Tag Archives: healthy food

What is a Healthy Diet?

what is a healthy diet There are a lot of opinions, many of them conflicting, about what a healthy diet consists of. If you need some confirmation of this just Google “diets” and see what comes up.

The simplest definition would be to eat the right amount of a wide variety of whole foods from different groups in the right proportions. Actually, that sounds kind of complicated, so let’s break it down a little bit.  You need to eat the right amount of food. This generally means less than what most people consume on the traditional western diet.  You also need to choose a variety of foods from different food groups, because no one or two types of food have all the nutrition needed to maintain a healthy body.  You also need to eat the right proportions of foods from these different groups, as nutrition is spread out through all of the types of food.

Healthy food groups include: foods high in fiber, whole grains, proteins, and carbohydrates from natural sources. Good choices from these food groups include fruits, vegetables, oils, dairy products (low fat milk, yogurt and cheese), natural sugars (not refined or high fructose corn syrup), lean meats, fish and poultry.

Included in any type of healthy diet is lots of water. You body is about 75% water. It needs 1.5 to 2 quarts of water per day. Drinking a lot of water also helps to cleanse your system. It might take some time to get in the habit of drinking water rather than soda or coffee, but you will soon feel much better for the effort. what is a healthy diet

The western diet tends to put too big of an emphasis on protein from animal sources. A healthier diet would emphasize a balance of protein from grains and legumes (beans, peas, lentils) as well as animal sources.

You should eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Include fruit with breakfast, salad with your lunch and vegetables with dinner.

Notice that processed foods are not mentioned as a good choice for a healthy diet. Pre-packaged, processed foods are generally stripped of about 80% of their nutrients and flavor, which are replaced with salt, sugars and other additives. These types of foods will fill you up for only a short period of time and leave you hungry again in a few hours. This will lead to weight gain because you are eating more calories than your body needs, and they're not even healthy calories.

what is a healthy diet The easiest way to avoid these unhealthy food choices is to eat more whole foods. Whole foods have very few ingredients, if not just one.

Products that have more than five ingredients, or have ingredients that you can’t pronounce, probably fit in the processed food category. Now, all this healthy food you are going to be eating has to taste good. If you don’t know how to cook, or don't cook very much, you really should learn to. Between the internet and videos it really shouldn’t take long to learn the basics. It’s actually fun once you get the hang of it. It’s also much cheaper than take-out or pre-packaged, processed food. Research some simple recipes. Simple doesn’t have to mean it won’t taste good. Experiment with different herbs and spices for flavor rather than salt.

Eating all these healthy foods is going to give you more energy too, which is good because a healthy diet also includes exercise. Walk whenever you can, take the stairs rather than the elevator if you’re not going above the 4th floor (lets try to be real here). Join a gym if you can afford to. what is a healthy diet

Just make sure that you increase your physical activity level for at least 30 minutes per day. Most people don’t get anywhere near the amount of exercise that they need to avoid weight gain and maintain a healthy body.

So, what is a healthy diet? It is a way of life that involves eating more whole foods from healthy food groups, in moderation, and increasing your physical activity.



Healthy Foods To Eat

healthy foods to eat Over the past 30 years, obesity rates have been increasing steadily. During this same time, there has been a significant rise in the amount of calories we consume in the form of fast food, convenience store food, and the many other snacks we eat away from home. This type of food is more commonly called junk food.

People consume a lot of their daily calories at home. Unfortunately, home has also become a place for convenience snack foods and fast food. It’s where we grab a candy bar or a bag of chips and sit in front of the television. It’s where we sit down to eat after stopping at the drive-thru. It doesn’t have to be this way. The key to changing these types eating patterns is to have more healthy foods available to eat at home. And a good way eat more healthy food is to start with whole foods as the ingredients for your meals. You can reduce the amount of junk food your family eats by increasing their consumption of healthful, homemade meals and healthy snacks, made from healthy foods.

