No truer words are spoken than “you are what you eat.” Learning the basics can provide information to have good nutrition for life. You can make it more complex, but the simplest way is to break it down to colors on your plate and eating whole foods. Whole foods are those that are minimally processed. They include fresh fruits and vegetables, plus lean meat and whole grains. They don’t have additives or chemicals in them and are closest to their natural form as possible.
Fill your plate with colors.
Way back in junior high I had to take a home economics class, like every student in the school. One thing I remembered was the rainbow plate. The teacher kept promoting foods of all colors to fill the plate. While my first thought was M&Ms or Skittles, I knew what she meant. She showed sliced red tomatoes with a big green salad, white baked potato and tan chicken breast. There were orange cooked carrots and for dessert, blueberries. Different colored foods contain different nutrients and phytonutrient. The anthocyanins that make blueberries blue, for instance, are potent antioxidants.
Learn to cook healthier.
No matter what you’re serving for dinner, you can make the health benefits outstanding or eliminate most of them by the way you cook the food. I always use fair food as an example of destroying healthy food. Everything seems to be deep fat fried there, from pickles to butter. Frying food not only adds calories, it changes something healthy to food that’s unhealthy, particularly if it’s breaded and deep fried. Baking, steaming, grilling and broiling foods is healthier.
Don’t fall for fad diets.
No matter what the lead paragraph on a website says, there are no miracle diets that magically take off pounds. While many of the fad diets, like the cabbage soup diet or molasses lemonade diet will help you shed weight fast, it’s all about cutting the caloric intake. As soon as you go back to eating regularly, the pounds pile back on quickly, sometimes bringing friends. These diets also strip your body of important nutrients you need for good health…and a strong metabolism.
- Boost your water intake. Sometimes, you’re not hungry, but thirsty. Drinking 64 ounces of water a day is also good for your overall health.
- Learn to make healthy substitutions. Choosing wild or brown rice over processed rice saves a few calories, but also adds extra nutrition.
- Season with herbs and spices. Adding herbs to your meal boost the nutritional intake, improves flavor but doesn’t add calories.
- Have healthy snacks ready for those midmorning and mid afternoon cravings. Take them to work and avoid the desire to clean out the candy counter at the gas station or the candy machine at work.