What will I eat? What we eat is the largest factor in how well our body functions and our overall health. You have probably heard the saying “trash in and trash out.” Well, that is true of our bodies, as well. Our bodies require fuel to help it function optimally. Nutrition is key. Poor nutrition can deflate even the best workout.
Today’s topic is not a simple one. There are multitudes of diets that are publicized, for example, Keto, Paleo, Atkins, Macros, Weight Watchers, and so on. I am not here to validate any of these, rather share the importance of a healthy diet and where to get more information on what that would look like for you.
Let me start by saying that my eating habits are not the best. I like sweets, salty foods, fried foods as much as I do the healthy ones. I will probably not give up eating cake for the rest of my life to reach my weight goal and reach a healthier state of being. However, I can practice moderation, eat more of the good stuff, and occasionally indulge. Ah, the best of both worlds.
Where do we start to improve our diets? We go to a trusted source for information on healthy food. I recommend a few places to get this information.
- The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control has a Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, https://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpao/index.html. On this webpage, you will find links to information on nutrition, healthy weight, etc. Take some time to explore. We need to educate ourselves on good nutrition so that we can make healthy choices and not just follow a diet plan blindly.
- The United States Department of Agriculture, choosemyplate.gov, has a wealth of information on nutrition. Check out the “Start Simple With MyPlate.” It provides information on fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins, and a lot of healthy tips for your diet.
- Local hospital websites – Search the website for a hospital in your community. Once you find their webpage, search nutrition or healthy diet. There often information on links to information on proper nutrition and healthy diet habits.
- Your physician is an excellent source. Talk to him or her about your plans. They have information for you, or can even refer you to a nutritionist. Depending on your health condition and medical coverage, the nutritionist may or may not be at an additional cost to you.
My tips for a healthier diet are:
- Drink up to 4-8 glasses of water per day. There is varying information if 8 glasses is more than or what is needed. However, it will not be harmful to for me drink this amount of water. I will need to work my way up to 8 glasses. Although, it is much easier on days that I exercise. A cold drink of water is so refreshing after a workout. Remember: Good hydration is great for help to eliminate waste from our bodies, cells to function properly, promotes healthy skin, and healthy weight.
- Drink a full glass of water when your first wake up in the morning. Keep bottled water or glass of water handy, if the walk to the kitchen seems too much when you first get up.
- Reduce, not eliminate, salt from my diet. I use Morton’s Light salt.
- Limit sugary sweets to 1 serving 1-2 times a week. This means I can have a cookie on Wednesday and a slice of cake on Sunday. Some weeks, I may only have 1 and possibly none.
- Use a sugar alternative, like Stevia.
- Eating a piece of fruit to curb a sweet craving.
- Adding 1-2 different vegetables to my meals. I love broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, kale, sweet potatoes, cabbage, etc.
- Increase my intake of vegetables by adding spinach and carrots to my smoothie.
- Reduce the starches in my diet, e.g. white potatoes, bread, and white rice.
- Eat until I am satisfied, but not full.
- Incorporate healthy fats, like olive oil and avocado.
- Eat a good amount of protein. I will opt for salmon, tuna, chicken breast, and ground turkey, instead of pork and beef.
- Plan meals for myself and my family in advance, so that I can use the leftovers for lunch the next day and avoid making poor food choices if healthy options are not available at home or work (in my prepared lunch).
Please share your thoughts on what helps you maintain a healthy diet or even your diet struggles. We all have them. Some days are better than others. Regardless, we keep striving to consume what is best for our bodies. Don’t expect perfect, but let your passion get you there. Have a Marvalous day!