Eating healthy is the key to a healthy life, but sometimes making healthy food choices seems like a daunting task. But healthy eating doesn’t have to be complicated.
To prove it, here is a simple guide to help you on your journey to making healthy food choices.
The first swap you should make is choosing whole grains over processed or refined grains. Whole grains are digested slowly, which helps you stay satiated longer and keeps your blood sugar and insulin levels steady.
Refined grains are the opposite, they get digested quickly and cause rapid spikes in blood sugar and energy, leaving you feeling tired and hungry.
Six ounces of grains per day is recommended. Some good examples of whole grains are oats, whole grain cereals, wheat bread, brown rice and whole wheat pasta.
Taste the Rainbow: Eat a Variety of Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are low in calories and full of the essential vitamins and minerals. Five to thirteen servings a day is recommended, and there are tons of fruits and vegetables to choose from.
Experiment with a wide range of colorful fruits and vegetables to find the ones you like, and eat a variety of them every day. In addition to vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, fruits and veggies have fiber, which is good for the digestive system and helps lower cholesterol.
Getting Enough Calcium
For strong bones, 1300 milligrams of calcium a day is what you should aim for, and dairy is your calcium rich friend. When choosing dairy products, try to find low-fat or fat-free products to limit cholesterol intake.
If you are lactose intolerant, many soy products have the same amount of calcium as the dairy alternative. You can also find many foods and beverages that are calcium fortified.
Healthy Sources of Protein
10 to 35 percent of your calories should come from protein. If you eat meat, baking, grilling, or broiling it is better for your health than frying it, as this will limit your intake of cholesterol.
To lower your cholesterol even further, choose lean sources of protein, such as poultry, fish, beans, nuts, and tofu.
The Good Fats
Not all fats are created equal. Saturated fats are derived from animal products, and too many saturated fats can lead to heart disease. To limit your intake of saturated fats, cook with olive oil or another planet-based oil instead of butter, margarine, shortening, or lard.
You won’t be able to tell the difference, and your dishes will be much healthier. Also, try to eat as many omega-3 fats as possible. These have numerous health benefits, including lowering your risk of heart disease. Omega-3s can be found in nuts, olive oil, and fish.
Sodium: How Low Can You Go?
When choosing foods at the grocery store, always check the labels for sodium content. Keeping your sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg a day (or 1,500 mg if you're 51 or older) is recommended, because too much salt can cause heart problems, and fluid retention.
As you can see, eating healthy begins with a few simple substitutions, additions and subtractions to your diet. Use these tips to make food choices that will keep you healthy for a lifetime. Bon appetit!