Many Americans are faced with the struggle everyday on how to eat healthy….but what does that really mean? Incorporating diet changes into your lifestyle can be on of the most difficult challenges you can face, so it is best to start with small changes and once you have adjusted to those, then add some more. Trying to change your dietary habits too quickly can lead to failure, so it’s best to set a list of priorities that you need to work on first and go with a step by step process.
As you may be aware, the current standard for how Americans should be eating is represented by the My Plate. This is a guideline on what every meal should look like. Half of your plate should contain half fruits and vegetables, with a quarter of the plate being protein and a quarter being grains. It is also important to get in a dairy product with every meal for calcium. The easiest way to achieve this is by drinking a glass of milk with every meal rather than a soda or juice.
Eating a healthy diet is not so much about what you are eating, but rather getting a balance and variety of foods that will provide you with all the macro and micro nutrients that your body needs. It is okay to have snack foods in your diet as long as you are going about it in the right way, such as making sure that you have covered all of your food groups and that you aren’t going excessively over on your calories. When choosing foods, try to get every color of the rainbow in, if you always eat fruits and vegetables of the same color, you may be missing out on key nutrients, so if you are eating all different colored foods, you are much more likely to be covering all the bases. Also, try to slowly work towards a low fat milk and water as being your drinks of choice so that you are not adding unnecessary calories and sugar to your diet.
Eating healthy is not the only change that people should incorporate into their lives though. There are immense health benefits when people add exercise to their healthy eating, such as improved cardiovascular and respiratory health as well as possible weight loss. Eating healthy can help to lower blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol, as well as give your body the energy it needs to function from good sources. As I mentioned before, making dietary changes can be big adjustments to get used to, but so can adding exercise into your daily routine. Make sure to exercise to your body’s ability and not to over do it when you begin, everyone starts at a different fitness level, so don’t feel pressured into doing more than your body is ready for. Try to make small changes of exercise into your day so that you may not even realize you are exercising at first. Some ideas of this could be taking the stairs instead of the elevator and parking farther away from the store than normal so you have to walk farther.
Remember, make small changes that will set you up for success and only do what your body is ready for.
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