"...I pray that everything may go well with you and that you may be in good health...."
3 John 2
Diets and attempts at healthy living frequently fail because of boredom. Many people simply do not know how to keep a healthy life style interesting day after day. It can be quite a challenge.
Given the huge variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, meats and other healthy foods at the local grocery store, however, it is definitely possible to create exciting, nutritious meals that will keep boredom at bay.
The key to the success of any plan for healthy living is to eat what you like, but to exercise in moderation when it comes to the less healthy foods. Improving your level of health and fitness does not mean foregoing that piece of chocolate cake, for instance. It does mean, however, limiting yourself to one piece. A healthy diet contains all types of foods, including carbohydrates, proteins, and even fats. The key is choosing foods, that provide the best diet, is a combination of taste and nutrition. After all, if your diet consists only of foods you hate, you will not stick with it. There is a better solution.
There are five major food groups – grains, vegetables, fruits, milk and dairy, and meat and beans. When choosing foods from these groups, it is important to eat a wide variety of foods from every food group. Doing so will not only give you a great deal of variety and keep boredom from setting in, but it will provide the best nutritional balance as well. In addition, they contain the widely known micro-nutrients, such as vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin C, etc.( all foods contain a variety of macro-nutrients, like fats, proteins, fiber and water). Though present in extremely tiny amounts, micro-nutrients are vitally important to good health. That is why a healthy, varied diet is so important.
Additionally, when choosing foods from within the various food groups, some choices are naturally better and healthier than others. For instance, choosing skim or 2% milk instead of full fat whole milk is a good way to cut down on both fat and calories. Choosing poultry or lean meat is a great way to get the protein you need every day without extra fat, cholesterol and calories.
Likewise cereals and breads that carry the whole grain label are healthier than those that do not. Even in the world of fruits and vegetables some choices are better than others. For instance, peaches packed in heavy syrup add unnecessary sugar to the diet, while those packed in water or juice provide only good nutrition.
There has been a trend lately to add vitamin fortification to food, and this can sometimes be a good way to maximize nutrition. It is important to remember, however, that proper nutrition comes from a healthy diet, not from vitamin supplements. It is fine to buy calcium fortified cereal, but the bulk of your calcium intake should still come from milk, dairy products and green leafy veggies.
Knowing the five major food groups and how much of each to eat every day is only part of the picture. The other part is choosing the best foods from within those food groups. That means things like choosing the leanest cuts of meat, using egg substitutes instead of whole eggs, choosing the freshest fruits and vegetables, etc.
Even with fruits and vegetables, some choices are better than others. Some fruits, such as avocados, for instance, are packed with fat and calories. It is important to check the nutritional qualities of the fruits and vegetables you buy, and not simply assume that all fruits and vegetables are equally healthy.
One way to maximize nutrition while minimizing cost is to buy fruits and vegetables that are in season. Fruits and vegetables that are in season are usually quite a bit cheaper than those that must be shipped hundreds or even thousands of miles, and they are generally much fresher too. Of course, depending on where you live, there may be varieties of fruits and vegetables that are not available locally, so the northerner in search of citrus fruits will just have to watch the sales and buy accordingly.
Fad diets and plans can discourage you. When you fail to see the results you desire the tendency is to quit and/or to try something else. There is no quick fix. Set a doable goal and stick with your plan until you succeed.
Programs like The Diet Solution can assist you in making wise food choices and developing smart goals.
"... Plan carefully what you do and whatever you do will turn out right."