ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How To Start Eating Healthy

Updated on December 24, 2011

Where to Start?

My dad asked me a simple question the other day: What are some ways I can start eating healthy?

Seems simple enough, but instantly years of reading health studies, books, and working on a healthy diet came flooding back to me and it seemed like such an insurmountable wall that I wondered where even to start.

Disclaimer: The information included on this hub is for educational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.

Now that THAT's out of the way, here's how I responded to him.

Hydrate or Die

This is the mantra of many athletes--the one I knew was a long distance biker. Hydrate or die, he'd say, and since our bodies are 60% water I'd say that's important.

So Rule #1: Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.

If you REALLY need me to get into the reasons you need at least this much leave a comment, otherwise I'll take it you understand.

Photo credit: Dawn Allynn
Photo credit: Dawn Allynn

Eat Your Fruits and Veggies

Rule #2: Eat minimum of 5 fruits and vegetables a day.

Five being a combination of both--not 5 veggies and 5 fruits.

Throw berries in your cereal/yogurt for breakfast, eat a piece of fruit for a snack, have a fruit or veggie in your lunch and a couple with dinner.

When you set your mind to it you make ways to get them in.

Cut the Bad Stuff

Rule #3: Cut out all partially hydrogenated oils and corn syrup.

This was one of the first steps my hubby and I took when we were first married. Corn syrup is in everything from ice cream to ketchup to crackers. Read every list of ingredients.


For example: 3 Tablespoons of the Coffeemate creamers (the hazelnut or french vanilla stuff) is the equivalent in trans fat as a basket of french fries.

Shocker, huh? That includes "fat free" creamer...they just put the serving size so low they don't have to report the amount of fat.


We got this info from the book The Abs Diet. You may be wary of "diet" books but really this is a lot fo common sense with facts to back it up. This book changed the way both of us eat.

Less Meat...

Rule #4: Eat more beans and legumes (lentils, black beans, etc.) for your protein and less red meat.

Maybe try one meatless dinner a week. It gives your digestive system a break, and it helps your budget too. Read my hub Frugal Fine Dining for more info on eating one vegetarian meal a week. Legumes also pack more fiber than a steak does, helping keep things nice and regular.

Be Picky About Your Dairy

Rule #5: Try to eat dairy products and meat from cows not treated with hormones or rbST.

I'm more concerned about that than "organic," but sometimes that DOES mean buying organic. From someone who has hormone-related migraines, this simple switch has made a tremendous difference in the intensity of my headaches.

For more info on why this is beneficial to you, read Organic Milk--Is It Worth Your Money?


Photo Credit: Anna Ryzlak
Photo Credit: Anna Ryzlak

If Grandma Wouldn't Recognize It...

Rule #6: If your Grandma wouldn't recognize an ingredient in what you're eating, don't eat it.

Simple enough?

Photo Credit: khin yee teoh
Photo Credit: khin yee teoh

Other Useful Tips

Those are some basic guidelines we try to follow. We also try not to have a lot of snacks lying around, and those we do are healthy like Pirate's Booty, baked tortilla chips, and low fat pita chips.

PORTION control is a huge thing though...baked tortilla chips aren't good for you when you eat half the bag. Look at the serving size, portion them out in a bowl and THEN go to the couch.

Eat slowly, paying attention to each bite...not mindlessly.

TRY new things.

Have the courage to buy one thing that scares you a week. I call it my "challenge ingredient."

Like chickpeas...I had no idea what to do with a can of chickpeas sitting in my cupboard forever. Then I researched it on foodnetwork.com and voila! I could make hummus! And rutabagas...I had NO idea what they were going to taste like, but I found I really like them in a stew or casserole or even just mashed. If you don't like it then yeah, you wasted a few bucks. So what. If you do like it, you've got another weapon in your culinary aresnal.

When cooking, try to bulk up your meal with veggies and legumes rather than meat and fat. For example, in a taco, add equal amounts of black beans and meat, plus your salsa/veggie toppings and go light on the cheese--you'll still get full, get great flavor but the meat will last longer and you'll be eating less fat.

One dish we have a few times a week is just sauteed veggies. Throw some olive oil in a pan on med-high heat, wash and chop whatever veggies you like. Most often we use zucchini, squash, and mushrooms but I'm trying to branch out and eat with the seasons more. Salt and pepper the veggies, throw them in the pan and give it 5 min or so and you've got a delicious side dish that can count for 3 of your fruits/veggies for the day.

Stir fry is another way we eat healthy. Branch out and try something different than what you've been doing for 10 years. Use FRESH ginger, try interesting sauces like Mirin and Oyster sauce and sesame oil and Chinese black bean sauce.Follow a recipe with good reviews until you're familiar with the flavors you're cooking with, then try your own. I hardly open a recipe anymore with stir fry--we toss in some soy sauce, sesame oil, fresh ginger, a dollop of rice vinegar and give it a sniff. Chop some cashews to throw in, and eat it over brown rice.

Yum. I want stir fry tonight.


The Extras

Both men and women should take a multivitamin and fish oil. If you have a history of heart disease you should probably take Garlic and Coenzyme Q10 as well for your heart. Women are usually deficient in calcium and should take a fiber supplement as well.

Websites

Food Network has an amazing aresnal of recipes at your disposal. There are a number of ways to refine your search, and I've never tried a really bad recipe from there.

Also, Fit Day is a free website that allows you to track your calories, activities, weight, and body measurements for free. When I briefly tried Weight Watchers I found that their limit for my caloric intake (1,000 calories/day) was simply not enough for an active girl like me. WIth Fit Day I'm able to keep track of how many calories I burn doing menial things like cooking dinner or cleaning the house. In just a couple of weeks keeping track I've lost 5 pounds and 8 inches overall because I know how much I'm eating vs. burning.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 

      7 years ago from Deep South, USA

      This is a very informative hub, and I hope a lot of people read it (and follow your advice).

      I'm a former vegan, now a pesco-ovo-tarian. On the advice of my doctor, I eat a limited amount of fish and organic eggs from range-free hens. The rest of my diet is mainly lots of fruits and veggies, whole grains, nuts, legumes, olive oil in small amounts, decaf tea, coffee, water with lemon. I try not to eat much processed food and stay far away from that creepy corn syrup!

      Jaye

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)