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5 Simple Steps to Healthy Eating

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An integral part of any wellness program is eating. The old age “you are what you eat” rings very true, and whether you’re trying to lose weight, build muscle, or just feel more energized, your diet plays a critical role. But in a society with abundant food choices at every turn and eating advice coming out of the woodwork, it can be hard to know where to start on the path to healthy eating.

Additionally, the method in which much of our food is prepared has played a significant role in the prevalent increase in obesity, and many people are unaware of or simply ignore the quality or calorie content of the foods they choose. Fast food, saturated fats, processed and preserved foods, along with sugars and sodium-filled foods are easily accessible and well-branded. And, the attraction and instant gratification from this type of food can make it hard to resist or eliminate them from our diet.

But, we’re here to simplify your food choices with 5 simple steps to healthy eating!

Commit to Yourself and a Plan

The first step on the path to healthy eating is to deeply commit yourself to the duration, menu, and structure of a clean eating program. Often, our dietary habits have been formed over our lifetimes and are an ingrained part of our daily activities and unconscious behaviors.We often use schedules, children, spouses, convenience, finances, or a lack of nutrition knowledge as excuses to not commit to better food choices. But, you can work to overcome excuses and prioritize your health by making a commitment to yourself to improve your nutritional intake and focus on improving your lifestyle and well-being.

Clean House

Once you’ve made the commitment to healthy eating, the next step should be purging your home of any food that isn’t fresh or wholesome, or items that are high in calories and low in nutritional value. Some of the obvious offenders include highly processed foods such as frozen pre-packaged meals, snack cakes, chips, cookies, ice creams, granolas, candies, and sugar drinks. Food that’s high in sugar, sodium, or calories should also be eliminated, and if you take the time to read nutrition labels and be honest with yourself about the quality of foods in your home, you’ll probably be surprised by the amount of low quality and high-calorie food you’ve been eating. Often, people looking to lose weight or improve their nutritional intake experience success by simply eliminating poor quality food and making better meal choices at home.

Choose Nutrition over Calories

Now that you’ve made the commitment and cleared away the temptations and pitfalls of low-quality foods at home, you can assemble a high nutrient and low-calorie menu plan. Optimal nutrition requires a balance between carbohydrates, proteins, and fats where these macronutrients can be obtained through lower-calorie options. Some complex carbohydrates with high nutrient density and low calories include barley, quinoa, whole grains, chickpeas, yams, beans, and vegetables. A few excellent complete proteins include eggs, skinless chicken breast, lean turkey, salmon, cod, tuna, buffalo, pork tenderloin, and combining complementary sources such as black beans and brown rice for a vegetarian option. Excellent fats include avocado, pecans, walnuts, almond butter, and oils such as coconut, olive, and flaxseed.

Pre-Plan & Time Balanced Meals

Once you have the best ingredients, it’s time to plan your meals for each week and get a good balance of all the main macronutrients. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends eating within these ranges:

Carbohydrates: 45-65% of calories
Protein: 10-35% of calories
Fat: 20-35% of calories.

The best way to ensure consistency and staying on track is by planning and preparing meals in advance. Ideally, you can prepare meals on a Sunday for the following Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Thursday, Friday, and weekend meals should be planned or prepared by Wednesday evening. As for when to eat each day, it’s often best to eat at regular intervals of three to four hours to ensure a maximal supply of nutrition and energy delivering calories (especially if you have an exercise regimen). And don’t forget to hydrate with water!

Add Variety and Keep It Fresh

There is much debate on the subject of dietary variety in academic circles. Some argue that variety keeps the body from underprocessing common food sources based on efficiency adaptations while others contend that altering one’s normal routine can adversely affect digestive microbes. And the list of arguments and debate grows with the mounting demonization of macronutrients such as glutens, fats, and carbs. But the truth is, humans have a remarkable ability to consume a wide range of foods and sometimes variety just keeps eating from becoming tedious and boring. Spicing it up makes it much easier to stay on the clean and lean path and provided you keep within your caloric range, proper macronutrient ratio, and do not suffer from a pre-existing condition, variety should not be a challenge.

Stay Committed 

Maintaining a healthy diet can be challenging, especially with near constant temptations of rich, sugary, and fatty foods that are prevalent in American culture. But, by committing to a plan, keeping only healthy food in the house, choosing nutrition over calories, planning your meals, and adding variety, you can stick to a healthy diet that will keep you feeling good and energized.

And if you need extra support on your wellness journey, our certified nutritionists are here to help! Book an appointment today to see how Forge can take your well-being to the next level.

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