Healthy eating means many things to many people, and everyone has different goals for the perfect diet. The key to following a healthy diet is to find a diet you can stick with for the rest of your life. A diet should not be simply a temporary change in the way you life, eat and exercise. Rather, it should be a permanent change that you can live with day in and day out, year in and year out.
For some people, a healthy diet can be as simple as increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables in the daily diet. For others, a radical change, involving strict control of fat and cholesterol, may be required.
Of course what is needed will depend on the goal of each individual. The serious runner in search of greater conditioning will of course have different goals than the couch potato who is concerned about the possibility of heart disease.
Even though every person will different goals when it comes to healthy eating, the basic tenets of healthy eating are the same. The most important thing is to eat a good variety of foods, while eating less of the bad stuff and more of the good.
That may sound like an oversimplification, but it really is that easy. Putting that simple concept into proactive, however, is the hard part. Everyone wants to eat healthier, but there are so many temptations in today’s world that healthy eating can be very difficult. The key is to make healthy choices as appealing as unhealthy ones.
One way to make healthy foods appealing is buying a wide variety of exotic fruits at the local supermarket. There are probably varieties of fruits and vegetables at your local grocery store that you never even heard of before. Why not make your next trip to the grocery store an adventure by sampling these exotic offerings?
Experimenting with new recipes is another great way to bring excitement and adventure to healthy eating. A quick perusal of your favorite low fat or healthy eating cookbook will likely present you with many fun and exciting recipes to try. Often a new cookbook, or a couple of new recipes are all it takes to spur a healthier lifestyle.
It is also important to know that eating healthier does not necessarily mean making a radical change. There are very simple things you can do, such as cutting the skin off your chicken breast, or trimming the fat from your favorite steak, that can result in significant fat reductions and health improvements. Dieters should not overlook the importance of these small changes when seeking a healthier diet.
Other examples of small changes resulting in healthier eating include:
- Replacing whole milk with skim or 2%, both in recipes and for drinking
Snacking on sorbet or low fat frozen yogurt instead of premium ice cream
Spraying pans with nonfat cooking spray instead of using butter or margarine (Whole Foods carries a number of organic/all natural versions you can use)
Replacing high fat cuts of meat with leaner ones
Eating more low fat fish and less red meat
Using egg substitutes, the kind made from egg whites, in recipes, meals and baking
There are probably hundreds of other such tips, and they can add up to significant health improvements, whether your goal is to get fit, lose weight or improve your level of health. No matter who you are or what your current level of fitness, eating a healthier diet and losing weight may be easier than you think.
In the end, eating a healthy diet, improving your level of fitness, and managing your consumption of fat and cholesterol boils down to common sense. Depriving yourself of your favorite foods can be counterproductive to a long term dietary change. Deprivation leads inevitably to cravings, and that can start a vicious cycle of dieting and splurging.
It is best to think of healthy eating as a marathon rather than a sprint. The goal of any healthy eating program should be to make easy, lifelong changes in the way you shop, cook and dine. Only by making changes that you can follow for a lifetime will you truly be able to enjoy a healthy diet.