Forgive me for digressing a bit from this series. My recent episode with the heat and loss of my air conditioner for several days reminded me of the challenges of continuing to eat healthy when it is incredibly hot. Because of that I wanted to share a few of my favorite hot-weather recipes.
Today I am back on track with ideas and information that can help you focus on a healthier lifestyle, learning to eat healthy all the time, and feeding your family well – or at least focusing on making changes that will help you reach those goals eventually.
One of the most difficult parts of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and learning to eat healthy is knowing how to choose the right foods – and doing so, over the long-haul.
What we eat is probably THE MOST IMPORTANT factor in building and sustaining good health and a general sense of well-being. Because of that, it is worth taking the time to learn about nutrition and how to make wise food choices. Coming up with fast and healthy meal ideas becomes easier with time and practice.
The key to creating nutritious and simple meals and snacks is understanding the kinds of foods you should eat and learning how to balance those foods in your diet. To develop this understanding, you must first be aware of where most people go wrong in their diet choices.
There are so many ways to stray off the “good nutrition” path that I could probably write a book on that topic alone; but for today, let’s look at the easiest way to stray – which is: allowing yourself to get extremely hungry. The hungrier you are, the less likely you are to make good choices of the foods you eat.
Don’t fall into that trap. Far too often, people worried about weight control make the mistake of trying “not to eat” breakfast and sometimes lunch. As a result, they end up ravenous and stuffing themselves later in the day with anything that is available – typically unhealthy foods.
We have talked about this before, but I just want to emphasize a few points before we move on.
The best approach to eating healthy throughout the day and living a healthy lifestyle is to start the day with a good breakfast. Then, pack (or plan) two healthy snacks (one for the a.m. and one for the pm.), plus a healthy lunch. If you can be diligent in following those steps, your eating habits and your health will begin to improve dramatically. (Note: the links will take you to earlier articles on those subjects.)
Which brings us to the next point – the easiest place to start eating healthy is with your snack choices. This requires two critical steps:
- Get rid of all the unhealthy snacks in your kitchen (that includes the fridge and pantry – or any other place you may be stashing them).
- Keep ONLY good snacking options in your home.
In other words, throw away (or give away) the potato chips, cookies, protein bars, sweetened yogurt, and prepackaged snacks of any kind. Then, stock your shelves and your fridge with fresh fruits, vegetables, and nuts.
When you are hungry, it is much healthier to reach for a handful of raw nuts than a handful of potato chips. Nuts are filled with nutrients and also quell your sweet cravings. Fruits, vegetables, and nuts should also be incorporated into your meals, so having them on hand serves a dual purpose.
The best part is – the foods you can see easily and reach quickly are the foods you tend to eat, which makes having good food around the quickest way to begin forming new and better eating habits. When your kitchen is well-stocked with healthy foods, packing your two snacks and a healthy lunch is easy. Make a commitment to this simple change and begin NOW!
On Monday, we will be discussing – planning healthy dinners. Be sure to join us.