Healthy Eating Plan

Healthy eating is not about counting or restricting calories or depriving yourself of your favorite foods. A healthy eating diet involves combining the right foods and food groups in the right portions to match your needs. Once you find the right foods and balance your intake, you will experience better health and more energy and be able to maintain a healthy body weight.

Don’t be overwhelmed by conflicting nutritional advice, for every expert who tells you certain foods are good for you, you’ll find another who says the opposite. You can learn to create a satisfying and nutritious diet that is as good for both mind and body.

What is a healthy eating diet?

The first step of a healthy eating plan should be to replace processed and fast food with real food. Choose foods that are as close as possible to the way nature made them. Choose more single ingredient foods, an apple, an egg, a banana, a potato, all are examples of single-ingredient foods.

Your healthy eating plan should be built around a balance of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

While it is beneficial to limit empty calories from sugars and alcohol, you don’t need to eliminate entire categories of foods from your diet, but choose more healthy options from each of the following categories.

Proteins – Protein supports muscle tissue and repair, energy and brain function. Too little protein can result in muscle wasting, anemia and brittle bones while too much protein can be harmful to your liver and kidneys. Protein is readily available from meat, fish and poultry but may also be found in a variety of plant-based sources or dairy products.

Fats – Until recently, it was thought that all fats are “bad” and excess weight was a result of eating too much fat. We now know that “good fats” from foods like avocados, fish and olive oil provide omega-3 fatty acids that reduce your risk of certain diseases and protect your brain and heart.

Carbohydrates – Carbohydrates are your body’s main source of energy. Carbs fall into two basic categories, simple and complex. Simple carbs are sugars and milk sugars (lactose) that are easily absorbed and cause rapid spikes in your blood sugar and are easily converted to and stored as fat. Complex carbs are unrefined carbohydrates from vegetables, coarse whole grains and many fruits and should make up the majority of your carb intake.

Fiber– Dietary fiber is an extension of complex carbs and comes from whole grains, fruit, vegetables, nuts, and beans. Adding more fiber to your diet can promote healthy elimination, help you stay regular and lower your risk for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

Calcium – Calcium is critical for healthy bones and teeth, prevents weak and brittle bones as you age, allows transmission of signals through your nervous system, and is vital for regulation of your heart’s beat and rhythm. Too little calcium in your diet can cause anxiety, depression, and sleep difficulties. Your healthy diet should include calcium-rich foods in combination with magnesium and vitamins D and K to help the calcium do its job.

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