A Beginner’s Guide to Healthy Eating

A Beginner's Guide to Healthy Eating

The concept of healthy eating can feel incredibly nebulous, especially when you’re just getting started. How much should you eat? When should you eat? What should you eat? We’ve put together some basic guidelines and a few simple recipes to get you started on the road to healthy eating!

The Difference Between Fats, Proteins, and Carbs
The types of food you eat, or your diet, can have a significant impact on your health. Certain diets may help you lose weight and can have beneficial long-term effects on cardiovascular disease risk factors such as blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and body weight. Regardless of which diet appeals to youβ€”whether it’s vegetarian or Paleoβ€”you must understand how carbohydrates differ from fats and proteins. There are many different types of foods that contain each macronutrient; here are a few examples of each type: Fats: avocados, nuts, olive oil Proteins: chicken breast/fish/egg whites Carbs: bread/pasta/rice

The Basics of The Nutrition Pyramid
There are four main food groups in The Nutrition Pyramid: grains, fruits, vegetables, and protein. It’s recommended that you get anywhere from 5-10 servings of grains per day (bread, cereals, rice). You should eat 2-4 servings of fruit each day. Try to eat three or more servings of vegetables every day and about 6 ounces of protein per day. Protein sources include chicken breast, fish (especially salmon), eggs, and dairy products such as yogurt and cheese. In addition to these five food groups, it’s a good idea to drink plenty of water every day – eight 8 ounce glasses a day is ideal.

A Beginner's Guide to Healthy Eating

Healthy Benefits
What you probably know is that eating more fruits and vegetables will make you healthier. But did you know they could help your eyes, lower blood pressure, boost your immune system, reduce your risk of stroke and cancer, clear up your skin, protect against heart disease and even improve gum health? And did you know that something as simple as cooking one or two more servings of veggies at a time can save you money on groceries? Your body will thank you for it!

Processed vs. Unprocessed Foods
Understanding What’s in Your Food: On one side of that spectrum is processed food, which typically contains ingredients you might recognizeβ€”flour, sugar, sodium. But have you ever read labels on processed foods? They can contain all sorts of chemicals that you don’t want in your body. On the other side of that spectrum are unprocessed foods: whole fruits and vegetables; meat from grass-fed animals; dairy products from healthy animals; eggs from free-range chickens.

Where Does Sugar Fall In?
Sugar is hiding in some of our favorite foods. It’s not just desserts; sugar makes an appearance in many seemingly healthy products. To make sure you’re staying healthy, check nutrition labels and try to eat fewer processed foods. If it’s got a long ingredient list with hard-to-pronounce ingredients, it’s probably not good for you. If sugar isn’t listed on a package, then it doesn’t contain any of it.

What Can You Do Today?
The first step in improving your diet is awareness. Knowing what you eat, how much you eat, and when you eat it will give you a firm starting point for improvement. Whether it’s keeping a food journal or using an app like Lose It!, there are plenty of ways to keep track of your eating habits and plan better meals ahead of time.

Get Cooking
Cooking your meals is one of the best ways to stay healthy. A 2015 study, for example, found that eating at home led to better health outcomes than dining out. The researchers attributed much of their findings to healthier ingredientsβ€”like fruits and vegetablesβ€”which are harder (or impossible) to find at restaurants. So grab a pen and pad and start making your grocery list. Not only can you save yourself some money in terms of what you’re eating, but cooking also allows you control over how much salt, sugar, or fat ends up in each meal. Check out my full beginner’s guide here!


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