Simple Nutritional Planning for a Healthy Diet

By Janet Luhrs,

Living a fit and healthy life is something that takes proactivity and planning.  However, sometimes… well…ok, quite OFTEN our busy schedules make  planning for our meals a bit of a challenge.

So let me swoop in and make it easy for you, by showing you how to pare meal planning down to the basics. Pay close attention here because if you make this easy, you’ll be way more likely to make healthy choices and keep it up.

Here’s a big factor that torpedoes a healthy diet: looking at food options as a long list of do’s and don’ts.  Too often this restrictive approach leads to negativity around food and erratic success. Unless you have allergic or other health reasons to restrict certain foods, adopt an approach of balance and wisdom. Here are some easy tips:

Eat Fat! Yep, you read that right. Make sure you choose good fats that are heart healthy such as polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats. These fats are found in olives, almonds avocados, pumpkin seeds and oils such as olive, peanut, and canola. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in trout, salmon, flaxseed and walnuts.

Protein: the most basic building block of the human body and essential to our immune systems, hormones, tissue repair, and building muscle is protein. Animal proteins are fish and poultry. Red meats are good protein sources, as well, but take care to limit those due to higher levels of fat to protein ratios that can also raise cholesterol. Again, no need to put steaks on the forbidden list, just stay in moderation. Consult the USDA recommendations for how much protein for your age, sex, and activity level.

Carbs, carbs, and more carbs!  Yes, they are ok!  Again, consumed in moderation and make sure you choose good vs bad carbs. Your body needs carbs to burn for energy. Chose those that are nutrient rich such as whole grains and complex carbs such as brown rice, quinoa, legumes, vegetables and fruits. Stay away from processed “empty” carbs such as desserts, white bread, and rice, and fruit juices. (Eat a piece of fruit instead of juice.)

The other factors to consider are adequate vitamin and mineral intake, keeping sugars to a minimum, and consuming enough water.  Regarding vitamins, make every effort to consume most of your vitamins through the unprocessed, healthy foods you consume. Supplements should be considered…supplemental, not the prime source. Make sure you are consuming the 13 essentials for optimal health.

All sugars, natural (such as honey and fruit sugars) are metabolized the same in your body. Fruit sugars and honey are a better choice for your tea or other drinks due to the added nutritional benefit. But too much is still too much.

Too much sugar intake weakens your immune system and provides the best environment for bacteria to grow which promotes inflammation and weight gain.

Keep these simple facts in mind as you make informed choices about your nutritional plan and you are well on you way to a full and vital healthy lifestyle.

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