There is so much information available on dietary choices it is hard to keep them all straight. Experts sometimes report what seems to be the direct opposite advice. Who should we trust? Can we really make sense of all these ideas and how can we make practical changes that will really contribute to our long term health?
First, lets take a look at what almost all experts agree upon. Believe it or not, there are some simple guidelines that do make sense for healthier food choices. The good foods to choose list is a good place to start. Not surprisingly this list starts with the basic “God-made” foods we humans were designed to function best with. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Did you know in order to keep from being deficient in essential vitamins and minerals we have to eat 2 to 3 fruit servings, 4 to 6 vegetable servings and 5 to 11 whole grain servings every day? That is why I recommend a daily multiple vitamin and mineral supplement to make sure all the bases get covered.
The next most commonly agreed upon dietary recommendation is to include low or no fat dairy. Of course, dairy allergies are among the most common food allergies so proceed with caution here. Most experts also agree that we should try to include more beans, if you haven’t already included them as part of your vegetable group. Another food group worth adding on a daily basis is nuts and seeds. Once again being aware of very common nut allergies if you happen to be allergic. Finally, experts agree we should try to eat more seafood.
As important as what we should eat more of, is what we should eat only in moderation or avoid as much as we can. As far as moderation goes, most would recommend red meat only in moderation. Did you know a serving of meat should only be about 3 or 4 ounces which is surprisingly about the size of a deck of card. Processed meats should be avoided as much as possible.
As far as foods to be avoided the consensus is very strong. Foods with a high sugar content such as sweets and processed, refined grains show up here. These include white breads, cookies, cakes, doughnuts and pastas which should certainly be consumed in much smaller quantities if at all. You can also add to that list of foods to be avoided high fat foods, especially those that are fried.
So, what is a healthy diet? Its one that contains a variety of nutrient rich foods which means plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, sea foods and nuts and seeds. A good general rule is if your diet is helping you maintain a healthy weight and includes these foods, it is most likely good for you. A great way to get started is to include real, non-processed foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains with every meal. You will find yourself less hungry, more satisfied and much healthier in the process.