Embracing Healthy Eating to Nourish and Strengthen Your Body
Thursday, July 20, 2023 by Doreen Wennberg
When life is fast-paced, prioritizing our health and making conscious choices about what we eat can sometimes be challenging. Therefore, many people fall prey to convenience food traps. Unhealthy take-out foods and over-processed food from a box are not nourishing our bodies. Adopting a healthy eating lifestyle nourishes and supports our body, enabling us to thrive physically, mentally, and emotionally. Let’s explore some benefits of clean eating and practical tips for incorporating nutritious whole foods into our diet.
Fueling our Bodies
The food we eat should sustain our strength. But often, people are tired instead of energized after they eat. Nutritious, whole food fuels the body with essential nutrients that strengthen our immune system, boost energy levels, and enables our body to perform its best throughout the day.
The mindset of, I will eat the donut since it looks good and tastes good, gives little to no nutritional value, does nothing for our energy, and actually saps it. According to verywellfit.com, “The classic sugared donut is also the most nutritious on the menu. It has 240 calories, 11g fat, 4.5g saturated fat, 33g carbohydrates, 4g protein, 13g sugars, and 270mg sodium.” Hmm.
If you were to drink a 20 oz bottle of Coke with that donut, you would add another 65 grams of sugar! If you prefer your donut with coffee, a grande *Starbucks Mocha Frappuccino would yield: 370 calories; and 51g of sugar.
None of these food/drink choices contributes to nourishing our body. More likely- these contribute to exhaustion, high cholesterol, and weight gain.
On the other hand, a person chooses a ½ cup serving of organic whole grain rolled oats that provide 150 calories, 4 grams of dietary fiber, 5 grams of protein, and zero sugar, fat, cholesterol, or sodium. Adding fruit toppings increases fiber while naturally sweetening without using refined sugar.
Some healthy toppings include berries, bananas, apples, peaches, or other fresh fruit preference. Other added fiber toppers are chia seeds or ground flax. A few teaspoons of nuts add crunch, protein, healthy fat, and fiber.
That ½ cup of dry oats turns into 1 cup once cooked; for 150 calories. Adding 150 calories of healthy toppings (which you can scale up or down) for a filling, nutritious breakfast that won’t spike your blood sugar and cause you to crash mid-morning.
Building a nutrient-rich plate is essential to healthy eating.
Focus on incorporating a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes; packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. All are important for protecting healthy cells from damage caused by *free radicals.
*You are likely aware that research shows red meat is linked to heart disease and cancer. These days many people are eating less meat due to these facts.
If you are moving away from eating meat as your protein source, reduce your intake gradually. It takes time to adapt to such a major lifestyle change.
“Where do you get your protein from?” It’s the most often question people ask when learning how to move toward eating meals without meat.
There are plenty of meatless recipes that are rich in protein. Meatless Mondays are popular, often made with legumes—all varieties of beans, which are so versatile and delicious, filled with protein and add fiber too. The recipe ideas are endless—from meat replacers in tacos and burgers to soups, stews, and salads.
Nuts, seeds, and nut butter are excellent protein sources, but it’s important to note- enjoy them in moderation due to their high calorie and fat content, so stick to serving-size portions.
Practical Tips for Healthy Meal Planning
Healthy eating doesn’t have to be complicated. With some preparation and planning, you can make smart choices for better long-term health as part of your daily routine.
- Meal Prepping: Setting aside a specific time to plan your meals will help you make wise nutritious choices and reduce stress.
- Grocery List: Do not leave home without one! It will help you stay focused on your whole foods list while avoiding unhealthy processed items. Your list should include the meals you plan to make for the week with the ingredients needed for each meal.
- Pantry Staples: Most likely, you have a pantry full of food staples that you use regularly, such as seasonings, bread crumbs and rice, canned beans, and canned tomatoes. For a more in-depth pantry list, see here. A well-stocked pantry is essential to cooking with ease.
- Snack Wisely: Rid your pantry of unhealthy sugary, processed snack choices. Choose nutritious options like fresh fruits: watermelon, pineapple, mandarin oranges, and apples— all excellent snack choices. Raw veggies like carrots, cucumbers, and peppers, with hummus dip or a handful of nuts.
A Word on Hydration: The role of hydration is essential to your health. Hydrating with water not only quenches your thirst; it’s better for you than sugary soda, supports digestion, keeps you full, aids in detoxification, and helps maintain healthy-looking skin. If plain water is not appealing to you, add a slice of lemon which also adds vitamin C and helps digestion.
Nourishing your body with wholesome foods instead of highly processed foods can give you the tools to live a healthier, more active life. Embracing the power of healthy eating can enhance your energy levels, decrease pain from inflammation, and risk of disease. Start today toward a healthier lifestyle. Join me on the journey. Subscribe to receive future posts.
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