What Does It Mean to Eat Healthier?

healthy eatingWhat does healthy eating mean to you, personally?

Eating healthier means different things to all of us. For one person, it might mean cutting out animal products and eating strictly organic vegan food. For another, it might mean eating out no more than a couple times a week and learning to cook.

Transforming your eating habits is a process, and you can’t expect to be perfect overnight. Eating healthier means striving to avoid unhealthy food most of the time. Only you can decide what it means to decrease unhealthy food and add healthy food. Your doctor or nutritionist can help, but you must live with your new eating habits, so your plan must be realistic.

We’ve seen people stop eating certain foods cold turkey, and while it works for some, for others it’s a recipe for disaster. When you deprive yourself of foods you love, you may reach a point where you have an overwhelming craving for that food, and then you’re likely to binge, or eat a large amount at one sitting.

We recommend that instead of cutting out favorite foods completely, allow small portions occasionally, or find an acceptable substitute. One example is moving from eating large amounts of milk chocolate daily to small amounts of dark chocolate a few times a week. Another example is limiting yourself to one soda a day.

When you’re ready to change your diet for the better, you can start with these tips:

  • Think about how you eat now. Look at how often you eat processed food, such as frozen pizza, versus food in its natural state, such as fruit. Generally, the less often you eat processed food, the better.
  • Keep a food diary for two weeks. You’ll see where you can improve, and you’ll have a good idea of exactly what you’re eating.
  • Visit www.healthfinder.gov, www.healthypeople.gov, and www.mypyramid.gov for more information on healthy eating and ways to change your eating habits.
  • Decide what you can and cannot live with when it comes to healthy eating, and start with small steps such as reducing sugar intake. Once you’re comfortable with that, add another small change to your diet.

Remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint. Make minor changes gradually, and you’ll still enjoy eating while you work toward your goals. Use your doctor and nutritionist for help and guidance.

What steps to improve your diet are you considering? If you’ve already taken steps to change your eating, please share in our comments section.