What Should I Eat?
As a Registered Dietitian, I get asked all the time ~ What should I eat? When looking at healthy eating habits, the key is to follow a set of healthy guidelines that keep your individual lifestyle in mind. There are so many factors that play into not only what your body requires for healthy, but your ability to integrate healthy eating habits into your daily life.
There is no one diet that is works for everyone. There are, however, nutrition guidelines that are proven to support good health and fuel your body well. Here are the principles that guide my healthy eating philosophy:
Fuel Your Body Throughout the Day
Your body needs consistent energy throughout the day. Start your day with a nutritious breakfast. From that point, fuel your body every 3-4 hours with meals or snacks. Eating well balanced, consistent meals and snacks with keep you energized and feeling your best.
Eat Fresh, Whole Foods
A healthy diet consists of foods in their most natural form. This includes lots of fruits and vegetables – at least 5 a day – and plenty of nuts, seeds, legumes, and whole grains.
Limit Processed Foods
Strive to eat foods that don’t have things added like preservatives, sweeteners, and artificial ingredients. Similarly, limit foods that have ingredients that have been taken away like refined grains that have been stripped of their fiber rich bran and germ. When it comes to a packaged food, the fewer ingredients the better.
Keep Your Proteins Lean
Focus on lean meats, poultry without skin, and seafood. And don’t forget other great sources of lean protein like nuts, seeds, soy protein, and eggs. This also includes low fat and non-fat dairy sources like milk and yogurt.
Watch the 3 “S’s”
Limit your intake of sugar, saturated fat, and sodium. The easiest thing to do is to get in the habit of reading food labels. Noticing these ingredients and start to make changes to reduce them. You will automatically reduce non-nutritious calories while taking better care of your heart.
These guidelines will have you well on your way to a healthy diet. Keep in mind that a healthy lifestyle is also all about balance. Make good choices most of the time and commit to journey. You don’t have to be perfect.
Sarah Marjoram, MS, RDN, LD
A nutrition education and communications expert with over 17 years of nutrition consulting experience.