I am sure you have heard one of these phrases recently, ‘I am counting my calorie intake’, or ‘I am into healthy eating/clean eating’. This seemingly new buzz on “healthy eating” has brought about a barrage of inundating and sometimes ambiguous information that ends of leaving clean eating hopefuls burdened and overwhelmed to the extent that they just give up all together.
So what is the big deal anyway? Is it really worth it? We all decide to adopt healthier nutrition habits for varied reasons; from wanting to look younger, to lose weight, stay healthy or just simply follow the trend; however some seem unfazed and do not see the point of it all. Let me share a quick story that happened about 2 weeks ago.
A young lady walked into the store, beaming with excitement to have found a healthy grocery store and said to me, ‘I am a clean eater, I will like to buy foods and snacks without calories or with as little calories as possible, what can you recommend?’, I looked straight into her eyes and said to her, ‘Are you planning to die or be sick?’ She looked up really startled and asked why, and I explained to her that you need calories to live and stay healthy. She held the misconception that calories make one fat so in order to not gain weight, you avoid calories totally. As a matter of fact, our body needs fuel, in the form of calories from food, to sustain life and keep our body functioning. An average person needs between 2,000 & 2,500kcal a day. Eating way too much calories than you need or use is what makes us gain weight.
Listen friends, eating healthy is far easier, exciting and fun than people have made it seem. It is not a fad or passing trend, but rather it should be about a long time lifestyle change, in fact it is the way we have always eaten until a few decades ago. Simple, raw, fresh, fun and of course healthy food. Eating this way has been established to help the body get the required nutrients in the right proportion for proper body functioning, prevention of chronic illnesses, maintaining a healthy body size and being in a state of good health.
Healthy eating habits do not need to be confusing or extremely restrictive. The basic thing is to eat mostly natural, unrefined nutrient dense foods from plants. Limit meat and highly processed or refined foods.
It is all about paying attention to what is on your plate by keeping these 3 guidelines in mind:
Keep It Simple
So forget about calculations and formulas, just eat in moderation and introduce natural healthy alternatives to your daily diet & nutrition. Eat a wide assortment of natural foods that provide the different classes of nutriments; carbs, proteins, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and drink a good amount of water.
Keep It Fresh
Eat plenty of produce. Focus on things that come from the earth, not a factory. Fill up on fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. Always have it raw when you can.
Make It A Habit
Include a variety of colours in your diets, green, orange, red, blue/purple and yellow produce. Switch up your prep styles, grill, roasts, steam etc. Try new grains, new veggies and keep it real.
Make Healthy Eating a Habit
Make small gradual changes, after all it takes about a month for any new action to become habit. One of the biggest challenges to eating healthier is finding substitutions for existing foods in your diet.
Here are some quick tips to make the transition easier:
Select whole wheat bread over white bread. Be sure to read the label to ensure you’re getting whole grains, not just colored white bread.
Change your cooking methods. Bake, grill or broil your meals instead of frying. Use non-stick sprays—or better yet, non-stick pans—instead of oil.
Drink more water. Slowly reduce the amount of soda you drink and replace it with herbal tea or water.
Order vegetables on the side instead of fries. Flavor them with lemon juice or herbs instead of cream.
Snack on fruit and nuts instead of sugary treats.
Eat the white meat of turkey or chicken, which is lower in fat than dark meat, red meat and pork.
Reduce your portion size.
Eating a healthier diet doesn’t have to mean deprivation. You don’t have to cut out your favorite foods completely—you just have to make a few changes.
You deserve the very best!
Live life fresh and stay healthy.
Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Monkey Business Images