Tips for Eating Healthy
Tips for Eating Healthy
There's a saying that "everything is good in moderation". This is a very true statement, especially when it comes to healthy eating.
When you make the decision to eat healthier foods, you will make the effort to pick out more healthful options when you shop. However, if you think of healthy eating as a diet, you will focus on the negative and start to think of the things you can't have.
Eating healthy for the majority of the week and treating yourself to something once a week - for example on a Friday night - is a far more honest approach. It will also be easier to stick with your healthy eating plan if you have some type of reward at the end of each week.
This lens will give you healthy eating tips and ideas and includes a section on ways to get your kids to eat healthy too.
Flickr Photo Credit: Steve Hankins
Eating healthy does not mean dieting, but picking foods that your body will thank you for in the long run!
Starting to Eat Healthy
We have all read about and heard of these amazing diets and healthy eating fads that hit the headlines making unbelievable promises, but do they really do your body any good?
Well - no they don't - unless they are part of a normal healthy diet and lifestyle anyway, which means you won't need them because you are already eating properly and keeping active. I'm not telling you to start a physical regime or watch everything you eat, but there are a few things you can do to help your body properly use the foods you put into it.
Eating bulkier meals earlier in the day helps your body, as everybody's metabolism slows down later on in the day. This means that early in the day your body is using the energy from the food and not storing it as fat, as it would in the evening.
Eating breakfast is always a good start to the day; it is proven that people who normally don't eat breakfast are more overweight than those who do. Also, your body has had no nutrition for nearly eighteen hours by the time lunch comes around, this doesn't mean that it will burn more calories, it just means you are hungrier and will eat more than is needed at lunch. Your body then has trouble using the excess and by your evening meal is still trying to burn off lunch.
It is the same for young and old, so making sure children are fueled enough in the morning is a good habit to get them into. Make sure they are eating healthy breakfasts and not just fun, sugary cereals.
Having something sweet for breakfast doesn't mean you have to eat the wrong foods, get into the habit of eating organic fruit, whole grain cereals and protein-rich foods. When you do, your body is digesting food at the right pace and using the energy in the food.
When you think of eating more healthily, do you automatically think diet?
When you think of eating more healthily, what do you automatically think?
Things We Should All Consider to Eat Healthy
So many different people are telling us how to eat, what to eat, when to eat and when not to eat that some of us lose sight of what we are eating altogether, so here are some things to help us stick to a regular healthy eating plan. Note I didn't say diet here, but healthy eating plan.
Always start your day with a good breakfast. You should never miss out on breakfast, and try to keep it as healthy as possible. Breakfast will jump start your metabolism and help fuel you for the day's activities.
Lunch should not fill you right up, but give you enough energy to see you through to your evening meal. Dinner should not be eaten too late in the evening and should not contain too many carbohydrates or calories, unless you can burn them off before bedtime.
Try to make sure you get your five a day of fruits and vegetables. Too many people rely on multivitamin tablets and supplements for what their bodies need. Everything you need throughout the day can be provided by a good mix of healthy foods. Keep changing the combination of what you eat so you do not get bored.
Eat in moderation. Many people eat until they are full to bursting, this is not necessary. Did you know that it takes twenty minutes after you have finished eating for you to feel full? Your body needs time to process and digest your food, there is no need to have an overabundance of food when a standard serving will suffice.
Nobody has to stop eating the high fat foods or the things that are bad for us, but it is good to cut them down to a minimum. Things like cheese, potato chips, hamburgers and fried chicken are all good foods, and can be eaten as part of a healthy eating plan. Just don't overdo it.
Put the right fluids into your healthy eating plan and cut out or limit the bad fluids. Things like changing to skim milk or limiting your alcohol intake will help cut your calorie intake without reducing your food intake. Keep away from drinks with artificial flavors and coloring and cut back on things like tea or coffee. Everyone should have at least 64 ounces of water a day, so make sure your body is getting sufficient fluids to help the digestive process each day.
As long as our meals are varied and we eat well regularly there is no need to cut out treats, we just need to keep them under control. So enjoy your food, eat more of the good stuff, treat yourself occasionally and your body will thank you for it.
Getting Your Kids into Healthy Food
A lot of people will just tell their children that what they are eating is good for them and they should eat it all up like a good little boy and girl, but kids don't see things that way. They want what they see on television, what their friends have, and most importantly what tastes good.
The thing is, healthy food does taste good, the only reason kids think it tastes bad is because they have seen or heard it somewhere.
