Eating is one of life’s greatest pleasures but it seems as if our modern society has perverted what food was intended to be: enjoyable fuel so that we can continue doing what we need to do. In our current society there seems to be such a polarization of food- feast or famine. There are people in this world still undernourished and there are people in this world over nourished yet still malnourished. The choices we have are incredible. In some areas of America any conceivable fruit, vegetable, grain or meat can be procured whether or not it is native or in season to that specific area. Science has done much to our food sources both good and bad. Greed, as in anything assigned to humans still dictates what is produced for the sake of the “good”. There are many conflicting notions of eating healthy. Mostly in dealing with Americans, rich or poor, it is not so much a question of what to eat, but what can I eat to lose weight.
I would suggest that we start with the basics- getting back to eating good, healthy whole food. In my experience, when people focus on healthy eating, the weight loss happens as a by product. When people focus on just the weight loss, once the determined amount of weight is lost, the eating reverts back to the unhealthy habits. and a diet yo-yo cycle begins.
How does one go about healthy eating? Here are some beginning suggestions to rethink your plate.
1) Assess your eating habits. Are you eating fresh, whole good food? Does your palate know the difference between preservative laden food and not? As with any problem or situation that you want to change, you have to start out knowing what exactly is going on. For food, it is always helpful to assess what exactly you have been putting in your mouth and in what quantity. Write down your food and drink intake for about three days.
Check out the following: https://www.supertracker.usda.gov/default.aspx for online food tracking.
It can be as simple as keeping a notes page on your phone, writing down in your calendar diary or jotting down your intake on the back of your meal receipt. What is also very helpful is to write down the reason that you were eating: meal time, business meeting, feeling hungry, bored, etc.
2) Purge your pantry. If you haven't done so, now is a good time to go through your pantry. Get rid of items expired, stale, or unhealthy. Look for the culprits of white rice, white flour, sugary beverages, high-fructose corn syrup products, processed high-fat foods, mixes and prepackaged foods, flavor-enhanced foods. Get rid of as much things as you can afford to do. If budgeting is an issue, you might want to purge in steps. Each time you rid your pantry of unhealthy, replace with healthy.
Check out the following: http://www.danielplan.com/healthyhabits/shoppinglist/ for a suggested list of healthy items.
3) Plan your meals. Nothing is worse than coming home from work, tired, hungry and staring at an empty or full refrigerator and not having a clue of what to make. Then it is when the default mode, go out and get a quick bite settles in. Not only are you more susceptible to eating high caloric, nutritionally poor foods but also to spending a lot of money.
Check out the following: http://greatist.com/health/cheap-healthy-lunch-dinner-entree-recipes for easy healthy recipes. Google meal planning ideas/templates/apps for finding the best resource that fits your lifestyle.
4) Engage your household. If live with others, invite them to be part of the meal planning and preparation. Assign a household member to prepare dinner for one of the nights. Be creative and assign themes or topics. "Meatless Monday", "New Vegetable Tuesday", "New Recipe Wednesday", "Creative Left-over Thursday", "Fish Friday", "Healthy Cook at Home Duplicate your Favorite Fast Food Meal Saturday", "Sit Down Sunday". Children can be part of this too, just set age appropriate guidelines.
5) Introduce healthy eating gradually. Add something new while eliminating something unhealthy. Use online recipes or instructions on how to cook, serve a new item. Check out recipe books from the local library.