Food fuels your body and your brain. It has a dramatic impact on how you look, feel, and age. Who you are tomorrow, next month, or a year from now, is related to the foods you choose each day. It’s important to engage in healthy eating habits now for an active and hearty lifestyle for years to come.

Many of us grew up on fast food, processed foods, or family ‘comfort food’ meals. But, today, we know these fried foods and fatty cuts of meat and potatoes smothered with butter and gravy are not healthy for us. Vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and fish are best.

The core principles of healthy eating are similar to what our ancestors used, and many thrive today with this traditional style of eating, think the Mediterranean diet or Paleo like way of eating

Enjoying a healthful diet isn’t difficult, and it can be fun to try new recipes and experiment with varied spices and cuisines. It’s not a diet in the popular modern media sense, it’s a diet in the traditional sense, a lifelong way of eating.

Change slowly and give yourself time to adjust. You’re doing this for the long-term, not just a few weeks or months. Don’t worry about being perfect, just strive for 80 – 90% adherence. Your nutrition intake will balance out if your overall healthy eating pattern is good.

Food for Energy

A quality food program includes foods high in nutrient density while low in calorie density. Meaning the foods provide substantial amounts of nutrients with only the necessary amount of calories – large quantities of vital nutrients per 100 calories.

Those nutrients include:

  • Protein
  • Fat
  • Carbohydrates
  • Vitamins
  • Minerals
  • Water

Nutrient-dense foods include veggies, fruits, and chicken breasts, turkey breasts, and other lean protein. Foods low in nutrient density are items such as donuts, soft drinks, cookies, crackers, and ice cream.

Since you eat food, not just nutrients though, let’s look at some ways to help you incorporate healthy food in an enjoyable manner for a lifelong diet. These guidelines are intended for healthy people, so for those with medical conditions consult your doctor for additional guidance.

Healthy Eating

Make a great meal tonight using this flexible plan below. It incorporates good flavors so meals will taste great and be healthy for you too. Consider cooking meals in a slow cooker or one pot for timesaving and less mess as well.

Start With Choosing Protein, Carbs, and Healthy Fats
Select one ingredient from each of the four columns below:
Protein Vegetable Smart Carb Healthy Fat
Beans Broccoli Spaghetti Squash Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Eggs Red Cabbage Red Potatoes Walnut Oil
Chicken Breast Green Beans Sweet potatoes Sesame Oil
Steak Bok Choy Brown Rice Avocado Oil
Shrimp Spinach Quinoa Canola Oil
Red Lentils Kale Chickpeas Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
Greek Yogurt Eggplant Bulgur Butter
Scallops Carrots Plantain Raw Avocado
Salmon Brussels Sprouts Butternut Squash Chopped Almonds
Pork Tenderloin Bell Peppers Spelt Chopped Peanuts

Portion Your Ingredients

The guidelines for males are two palm-sized servings of protein, two fists sized servings of vegetables, 2 cupped hand sized servings of smart carbs, and two thumb-sized servings of healthy fats. For females use one-half of the male servings.

Adjust portions up or down according to how active you are, how frequently you eat, and your particular size and calorie needs.

Make additional servings for leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day.

Choose a Flavor Profile

Select a flavor profile and use at least three of the ingredients in your dish.

Italian French Mexican Japanese Thai
Oregano Tarragon Cilantro Miso Cilantro
Basil Thyme Cumin Sesame Seeds Mint
Fennel Rosemary Cocoa Seaweed Thai Basil
Capers Bay Leaf Jalapeno Pickled Radish Ginger
Anchovies Black Pepper Chipotle Ginger Lime
Olives Lemon Lime Yuzu Chiles
Orange Green Onion
Lemongrass
         
Moroccan Indian Caribbean Southwest Spanish
Cardamom Cumin Cinnamon Cumin Paprika
Saffron Fenugreek Allspice Coriander Parsley
Cinnamon Coriander Nutmeg Cilantro Bay Leaf
Anise Turmeric Cloves Mint Saffron
Cayenne Curry Powder Lime Chiles Olives
Cumin Ginger Scotch Bonnets Pepper Orange
Preserved Lemon Fresh Curry Leaf Pickled Mango Lime Guindilla Peppers

Cook, plate and serve.

Mix and match the ingredients above and let your imagination flow.

Try Thai 3 Ways:

·       Shrimp with coconut brown rice and bok choy

·       Chicken with eggplant, spelt, and peanuts

·       Steak with broccoli and spaghetti squash

Mexican 3 Ways:

·       Chicken with spinach and quinoa

·       Salmon with bell peppers and plantain

·       Beans with carrots, brown rice, and avocado

Try A Slow Cooker Pot Roast

Ingredients:

 4         lb boneless beef shoulder pot roast, trimmed of fat

4         dashes salt & pepper

2         tsp thyme, dried

2         cloves garlic, minced

64       baby carrots (about 21 oz)

2         lbs yellow potatoes, peeled & cut

Directions:

Place the pot roast in your slow cooker and sprinkle with salt, pepper, & thyme.

  1. Add carrots and potatoes around the roast.
  2. Cook on low for about 8 hours, or on high for about 5 hours. Serve & Enjoy!

Develop Your Healthy Eating Plan

Moving to a healthier eating plan may seem daunting so keep these things in mind:

  • Eat vegetables at all meals. In salads, side dishes, soups, and add veggies to your sandwich or wrap.
  • When craving something sweet, eat a serving of fruit to satisfy the craving.
  • When eating meat, it’s best to choose organic, grass-fed, and hormone-free, to maximize nutrients without harmful antibiotics, hormones, etc.
  • Stock healthy food choices that are ready to eat and go. Nuts, seeds, and fruit are great for ‘grab and go’ snacks.
  • Eating healthy food on at regular intervals will help you avoid unhealthy choices so never leave the house without food when you’ll be gone for more than 2 hours.

For busy mornings this is my favorite time saver meal hack, a super smoothie:

Pick a liquid, 4-8 ounces, less for thicker shake and more for thinner shakes

  • Water
  • Almond Milk (unsweetened)
  • Coconut Milk (unsweetened)
  • Cow’s milk
  • Soy milk (unsweetened)
  • Hemp milk (unsweetened)
  • Green iced tea (unsweetened)

Choose a protein powder; one scoop is usually sufficient

  • Whey protein
  • Casein protein
  • Rice protein
  • Hemp protein
  • Pea protein
  • Bone broth protein
  • Other protein/protein blend

Pick a vegetable, 1-2 handfuls of raw or roasted veggies:

  • Dark leafy greens like kale or spinach
  • Pumpkin
  • Sweet potato
  • Beets
  • Cucumber
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Or powdered green supplement

Pick a fruit, 1-2 handfuls of fresh or frozen fruit

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • Cherries
  • Pineapple
  • Mango
  • Cantaloupe

Choose a healthy fat, 1-2 thumb-sized portions

  • Avocado
  • Almond butter or other nut butter
  • Walnuts
  • Flax, hemp, or chia seeds
  • Cashews
  • Almonds
  • Coconut Oil

Optional

  • Add greek yogurt for additional protein and smoother texture
  • Add oats for additional carbs
  • Sprinkle with cinnamon or chocolate shavings for extra zip
  • Add ice if using fresh, not frozen fruit

Blend all ingredients in a good blender and enjoy as an excellent meal replacement when you are short on time.

(c) Can Stock Photo / ikophotos

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