So it’s early afternoon and I’ve finally managed to escape to my fav coffee cave and write. WHY is it so hard to get it done sometimes? Not for lack of ideas or clever creativeness but some days are just hard to make it happen.
I’m making it happen today… doing it before you decide I’ve given up on this idea of writing.
I’m glaringly aware that my computer informs me today is November 2 and there are a few thoughts that accompany that awareness.
First, wow, October sailed by. Of course I ended the month like many playing dress up for Halloween and hanging with my kids getting free candy from people who had nothing better to do than sit in their driveways all evening 😉
Then of course, with the arrival of November there are thoughts of Thanksgiving now dancing in my head. There will be plotting and planning for all of the goodies that go with that day.
BUT before Thanksgiving or anything else…. gulp.. this is the month of my duathlon. Actually 17 days out from this point. It’s hard to not see it staring me down but ready or not… it’s coming.
Ok.. more on that later….
November definitely makes me think about food. It makes me think of the seasonal tasty treats we get to enjoy and the traditions that go with them.
But today I’m thinking about food more along the lines of a healthy diet. What does that mean, exactly? And how do you build one if you don’t know much about it? Maybe you’ve been wanting to eat better but just aren’t sure what goes into a “healthier” daily diet.
Realistically, there’s no one way to eat that’s right for everyone. What works for you, might not work for me.
We’re individual and our likes and needs are varied and different. Our likes can be based on not just our needs but cultural preferences too. A person with health issues, like diabetes, may have to eat differently from someone who doesn’t. So it’s rather broad to say there’s a standard healthy diet that fits everyone.
However, there are some definite building blocks that apply to all of us. With these building blocks you can shape and build your own nutritional plan that works for you.
What is a healthful diet?
it provides the proper combination of energy and nutrients to you each day. It has four characteristics.
It’s adequate, moderate, balanced, and varied.
No matter your age, health, fitness level or weight, if you keep these thoughts in mind you will be able to select foods that give you energy and provide good nutrition to you each day.
A healthy diet is adequate
An adequate diet provides enough of the energy, nutrients, fiber and crucial vitamins and minerals to maintain a persons health. A diet can be inadequate in one area or many areas of a persons daily needs. For example, many people don’t eat enough vegetables and not consuming enough of the fiber and nutrients vegetables provide. Their intake of protein, carbs and fats may be more than adequate, often to many of these calories are consumed and the person is overweight because they eat more than exceeds their energy needs.
Under nutrition can also occur if there are several nutrients ignored for long periods of time.
Also a diet that is adequate for one person may not be adequate for another. As an athletic woman, my caloric needs on many days during the week are vastly different from a woman my age who is sedentary or lightly active. As individuals we would differ greatly in our activity level and our body fat and lean muscle mass making our requirements for fat, carbs, proteins and other nutrients very different.
A healthy diet is one of moderation
Moderation is one of the keys to a healthful diet and I believe one of the most important. Moderation refers to eating any food in moderate amounts, not to much or to little. Eating to much or to little of any foods we cannot reach our health goals.
One example would be people who consume soft drinks. Loaded with empty, non-nutritious calories, it’s an easy way to pack on the pounds if many are consumed each day. Often I’ve seen individuals stop drinking soda and easily drop pounds.
Enjoy a variety of foods and treats, in moderation.
A healthy diet is balanced.
A balanced diet contains foods that provide the proper proportions of nutrients. The body needs many types in varying amounts to maintain health.
A healthy diet is varied
Variety of course refers to eating many foods from all food groups on a regular basis. Often I have people say… “well, I don’t really like to eat….. ( some food)” and I remind them there are lots, and lots of other foods they can choose from that are healthy and provide good nutrients to their body. When you eat a variety of foods it will increase the chance that you are consuming all the vitamins and minerals your body needs. Also, when you eat a varied diet it keeps boredom from setting in which often cause many people to give up because they are tired of the same foods. Enjoy so variety in your daily diet!
A healthy daily diet provides adequate nutrients and it includes sweets, fats, salts, and alcohol in moderate amounts only. A healthy diet includes an appropriate balance of nutrients and a wide variety of foods.
Foods to include in your day would be:
Whole grains, a variety of veggies, fruits, dairy products and protein foods. It’s important to remember protein goes a long way in keeping you satisfied and preventing hunger as well as keeping your blood sugar stable through the day. Make sure you get adequate portions at each meal to feel full and avoid those feelings of “crashing”.
When it comes to vegetables, many people do not come close to getting enough in their daily diet. Learn to experiment with a few new ones each week. Learn different ways to cook them and be willing to explore new options for your health.
Filling your meals with whole foods ( foods as close to being real and not processed as possible) you will be able to meet the majority of your nutritional needs.
The extra stuff.
You need to limit the amount of empty calories you consume. empty calories refer to foods that provide few or no nutrients. You should limit the number of empty calories you consume to a small amount that fits in with your daily requirements. all of which depend on your age, gender and level of activity.
Foods that contain the most empty calories are :
Cakes, cookies, pastries, doughnuts, soft drinks, fruit drinks, pizza, ice cream, hot dogs, fast foods etc. High sugar foods such as candies, desserts, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages are all referred to as empty calorie. ( I know, you’re thinking, that’s all the fun stuff!)
These foods don’t have to be banned, they just shouldn’t be what your daily diet mainly consists of.
Building a healthy and nutritious food plan might take a little work and discipline but with time you will find you can not only eat well, but have some cake too 😉