Be Happy, Feel Beautiful
What’s the secret to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight? Well Belles, I’ll tell you. It is really no secret at all: eat a balanced diet primarily of nutrient rich foods from all the food groups and be physically active every day. That’s really all it takes. If you like your diet you’ll never have to go searching for unhealthy alternatives.
Many people believe that it is difficult to keep a healthy diet, but really they just are not having enough fun with their food. How often do you find your self saying, “I’m giving up carbs” or “no more chocolate for me.” It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. I don’t know about you, but if I gave up chocolate the first thing I would do is crave chocolate. You automatically begin to crave what you restrict from your diet. No more depriving yourself starting now. Use these three simple ways to teach your body to crave a healthy diet.
1. Customize and individualize your diet. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring. Incorporate your personal values into your food choices, and set realistic goals that you know you can accomplish. A perfect example is to cook cultural food. If you’re part of a family that is big on traditional foods then chances are your diet plan is going to be different than someone else’s. Customize your diet according to your lifestyle. There is no “one-size-fits-all” approach to healthy eating. You are unique and therefore your diet approach should be as well.
2. Diversify your diet and include all foods. Remember the food pyramid? The six food groups represent a balanced diet. A perfectly balanced meal usually consists of carbohydrates, protein and fats. Carbohydrates provide quick energy, protein builds muscle, and fat sustains energy for up to four hours. So, yes belles, fat is necessary in a healthy diet. If you’re working out at least three times a week you need fuel your body. Without it, your body will crash. This means when you’re on a strict fitness track you need to be eating more food, not less. Eating meals and snacks that contain carbohydrates, proteins and fats is the best way to feel satisfied and have sustained energy.
Start by including foods from all of the food groups into your diet, such as low-fat milk and dairy products, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats like seafood, eggs and beans to create balanced meals. When you serve your plate of food, take a moment to to make sure at least three food groups are represented. If you have more than one food from a certain group you may want to evaluate your meal. A variety of foods will keep your body healthy and allow you to obtain the necessary vitamins and nutrients you need.
3. Enjoy what you eat. How do you balance weight management and enjoy food at the same time? Taste, flavor, satiety and pleasure are all important parts of eating, and these factors should be a part of your healthy eating plan. Combine some of your favorite snacks with healthy ones. For example, do you love ice cream? Instead of packing on the artificial syrups, try actual fruits with your ice cream. If you’re eating something you don’t like, you will hate the idea of “healthy eating.” Get creative! Learn how to cook dishes you will love. Thousands of delicious recipes provide nutrients and creativity. With some savvy meal planning and preparation, you can balance your diet across all five food groups and still include some of those “indulgences” without feeling guilty.
The main reason why we crave unhealthy foods is because we usually cave into them. The more we take in junk food, the more our bodies will need it. A lot of the foods we think we can’t do without are just what we’ve trained our bodies to crave over time. They are habitual like any other habit. This means you can retrain your brain and body to crave healthier foods if you replace less healthy foods with nutrient-rich ones. Start by replacing your afternoon candy habit with organic fruits like grapes, berries and melon. Gradually continue to implement this habit, and eventually you will start to crave fruit instead of candy.