HOW TO EAT FOR OPTIMAL HEALTH AND WELLBEING
Make gradual, sustainable changes. Extreme diets don’t promote good health, you rarely feel good on them and you can’t sustain them.
Our focus should be on consuming the most nutritious foods in their most natural state: Think food from the earth. Eat as many dark leafy greens as you can starting at breakfast. They are the most nutrient dense foods available to us and are considered “disease preventers.”
We should eat for pleasure as well as nutritional value. Choose nutritious whole foods that you love to help your maintain a healthy weight, and have lots of energy throughout the day. Food should not be used as a reward for anything.
If your goal is to remove unwanted pounds, set goals and attach dates. One to two pounds per week is safe and realistic. To lose 1 pound per week you need to cut 500 calories from your diet per day; to lose 2 pounds a week you need to cut 1,000 calories per day. Don’t rush it but do plan how and when.
Avoid highly processed foods and calorie-dense foods with little nutritional value: Donuts and muffins at work; chips, pretzels and candy as snacks; cheeseburgers and pizza for lunch; soda or diet soda any time; and a lot other fillers that really shouldn’t be considered food. Remember we want to stick to whole foods most of the time.
Avoid any food or drink that has artificial ingredients or sweeteners.
Live by the 80/20 principle: Eat well 80 percent of the time and leave the other 20 percent for special occasions. This does NOT mean to eat well 80% of the time then splurge the other 20%. You’ll just undo all the good you’ve done! But have your favorite dessert once in a while. Plan when you'll indulge then enjoy every single bite. Life is too short to feel deprived all the time. Food is meant to be enjoyed!
Aim for fewer than five ingredients in packaged foods. When you eat foods that have long lists of ingredients you can’t pronounce, you’re replacing what your body really needs to function: vitamins and minerals.
Many of us are dehydrated and don’t know it. Aim for one third of your body weight in ounces of water every day. Dehydration causes low energy and fatigue. When you’re hungry always reach for water first.
Frequently dining out can sabotage your healthful eating. Restaurant food is purposely loaded with sugar, salt and unhealthy fats. When eating out choose lean protein and produce. Avoid dinner rolls, bread and fried food. Ask for non-creamy dressing on the side and skip the gravy and dessert.
Avoid foods labeled as “lite” and “sugar-free.” When fat is removed, sugar is added to make up for lost flavor. Sugar is most often replaced with artificial sweetener which is even more harmful than sugar! “Diet” foods are loaded with mysterious ingredients with little or no nutritional value.