Healthy Eating Tips Made Easy
Most of us know that eating a healthy diet is important for maintaining our optimum health. In fact, according to recent research published by the National Institutes of Health, the things you eat can influence your risk of dying from some of the most common health conditions: heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes.
As we age, the likelihood of developing one of these life-threatening conditions increases. The good news is that when we make some simple dietary changes, even when they are implemented gradually, we can improve our overall health and reduce the risk of developing these health conditions. Another piece of good news is it’s never too late to get started.
Briefly, a healthy eating plan includes plenty of vegetables and fruits, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat dairy products. It also includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts. It is equally important to limit saturated and trans fats, sodium and added sugars from our diets.
With some simple, gradual changes in our shopping, cooking and eating habits, we can successfully improve our health. Here are a few ideas to help you achieve success…
- Don’t go to the store when you are hungry. You are more likely to succumb to temptation and impulsively buy less healthy food options.
- Before you start grocery shopping, prepare a list that includes those items listed above and stick to it as best you can. Give yourself some flexibility depending on what fresh produce is in season, for instance, or what is on sale.
- Try to concentrate the majority of your shopping on the perimeter of the store. This is where you will find the fresh produce, lean meats, poultry and fish, low-fat dairy items, and eggs. Beans and nuts, which are part of a healthy diet, will most likely be in located in one of the aisles. Frozen foods are a good substitute when fresh fruits, vegetables or meats may not be available, or if the fresh items will spoil too quickly for you to be able to actually eat them.
- When shopping the aisles for canned, processed or prepared foods, read the labels and try to avoid highly processed foods whenever possible. With breads and crackers, go for the whole grain option instead of refined grain. Try to limit or avoid foods with added salt, fats and sugars, as these added ingredients are directly linked to those 3 major health conditions.
- Be aware that many beverages are loaded with added sugar or artificial sweeteners. Even most fruit juice contains a high concentration of naturally occurring sugar. Consider switching to seltzer water with a splash of fruit juice instead of sodas or straight fruit juice.
- When preparing your foods at home, trim the excess fat from meats and limit the amount of oils you use when cooking. Try “oven frying,” which involves coating the surface of a cookie sheet or roasting pan with oil before roasting your meats or vegetables. Flavor your foods with herbs and salt-free spices instead of salt.
- A squeeze of lemon juice after cooking is also a great flavor enhancer for vegetables as well as poultry and fish.
Now that you have some healthy food preparation ideas, here is one final tip for the upcoming holidays…
Offer to bring a healthy dish to any holiday dinner or party you attend, so you know you will have something healthy you can enjoy. You can also bring a bottle of seltzer water and fresh-cut lemons and limes to share. Remember, you don’t have to totally avoid all the other holiday foods, simply take smaller portions and savor what you put on your plate. Just be sure to go back to your healthy eating habits the next day!
Good food doesn’t mean bad-tasting food. Experiment and explore your options and you will find that healthy eating can be delicious as well as nutritious.
Topic of the month sponsored by:
Publix Super Markets Charities