(Originally published in the Medavie Blue Cross Health News newsletter)
Eating healthy is a choice that can be a great challenge for many. It involves discipline, determination and the desire to look and feel your best. Healthy eating is not only about eating right, but about how to gain the maximum benefit from proper eating. Establishing the habit of healthy eating does not occur overnight; it is a process that may take months or years to accomplish, however, the rewards can be satisfying.
As a comparison, think about your vehicle; frequent maintenance and quality fuel makes it run better. Your body works the same way. If you eat healthy foods, you’ll be healthier and feel better.
Eating well is easy if you’re aware of what foods are best for you. But, don’t worry, eating healthy doesn’t mean eliminating every single thing you love from your diet. The point is not to deprive yourself, but rather to find those healthy foods that you love, or those foods for which you can develop a love.
To start, begin your day with a healthy breakfast. Your body fasts while you sleep so your blood sugar is at its lowest when you wake but eating a healthy breakfast like oatmeal will get your blood sugar to its regular level. As you go through the day, eat only when you feel hungry and stop eating when you feel full. Instead of three large meals, it is suggested you eat five or six small meals throughout the day, with the evening meal being the smallest.
When it comes to planning meals and snacks, it’s simple to make healthy choices. Think about alternatives to protein. Instead of eating red meat, try tofu or lentils or choose from a wide selection of protein rich beans. Eating a healthy vegetarian meal once a week can help provide balance to your diet. Keep a basket of fruit on your counter at home for easy access or take vegetables or nuts to work for snacks. Individuals who consume at least seven servings of fruits and vegetables per day can enjoy greater longevity and health.
Many of us love to snack during the day and that’s okay. Keep in mind that snacks should be lower in calories and lower in fat, sugar and salt. Low fat, low sugar yogurt, raw vegetables and pieces of fruit make a great snack, as do almonds and other nuts that are rich in good fats. Instead of pop or juice, reach for water and tea to quench your thirst.
Eating well doesn’t mean forgoing your favourite foods. Just remember that, if you indulge, you should balance that treat by eating more healthily for the rest of the week. Don’t worry if you need time to make the switch to eating better food; take it one smart diet decision at a time and you’ll get there.
If you have just decided to eat healthier, remember there are many ways to enjoy the benefits of eating and feeling your best. It is a challenge that will not happen overnight, but with perseverance can happen.
For more information on healthy eating, learn more aboutCanada’s Food Guide here: