Helpful Hints for Eating Right
A healthy diet is one that is rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, paired with healthy sources of protein and fats. This translates to a largely plant-based diet with protein from fish, skinless poultry, nuts, legumes, and small amounts of lean meats. Many of these foods are rich in healthy fats and carbs, and low in unhealthy fats and carbs.
To eat healthier, it’s important to choose foods in forms that are as close as possible to the way they came from nature. A cherry, for example, is a better choice than a cherry fruit bar. And processed or cured meats like ham, hot dogs, and corned beef are not on the healthy eating menu. In addition, processed foods are often infused with added salt, sugar, and fat. Avoiding these added ingredients is another important goal for those who want to eat for health.
In addition, keep your calories in check by carefully watching your portion size. The typical restaurant meal serving is nearly twice what you need.
You may have heard all this before. What you may not know is that studies of millions of people for the past 70 years are the basis for it. It’s not just someone’s opinion. It’s science.
Practical Advice for Healthy Eating
Eat more unprocessed or minimally processed foods. By doing so, you’ll naturally consume foods that have the amounts and combinations of fiber and nutrients that nature intended. Unprocessed foods have no added sugar, fat, or salt. Most also have more fiber.
Be adventurous. Try new grains, vegetables, and fruits. Experiment with new recipes that rely less on meat and make use of different ingredients and herbs and spices for flavor.
Mix it up. At each meal, look at your plate. About one-half should be fruits and vegetables, one-quarter lean proteins (fish, poultry, beans, or tofu), and one-quarter whole grains.
Drink plenty of water. Water helps ferry fiber smoothly through your digestive tract and protects you from constipation. Drinking 4
to 6 cups of water a day is a reasonable and healthful goal.
Keep protein portions small. For proteins like meat and chicken, 3 ounces for lunch and slightly more for dinner is a good goal. Keep in mind that 4 ounces of meat is about the size of a deck of cards.
Aim for at least 2 servings of fish each week. However, limit your consumption of large, predatory deep ocean fish (such as swordfish, shark, king mackerel, and bluefin tuna) because of their higher mercury content.
Avoid impulse eating. Plan ahead for healthy snacks. Avoid sugary drinks and their empty calories.