It seems that every year or so, there’s a new “breakthrough” diet that will accomplish great things for your body and health. The current craze is the gluten-free diet, but the fact is that except for the 1% of the US population who have Celiac disease, gluten is not necessarily unhealthy or harmful.
So what is “healthy eating”? It’s not complicated; below you’ll find the three basics of eating healthfully.
Eat whole, unprocessed foods. A “whole food” is any food you eat in its natural (unprocessed) state. For example, a baked potato with its skin on is a whole food; once you add butter and milk to make mashed potatoes you are no longer eating a whole food. A boiled egg is a whole food; a scrambled egg is not.
The vast majority of breakfast cereals and breads found in grocery stores are not whole foods because in the processing of the grains most of the natural nutrients have been stripped.
Examples of whole foods are all fresh fruits and vegetables; items labeled “100% whole wheat” (not simply “wheat”); nuts, beans, seeds, milk, eggs and certain cuts of meat, fish and poultry. If there are any additives, or if any processing has occurred, it is not considered a whole food.
Whole foods are healthy because they are “nutrient dense”, meaning that you receive a great deal of nutrients relative to the amount of calories you consume. Whole foods make you feel fuller, so you eat less.
Choose whole grains. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, whole (unprocessed) grains are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, plant enzymes and healthy fats. Once processed, grains lose more than half of their nutrient value.
By law, foods like bread and cereal can only be labeled “100% Whole Wheat” if the entire wheat berry is used, with no refining or processing. If bread is labeled as “wheat bread” that just means that some wheat flour is used, making it similar to white bread, with few nutrients.
Watch your beverage intake. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 37% of our total daily calories come from sugar-sweetened drinks. This includes coffee beverages, energy drinks, soda, coffee beverages, and even 100% fruit juice. The calories in these drinks are all sugar, with essentially no nutritional value. Not only are these beverages unhealthy, the empty calories do not make you feel full at all. Eliminating sugar drinks is one of the easiest ways to eat healthfully.
If you’ve started on the path of healthy eating and want to incorporate more movement into your daily routine, contact us. We’re here to support you in all of your fitness goals.