Getting your kids to make healthy food choices should really start from as young as possible. My oldest son used to have mashed up carrots, fruit and other vegetables when he was a baby and now he loves them all, but my niece hates her vegetables, even though she had them from a young age as well. Why? Well her dad hardly eats any vegetables and she has followed in his footsteps. Children mimic their adult influences, so it is very important to set a good example in what we as parents eat.
So how do you get your kids interested in vegetables and other healthy foods? There is no one direct route to take, but there are a few things you can do and here are some of them.
Get your kids to help you with the meal, as they will want to eat something more if they have helped to cook it and will enjoy watching you eat their creation. Always give them more credit for the meal no matter how little they do. It is also a way of spending quality time with them and teaches them about different foods.
Make their meals fun, by this I don't mean let them play with their food, but rather have a theme to the meal, so they can get dressed up in something that goes with what they are having. Create things with the food, like a face or something that is close to one of their favorite television characters. Remember it does not have to be a work of art!
Use different colors on the plate so the food looks as appetizing as it tastes. If they look at the food a bit funny because of the color, then get them to associate that color with something they like or like doing. If they have been painting for instance, then they can relate the colors in their drawing to the different types of food they are eating.
Teenagers can be a bit more difficult, but it's not impossible. When a teen is treated like an adult they are more likely to be more receptive to what you want them to do, and you can use this with meals. Give them choices in what they are eating, but let them know they have to be responsible with their choices.
10 Tips to Making Healthy Eating a Habit for Your Kids
Tips for Counting Calories and Carbohydrates
None of us have to stick to a regime of counting every calorie or determining the carbohydrate content to the gram, but we should make an effort to know which foods have the most or least calories and which have the better carbohydrates in them.
For example, foods made with white flour or foods that have a high amount of sugar are filled with simple carbohydrates; this means they will be absorbed quickly by the body's digestive system and the nutrients in the food will not be used to their full potential. Also, if you have too many simple carbohydrates, your body counteracts this by releasing more insulin, which is a hormone responsible for helping store fat, so the fat gets stored rather than being broken down by the body.
Good carbohydrates for our bodies, whether we are young or old, are things like oatmeal, foods made with whole grain flours, vegetables, brown rice and lentils. These complex carbohydrates are more likely to be used immediately by the body and not stored as fat.
Calories put the energy and fuel we use into our bodies so we can get through the day. Most men need 2500 calories a day and women need around 2000 a day. If you are naturally larger then you will need more calories and if smaller you may not need as many. Think of your body as a bank - the more calories you "deposit", the more you have to "spend". If you deposit more than you spend, your "account" gets larger!
One of the easiest ways to burn calories is to be active! Exercise doesn't have to be something you dread, have fun with your activities, find something that you enjoy and schedule time to be active. If you choose not to be active (or don't have time for exercise), be sure to adjust your calorie intake accordingly.
Determining how many calories we take into our bodies throughout the day does not have to be an exact science, as long as we don't overdo it for our size and amount of activity we do, generally a good balance each day will suffice.
How to Read Food Labels
Tips for Healthy Food Gifting
So many celebratory occasions involve food. When you're thinking about sending a tasty birthday or holiday gift, cookies or cakes might come to mind, but there are a great variety of healthy food gifts to choose from. Buy gifts that are filled with healthy snacks like whole almonds, whole grain crackers and cheese, fresh fruit, and low fat snacks like pretzels. Organic food gifts are a great way to know you're sending your loved one the best of the best!
Also consider the sugar content of the food you are sending especially to someone that is diabetic or hypoglycemic. A sugar free gift like a sugar free cheesecake or brownie still contains all the sweet without all the sugar!
They'll not only be thankful for the beautiful gift you've given them, but also that you kept their health and well-being in mind!
Hopefully your friends and family will know to send you something healthy when they want to send you a little something for a special occasion, but if not, simply share those unhealthy items that are high in carbs or fat with others or simply considering pitching them in the organic recycling bin.
Healthy Gift Basket photo courtesy of All About Gifts & Baskets
Final Thoughts on How to Eat Healthy
Eating healthy is a habit, and a good habit to have. It may take a while to develop this habit, and it might not go perfectly at first, but if you keep mentally looking for the healthy alternatives and new foods you have never tried, you will develop a good healthy attitude towards eating.
Watermelon is delicious by the way, and is one of my family's favorites towards the recommended "five a day".
What hints, tips and feedback can you give about healthy eating? Please share your ideas with others.