There is no doubt that preparing healthy food may be more challenging than serving the pre-packaged, over-processed foods that you may be used to having in your kitchen, but the health benefits and cost savings are well worth the effort. Here are some of the healthy, real foods that you should have in your fridge, freezer and cupboards for healthy breakfast meals, lunches, snacks and dinners.

  • Whole Foods – food in its most natural state, more a product of nature than a product of industry.
  • Lots of Fruits and Vegetables – local and in season when possible.
  • Dairy Products: Milk, Yogurt, Eggs & Cheese – low fat, unsweetened and pasture raised if available.
  • 100% Whole Wheat and Whole Grain Products – made with only a hand full of wholesome ingredients.
  • Seafood – wild caught is preferable over farm raised.
  • Meats – Pork, Beef and Chicken – lean cuts, locally raised if possible and eaten in moderation.
  • Natural Sweeteners – Honey and Pure Maple Syrup – also eaten in moderation.
  • Snacks – Dried Fruit, Seeds, Nuts and Popcorn – unsweetened and raw (when applicable).
  • Beverages – water (lots!), low fat or skim milk, all natural juices, naturally sweetened coffee and tea in moderation.

Here are the kinds of things you should avoid if you want to eat more healthy foods.

  • Refined grains such as white flour or white rice – items containing wheat should say “whole wheat”, not just “wheat”.
  • Refined sweeteners such as white sugar, any form of corn syrup, cane juice, or any artificial sweeteners.
  • Anything out of a box, can, bag, bottle or package that has more than 5 ingredients listed on the label.

 How to Avoid Processed Food in General

Read the ingredients label before buying anything. Looking at things like fat grams, calorie count and sugar content is always a good idea, but the best indicator of how highly processed a food is can actually be found in the list of ingredients. healthy foods to eat

 If what you are buying contains more than 5 ingredients and includes a lot of unfamiliar, unpronounceable items you may want to reconsider buying it.

Increase your consumption of whole foods, especially fruits and vegetables. This will help replace the processed foods in your diet, and will actually make your food selections in general much simpler. You won’t have to bother so much with counting calories, fat grams, or carbs when you select whole foods that are more a product of nature than a product of industry.

Find a good local bakery and buy your bread there. If you were to check the ingredients of a loaf of a brand-name whole wheat bread you would likely see about 40 different items on the list, including white flour and sugar. Why have so many items if it only takes a handful of ingredients to make bread?

In addition to your bread choice, when selecting foods like pastas, cereals, rice, and crackers always go for the whole-grain option. And don’t just believe the health claims on the outside of the box.  Read the ingredients and make sure the product is truly made with only 100% whole grains – not a combination of whole grains and refined grains, which is unfortunately how a lot of “whole grain” products are made.

Avoid products containing high-fructose corn syrup and those that have some form of sugar (or sweetener) listed among the top three ingredients. Although research is mixed on weather high fructose corn syrup is really worse for you than white sugar, it often indicates that the product has been highly processed.

Try to avoid the kids menu at restaurants. They are often things like pre-made chicken nuggets, french fries, and pasta made with white flour, and are highly processed. Instead, try putting together some sort of side dish plate of healthier items like an appetizer and a salad.

Visit your local farmers’ market if there is one near-by. Not only will you find food that is in season, which is usually when it is most nutritious and flavorful, but you will also find a selection of pesticide-free produce and more naturally fed meat products.

 Here's a Thought!

Eat all the junk food you want, as long as you cook it yourself. If you have to peel, chop and deep fry potatoes every time you want french fries, you might not eat them as often. Eating “junk food” such as cakes, sweets, and fried foods only as often as you are willing to make them yourself will automatically cut down on the frequency that you have them. Cooking real food is more fun anyway, and it is much better for your health and your waistline.

You probably won't be able to cut all the junk food out of your healthy diet, but making it more dificult to eat those junk foods along with having lots of healthy foods to eat in your kitchen will certainly make it much easier.