Healthy eating. What comes to your mind when you hear that phrase? Several years ago that phrase had a very different meaning to me than it does now. I used to associate healthy eating only with a certain amount of calories or fat in a meal or snack. I had no clue how to read the ingredients list on a food label or understand what was really important on the Nutrition Facts list. Essentially, I was primarily focused on what I shouldn’t eat. After coming to a crossroads with my own personal health, I realized that focusing on the good, whole foods that I should eat allowed me to develop an optimal diet for good health, without feeling deprived. As Hippocrates said it thousands of years ago, ‘Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.’
Now, certainly food is to be enjoyed and not only utilized for achieving good health. Thankfully, however, I have learned that enjoying good food and achieving good health and prevention through our diets can be one and the same! No matter where you are in your personal health journey or where you are in your dietary habits, there are always ways to improve, delicious new foods in which to partake, and health benefits to reap as a result. Start one step at a time, one recipe at a time, one choice at a time. We often think we have to delve into a drastic diet or cleanse in order to lose weight or get healthy, and although there is a time and place for those things, sustainable changes that become a lifestyle most often are developed over time. In other words, the culmination of many small decisions can create a large, more permanent result, as opposed to a temporary health binge that eventually wears off and leads us back to old habits.
As you evaluate your personal health goals and how improving your diet can help achieve those goals, perhaps it would also help to consider the following:
- Partner with a friend. Having a friend or spouse walk through changes with you can provide helpful accountability and make the process more fun and enjoyable! Try new recipes together, swap recipes, and create fun challenges for each other.
- Focus on what you should put in your body, as opposed to what you shouldn’t. We often fall short of our goals because we are focusing on the things we feel deprived of, rather than focusing on finding ways to enjoy what we should be consuming. This also helps keep the hope for success in reach, as you focus on the positive variable. Your thoughts and feelings strongly impact your ability to improve your health and lifestyle.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables. This is a given. Hardly anyone eats the recommended 7-13 servings a day…more matters!
- Ask for input. Do you have people in your life that seek to follow a healthy lifestyle that could be of encouragement or help provide some yummy, healthy recipes with which to get started? If so, ask for help! If not, feel free to contact me for recipes and ideas. We can all use a little help!
Here’s to happy, healthy eating on your journey to better health!
Leah Schitter is a Certified Health Educator and she is also host of our “Kids Yummy Eats” classes. Make sure you join us for a class and see how you can help your children with healthy eating habits.