you’re living a healthy lifestyle by eating right, there is an important key factor above all else that you should always remember:
You may have been expecting the typical answer of making sure you eat your greens or cutting sugary and fatty foods from your life. While it is still necessary to have a proper intake of fruits and vegetables (about 90% of Americans are lacking in these areas), and too many sweets could be detrimental, these are certainly not the end all be all answers. There is no such thing as a superfood, where one might consume a can of spinach and bulk up. Nor should the avoidance of certain foods be discouraged either. Through finding the right middle ground that fits just for you, you can achieve a good balance.
Eat your colors!
Fruits and vegetables being different colors is not just a beautiful sight to see. Each one offers you something that contributes to your health in a unique way. Red fruits and vegetables are packed with things like vitamin C, vitamin A, and potassium. Meanwhile, green fruits and vegetables also contain potassium, but are more abundant with vitamin K. More vibrancy on your plate will make sure you get all the proper proteins, vitamins, minerals and more that your body needs.
So if you’re up in the morning cooking an omelet for breakfast, throw some vegetables in there to add more nutrients. Add in some green, yellow, red, and orange peppers, or a combination of whatever suits your palette.
Maybe you’re making some pasta for the family at dinner. Instead of a plain and ordinary meat sauce, spice it up with broccoli, onions, zucchini, or even spinach to add some nice volume.
Try to make adding fruits or vegetables to every meal your new habit.
Moderation and Alternatives
Don’t deprive yourself!
Completely eliminating negative or unhealthy foods is not as crucial to your health as you might think. It is more important to balance the good with the bad. Work moderation into your day and diet by not being afraid to treat yourself. By implementing your favorites into your diet, it’ll be easier to also eat healthier options alongside them.
Say you are really craving something salty like fast food. Perhaps you pick up some canned foods and soups from the store because you don’t have the time to whip up some on your own from scratch. What’s most important here is to pay attention to the nutrition labels and keep track of things like your sodium intake (no more than 2,300 milligrams per day is recommended).
Same can be said for sugar. You don’t necessarily need to eliminate all sugary drinks. You just need to know when it becomes too much. Alternatively, you could turn to other sweet drink options, like 100% fruit juices and low calorie beverages.
There’s no need to overwhelm yourself. Be mindful of your choices.
Set yourself on the right path!
Small steps can go a long way, and if you implement behaviors and habits that help diversify your eating, the little changes will become a natural thing. Along with a balance of fruits and vegetables, and a good moderation of your favorites, we must not forget other important ingredients that can help fulfill a healthy diet.
Research has shown that in the general population, the Mediterranean Diet is one of the best. Other than fruits and vegetables, it includes whole grains, legumes, nuts, herbs, spices, and more. Nuts and legumes are a good source of fat, minerals, and protein. Whole grains are a good source for carbs and help contribute fiber (which people are not getting enough of). When cooking foods, olive oil is the healthiest choice and gold standard amongst oils. As for meats, options like seafood and chicken are excellent choices for lean protein.
Last, but certainly not least, drinking water is another essential to keep the body flowing and functioning well.
Vegetarian and Vegan
Variety still is key!
Even as someone who excludes meat, poultry, fish, seafood, dairy or eggs from their diet, you can still maintain a good eating lifestyle. It still all comes down to variety. Plant based protein isn’t as complete as meat or dairy, so make sure to eat a lot or enough to get those essential nutrients.
Find what is needed for you!
Food is the fuel for our bodies. No matter what age you are, or the state of your body, foods have chemicals and nutrients that play a vital role throughout your life. You need the right ones so that your body can function properly and be better equipped to prevent or combat health problems. The younger you get started, the better, but even as you grow older, what you eat and the amount you consume are still highly important.
If you consume the right things and build those habits up, you’re on your way to living a healthy food lifestyle.