We all know we should be eating healthy, but what is eating healthy, anyway?
The U.S. government puts out guidelines to help its citizens make healthy food lifestyle choices. The most recent version throws out the food pyramid you remember from elementary school and ushers in a new, practical model with info from the latest scientific studies.
Here is a link to some great info from health.gov.
Some key takeaways:
- Variety. Vegetables, whole grains, dairy, fruit, even (gasp) oil. The recommendations include a place for all of this and more. Cutting a food group out completely is not the idea here.
- Nutrition, not calories. Getting the vitamins, antioxidants, minerals, and other good stuff will naturally come from foods that are less processed (like vegetables). Here is a link to a detailed recommendation for calorie and nutrition needs. To keep it simple, focusing on getting food loaded with nutrition will also likely not be high-calorie. Think: the nutritional content of a banana is much higher than that of a twinkie, and the banana has fewer calories naturally.
Trans fat, sodium, & added sugar. The quickest way to avoid these three nasty food components? Make it yourself. You won’t inject trans fat into anything (I hope) and you’ll be able to keep an eye on the salt and sugar that you add to things. Think simple, fresh foods. (Side note: as a nation, we’re not doing so hot on this)
- Physical activity. Adults should get 2.5 hours of moderate activity per week. It’s even more for kids. Don’t underestimate the power of activity throughout the day, like taking the stairs.
Eating healthfully is a lifelong process. In my household, we’ve been making some improvements and noticing results in how we feel and in the numbers on the scale. I’ll keep you posted!
Which of these takeaways is the easiest for you? The hardest? Share in the comments section below!