During our lifetime, we invest in what is most important to us—whether we realize it or not. Outside of God, our body is the most permanent thing we possess. Yes, your body is more permanent than your career, education, and car. And yes, you only get one. How often do we eat with this consideration in mind? If you currently strive to eat healthy foods, I commend you! And if you have yet to do so, consider this one of the most important investments you could ever make!
Adopting a healthy diet is one way to get you started on your journey to attain/maintain healthy weight, reduce your risk of chronic disease, and promote overall health. Furthermore, adopting a healthier diet is not as difficult as you think! Some key tips include selecting a variety of foods and minimizing less nutritive foods.
How to get started
When it comes to proper nutrition, the goal is to obtain sufficient energy, vitamins, and minerals from the foods you consume. Sounds easy enough, right? In order to accomplish this feat, it helps to ensure the food you eat is nutrient dense and has variety. When you eat, include a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat milk products, and protein foods. One way I strive to include nutrient dense foods with variety is through selecting whole foods of different colors. Another way I seek to obtain a diverse spread of vitamins and minerals is through trying new foods, recipes, and spices. (My latest trend has been preparing Ethiopian food.) Ordinary ingredients have potential to transform into a mouthwatering culinary masterpiece!
Incorporating a variety of nutrient dense foods to your diet is only part of the battle. The other part is minimizing less nutritive foods (those high in saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, salt, and added sugars). With the busyness of our daily schedules, food becomes extremely enticing when it is cheap and convenient. Being constantly bombarded with advertisements for these foods makes it even more enticing. The unfortunate truth is that many of the cheap and convenient foods we come across are the same foods that we should be avoiding.
Practical steps to start a healthy diet
Have prepared snacks and meals to last you while you are away from home
Plan (or cook) the meals/foods you are going to eat before the week starts
Eat your meals at a table
Create separate budgets for groceries and eating out
Choose foods that have no added sugar
Have a friend join you or hold you accountable to your lifestyle change
Cook without salt
Avoid the snack isle in the grocery store
Try to recreate the foods you enjoy eating
Gradually include or eliminate specific foods from your diet
Increase your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables
When you crave something, try having only a small portion of that what you are craving
As you journey to a healthier you through adopting a healthy diet, remember that it takes patience and your regimen should be sustainable. While you transition, the increased fiber in your diet may temporarily cause bloating, flatulence, diarrhea, and/or constipation. But look on the bright side, you will be making one of the best investments you can into the most permanent thing you have—yourself! Start honoring what God has given you!