Generally accepted ideas of a healthy diet have changed over the years, yet in many ways they've come full circle. Today most experts would agree that natural whole foods--unrefined and grown without chemical pesticides or fertilizers--are your most nutritious and safest choice. And this advice, too, may sound familiar: avoid sweets, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, avoid animal fats, eat slowly, don\'t stuff yourself.
Along with such familiar axioms come some newer recommendations:
- Eat a good breakfast to boost your energy for an active morning when you can burn off those calories as without storing them as fat.
- Eat low-carbohydrate, high-protein snacks between meals. Peanuts, walnuts, and toasted soybeans make excellent snacks. If you crave something sweet, eat an apple or an orange--or maybe some raisins or dates.
- At meals, keep the portions small. Drink a glass of water a half hour before lunch and dinner to signal your stomach that food is coming; then eat slowly, chewing your food thoroughly before swallowing. Forgo dessert.
- When you eat carbohydrates, consider their glycemic index value. Eat whole grains, whole fruits and vegetables. Because they contain dietary fibers, you digest them more slowly than their refined counterparts, with less likelihood that your insulin will spike and more likelihood that you will burn off the calories as energy rather than storing them as fat.
- Speaking of fat, some is okay, even essential, to include in your diet. But not saturated animal fats. The Omega 3 fatty acids found in many cold water fish, such as salmon and sardines, are good for your circulatory system. Use cold-pressed vegetable oils, especially olive oil to replace butter whenever possible, including cooking. Flaxseed oil contains an excellent ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 fatty acids and is very good for you. And avoid all foods containing trans fats or hydrogenated oils.
- Eat a light, well-balanced supper. Then get up and move around. Wash the dishes. Go for a short walk. Do some gardening. Just don't, please, sit down in front of the tv and snack away the evening.
- If you must snack after supper, have something light and healthy before retiring.
Keep a food journal for a week. In it, record what you eat each day and what time you eat it. At the end of the week, write a paragraph about your eating habits for that week and how you think they impact your overall health. If you find this activity helpful, do it again the following week. You can keep this food journal in your Blog.