Initiating healthy meal plans does not mean planning rigid, non flexible, bland and boring meals. It’s not about starving yourself to the point of tears, or staying unrealistically thin. Quite the contrary, it’s about feeling great, having energy that lasts all day long, sleeping soundly throughout the night, and being as healthy as you can be. It’s about reducing your risk of the diseases falsely considered to be part of the aging process. This can all be accomplished effortlessly by shifting gradually to a simple, healthy eating menu.
1 – Don’t Instantly Drop Your Current Eating Habits
Make your transition to healthy meal plans a gradual, step by step process. If you commit to making the change in small, manageable steps, you’ll be eating healthy before you know it.
Instead of being concerned with counting calories or measuring portions, think of changing your diet in terms of color, freshness, and variety. Find recipes that call for fresh fruits and vegetables. Little by little, your diet will become healthier and more delicious.
Remember, make this change gradual, not overnight. Start out by adding a colorful vegetable salad to one meal every day for a few weeks. Then, maybe add fresh fruit as dessert. Make the transition gradual.
Every change you make to your diet matters. You don’t have to be perfect or instantly eliminate foods you enjoy. Your long term goal is to feel good, have energy, and reduce your chances of diabetes, heart disease, or cancer.
Think of water and exercise as integral parts of your new transition.
Your body needs, clean, clear water. Not so-called fruit juice (unless it’s freshly squeezed), and especially not coffee. Many people go through life dehydrated because they drink very little water or coffee almost exclusively. Your digestive system needs a lot of water to function efficiently as do all body organs. These so-called fruit juices are full of sugar, flavorings, and preservatives that your body can’t digest so it stores them as fat. Coffee is nothing more than an addictive drug that dehydrates your body. Coffee is the biggest drug habit in the world.
Also, the human body was built for movement, not the sedentary lifestyle most people live today. Choose an activity you enjoy and make it a part of your daily routine, even two or three times a day.
2 – The Secret is Moderation
The key in changing to a healthy diet is moderation. Your body always needs a balance of carbohydrates, protein, fat, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Don’t think of some foods as being off limits, think of smaller portions and eating them less often.
3 – How You Eat
It’s not what you eat, it’s how you eat. Slow down, think about food as nourishment, not something to be gulped down while you're rushing from here to there. And, eat breakfast. Get out of bed every morning, do some light exercising to escalate your heart rate and open up your lungs, then eat a light, healthy breakfast. Your body wants exercise and it wants breakfast. It’s gone without food for several hours so your organs need nourishment to wake up and start functioning.
4 – Color Is The Secret
Fruits and vegetables are the secret ingredient in a healthy diet. They are loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. You say you don’t like vegetables? Work fresh vegetables into your diet little by little. You will soon acquire a taste for vegetables because your body wants and needs them.
Green vegetables provide calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, zinc, vitamins A, C, E and K, and they help strengthen the blood and respiratory systems. Sweet vegetables help eliminate your craving for sweets. Corn, carrots, beets, sweet potatoes or yams, winter squash, and onions are all examples of sweet vegetables. A wide variety of fruit is essential to a healthy diet. Berries fight cancer, apple's supply fiber, and citrus fruits are full of vitamin C.
5 – Eat Healthy Carbs
When most people think of carbohydrates, they think of breads, potatoes, pastas, and rice. It’s true, these are carbohydrates, however these are unhealthy, starchy carbohydrates. They break down to glucose very quickly making your blood sugar and insulin levels very erratic. Fruits, vegetables, and whole wheat grains are sources of healthy carbs. Notice, I said whole wheat grains, not whole wheat bread.
6 – Healthy Fats vs Unhealthy Fats
Fats are a necessary part of your diet, however there are healthy and unhealthy fats. You need healthy fat to nourish your brain, heart, hair, skin, and nails. Omega-3 and Omega-6 fats in salmon, herring, mackerel, and sardines are vital to your diet. Fats you need to start reducing from your diet are trans fats and saturated fats.
7 – Protein
Protein supplies the necessary amino acids we need for building muscle tissue, strengthening our immune system, our heart, and respiratory system. Protein also helps in stabilizing blood sugar levels. When we think of protein, we commonly think of red meat, make it lean red meat. Other sources of protein to work into your healthy diet are salmon and other fresh fish, and turkey.
8 – Your Body Needs Calcium
Of course dairy products are the obvious source of calcium. However, leafy green vegetables are an excellent source of calcium. Beans are also rich in calcium.
9 – Sugar and Salt
Sugar and salt are necessary for our survival, however they must be taken in moderation. Sugar and salt are hidden in many of our processed foods today. Foods like bread, canned soups and vegetables, spaghetti sauce, margarine, instant mashed potatoes, frozen dinners, fast food, soy sauce, and ketchup. Again, for a smooth transition, ween these foods from your diet gradually.
10 – Plans Meal Ahead
Plan your meals by the week, or even by the month. Planning your meals removes the impulse to grab something simple and easy, and unhealthy.
Conclusion – Your Healthy Eating Menu
Remember, healthy eating does not mean being saddled to a strict, boring regimen. It means having more energy, sleeping better at night, and reducing your risk of diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and other ailments erroneously attributed to simply growing older. Make your transition gradual and you’ll be enjoying healthy meal plans before you know it.
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