Jan 2, 2012

Back to Basics: Healthy Eating 101

Hooray for the new year!

Hooray for new opportunities and new beginnings!

Hooray for New Years resolutions! Okay, maybe not for me anyway. I've never been one to set "New Years resolutions", but I definitely appreciate the feeling of joy and liberation that comes with deciding NOW is the time to make a change. If you overdid it this holiday season and need a "new beginning" with your diet, don't worry, you're not alone. Too many cookies? Too little exercise? Haven't seen a salad in a while? No worries, let the change begin.

Enter, healthy food.

The best way to purify your body of excess poundage and all those rich, calorie-laden foods is to eat a healthy diet. Pretty simple, really. No detoxes or juice fasts. No vegan or fruitarian diets. No protein powder or supplements necessary. Because of all the misinformation available in nutrition, very few people clearly understand the basics of a healthy diet. Today, we're talking nutrition based on science, not fads.

A healthy diet of about 2,000 calories per day consists of the following (some examples included):

What to Eat
  • Whole grains - 100% whole wheat bread, cereal, pasta, oats, quinoa and brown rice
  • Lean protein - poultry, fish, eggs, red meat (with very little fat "marbled" throughout)
  • Fruits - raw, frozen, dried or canned (with no or minimally added sugar)
  • Vegetables - raw, frozen, canned (with no or minimally added salt)
  • Low-fat dairy - fat-free or low-fat yogurt, cheese, cottage cheese and milk
  • Healthy fats - olive oil, canola oil
According to the USDA, the daily serving recommendations for these food groups are: about 6 oz. of grains (half of them whole grain), 2 1/2 cups of vegetables, 2 cups of fruit, 5 to 6 oz. of meat or beans, 3 cups of low-fat dairy and about 7 tsp. of healthy fats. If you're like most Americans, you may not be eating enough fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products.

So why include these in you diet? These foods and the quantity recommended provide the correct amount of calories, protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins and minerals that most people need in a day. Here is an example of how to include these foods in the correct amounts in your daily diet:

  • Breakfast: 1 to 2 oz. of wheat flakes, 1 cup of reduced fat milk, 1 tangerine. 
  • Snack #1: 1 slice of 100% whole wheat toast and a half a banana.
  • Lunch: 1 to 2 oz. of quinoa, 1 cup mixed vegetables, 2 to 3 oz. chicken breast, 2-3 teaspoon of olive oil and vinegar dressing for drizzling on top of chicken and vegetables, and 1 cup of low-fat/low-sugar yogurt
  •  Snack #2: 1/2 slice of pita bread, 1/2 cup baby carrots and 1 tablespoon of hummus dip. 
  •  Dinner: 1 to 2 oz. brown rice, 2 to 3 oz. grilled salmon, 1 cup salad, 1 to 2 teaspoon dressing for salad, 1 cup of reduced fat milk, and 1/2 cup fresh melon for dessert.

Here's another way to create a healthy plate from the USDA. I've shown this before, but I really like how it's simple, useful and easy to use. Print it and keep on your fridge for an easy reminder of how to eat healthy.  

No comments:

Post a Comment