Friday, September 2, 2011

Eating Healthier Doesn't Need to be Complicated or Costly

We all have a dietary Achilles Heel. I’m a carbohydrate junkie and I love desserts, if you remember my Oreo Meltdown blog. So I need to make sure that I get enough protein and watch my sugar intake. Fiber is not an issue because when eating carbohydrates, I try to eat complex carbohydrates, which are higher in fiber.

This may sound complicated and a royal pain, but it’s easier than you think. Learning how to eat healthy in a fast food world is a learning experience and takes time, similar to learning various running training routines, such as intervals, fartleks, hills, and distance.

When I began running again, I naturally began making healthier food choices. First, I stopped eating a bag of...

Peanut M&Ms every Friday night watching a movie. I’m not talking about a small bag either. At the same time, I began wondering whether eating healthier would break the bank. Knowing the way I approach things, with my extreme behavior, it would. A little knowledge can be dangerous for obsessive types.

Organic this and that. Only free range chickens. Watch out for pesticides. You cannot wash the foods enough to get toxins off. If you don’t get them off, you’ll grow another limb; just kidding. All the information we get bombarded with is enough to make anyone crazy so I needed to pull back and relax; simplify.  

Achieving a healthy eating lifestyle doesn’t mean being obsessed with counting calories; eating cardboard-like breads; bland tasting foods; or eating strictly organic. My neighbor told me that even free range chickens can be treated harshly. So much for trustworthy packaging? Check out this article:

After I made smarter choices, I’m convinced that eating healthy can be reasonable and even lower income people who are economically disadvantaged can make healthier choices. Granted, they can’t be excessive, buying the best of everything, but taking the steps to learn and make a commitment to try is a tremendous step.

You don’t need to go cold turkey and strictly eat organic foods or cut out sugars and fats completely. Get out of the box with thinking and move away from quick fix microwaveable, high sodium, high fat meals. I’m floored with what I’m eating when I read processed food labels. Believe it or not there is a middle, sensible healthy road to follow.

Here are my suggestions:
  • Reduce the number of times you eat out. I tend to eat more when eating out and restaurant food is loaded with fats and sodium. Don’t “super size” me!
  • Avoid quick-fix microwave meals. These things are loaded with sodium and or fat.
  • Get off the soft drinks and drop the frappuccinos and lattes. Kids drinking soft drinks is the #1 reason for childhood obesity. My gosh, frappuccinos even have their own Website.
  • By eating less, you can afford more. For example, instead of eating eight ounces of meat, eat four, than you can afford a side dish or vegetables or salad.
  • Spend your hard-earned money at a discount store instead of the high-end food chain. They have the similar fruits, vegetables, frozen, and canned foods.
  • Buy store brands instead of named labels. For example, I buy store brand chick peas and pasta
  • Buy produce in season and look for discounts.
  • If using oil to cook, use olive, safflower, or canola oils.
  • Stay well-hydrated by drinking water.

Here is the USDA Food Plate for more detail:

You don’t need to be obsessive about what goes in your mouth. Enjoy a good pizza out once in awhile or have dessert; not a flat or Oreos or a large bag of M&Ms. That being said, be more aware, make a commitment to learn something about nutrition, and make an effort to take care of yourself.

Bon Appetite!

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