We’ve all been told we have to “eat right” in order to be healthy, but what does that really mean? Is there a certain way to eat, or is that just an expression people use to encourage healthier eating? The truth is that there’s no set rules for eating right, but there are a number of guidelines to follow:
Cut Back on Salt, Alcohol, Sugar, and Processed Foods
Salt is going to raise your blood pressure and throw off your electrolyte balance if consumed in excess. Alcohol leads to weight gain, slow digestion, a slow metabolism, and reduced overall fitness. Sugar is the first thing to be turned into fat, and a high sugar intake can lead to diabetes and other health problems. Processed foods contain very little in the way of nutrition, but tend to be high in calories. They’re the foods to avoid if you want to “eat right”.
Limit Portion Sizes
There is such a thing as “too much”, even of healthy foods. Your goal is to consume a moderate amount of calories per day, and that is only possible if you limit the amount of food you eat at each meal. Make sure that your portions are small enough that you don’t overdo it on the meals. You’ll be far less likely to gain weight that way.
Go for Variety
The more variety of colors, textures, and flavors, the better! Each color comes with its own unique benefits: orange often delivers a lot of Vitamins A and C, green is an excellent source of fiber, and red is usually packed with vitamins and antioxidants. Try to get more color in your daily diet, and you’ll give your body the variety of nutrients it needs to be healthy.
Raw is Best
There’s almost no way you can eat too much raw produce, veggies in particular. Fruits tend to be high in sugar, but veggies are an amazing source of fiber, minerals, vitamins, and other important nutrients. You should strive to eat as much raw food as possible!
Stock Up on Whole Grains
Brown rice, whole wheat flour, quinoa, barley, spelt, bulgur, and oats are just a few of the whole grains you should be trying to eat more of. A serving or two of these whole grains with your meals can help to fill you up, and they’ll deliver the fiber and carbs your body needs to function.
Eat More Fatty Foods
In this case, “fatty” refers to foods with natural fats—nuts, seeds, avocadoes, coconuts, olives, fish, chicken, and even beef. Fat is good for your body, as it signals that you are getting enough calories to not be going into “starvation mode”. It will encourage your body to let go of the fats you have stored, encouraging more effective fat burning in the long run.
Balance Your Electrolytes
In this modern era, it’s all too easy to consume sodium, but it’s harder to get potassium than you’d think. Too much sodium can lead to water retention, high blood pressure, and a host of other health problems. Try to cut back on sodium but get more potassium in your diet. Focus on foods like bananas, citrus fruits, yogurt, beans, and potatoes, all of which contain a lot of potassium.
Liquid Calories Count
Drinking juice and soda will only add to your daily calorie intake, but will do very little for your overall health. It’s estimated that up to 20% of the average person’s calories come from beverages. Watch what you drink, and stick with water as much as possible.