The past few years have seen a plenty of interest in healthy living and healthy eating, and that is a good thing. We all know that most people do not eat enough fruits and vegetables, and that many people eat too much of the wrong things – like sugar, salt, processed and junk foods and fat. Reversing this trend will take some time and some effort, but starting with adding nutrition to your own diet is a great way to improve your health and your life.
The key to changing your diet, of course, is to change it in ways that you can live with for a lifetime. The reason that most diet and lifestyle changes fail is that they are too difficult to follow once the initial excitement has worn off. The key is to make small changes, simple changes, that you can follow for the rest of your life.
Where you start your healthy eating plan depends in great part on your particular goals. For many people, a healthy eating program can be as simple as eating more fruits and vegetables. For others, a healthy eating plan will require a radical change in the way they shop, cook, and eat. But these changes can still be done gradually as part of your busy lifestyle.
Since healthy eating means so many different things to different people, it is impossible to come up with a single healthy eating guide that will be right for everyone. The runner toning up for a marathon will have different nutritional needs than the factory worker who wants to lose 20 pounds. But everyone can benefit from a more nutritious diet.
No matter what the goal, however, it is important to eat a variety of foods, and to make smart choices when shopping, when cooking and when eating. Eating out can present special challenges, and it is important to familiarize yourself with the ingredients of the foods you order in your favorite restaurant. But don’t get worried by the occasional lapse as long as the majority of the time your diet is healthy and nutritious. Still enjoy a meal out or a party.
Making healthy food choices means eating more of the good foods – like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, etc., and less of the bad foods, like salt, sugar and fats and especially processed and junk foods and ready meals.
Starting by eating more high nutrition, low calorie foods is a good place to start. Luckily, the produce section of the local supermarket is likely to contain hundreds of different examples of such foods. Fruits and vegetables are almost always low in calories and fat, and they are generally very nutritious as well.
Since variety is so important to a healthy diet, it is a good idea to try out a sampling of different fruits and vegetables on your first healthy eating shopping trip. Start with some of the fruits and vegetables you have always wanted to try but never gotten around to. For instance, many people have never tasted asparagus, spinach or Brussels sprouts. While some love these foods and others hate them, you will never know unless you try them for yourself. Don’t forget you can also improve nutrition and variety by adding to your existing diet, such as adding a grated carrot on your salad.
This kind of foraging is a great way to introduce yourself to foods you have never tried before. It is a great way to try new things, and you just might discover a new favorite food while you’re at it.
Experimenting with cooking new uses for fruits and vegetables is another great idea. There are lots of healthy cooking recipes and cookbooks on the market, and a new cookbook can be a great motivator for healthy eating.
It is important to remember that making your diet healthier does not necessarily mean making a radical change. Simple changes like adding extra portions of fresh vegetables and reducing the meat content of a meal or adding extras to a coleslaw are one way. Also eat more raw foods and gain the benefit of better levels of enzymes.
As a matter of fact, in the long run the simplest and easiest to follow changes are the ones that matter most. That is because making easy changes means that you will be able to stick with them for the long run. Healthy eating is a marathon, not a sprint.