What does it mean to eat better

What does it mean to eat better? Eating better is changing some less healthy eating habits for healthier ones. That’s all. It’s not as difficult, uncomplicated or unappealing as we’re led to believe.

This may include getting fewer calories, more nutrients, healthier ways to prepare food and possibly eating less processed foods and more whole foods. U.S. Dietary guidelines even include physical activity as part of healthy eating habits. This is because activity burns calories.

shutterstock_562059184

In order to get all the nutrients you need daily from the food you eat, you will need to burn some of those calories with physical activity to enable you to lose or even maintain your weight. If you don’t burn enough of the calories you’re getting from the food you eat you will gain weight. Gaining weight usually isn’t an indicator of eating better.

Eating better doesn’t mean that everything you eat needs to be naturally low in calories and nutrient dense. The foundation, or the foods from which you get most of your calories need to fit this description, but that still leaves a bit of room for foods that don’t. Eating better doesn’t mean it’s necessary to give up pleasure or satisfaction with food.

No one food is so nutritious that it can supply 100% of our nutritional requirements. No food is so good for the human body that it alone can provide all the nutrients needed for good health.

Studies have shown that a cup of blueberries a day can be the key to reducing blood pressure and arterial stiffness, both of which are associated with cardiovascular disease. This is good news about blueberries, but blueberries aren’t such a superfood that eating only blueberries can supply your body with all its nutritional needs. Eating better is eating a variety of foods to get adequate amounts of the macronutrients and micronutrients we need for good health.

On the other hand no food is so bad for you, unless it happens to be tainted with a deadly bacteria such as salmonella or botulinum toxin, that eating it occasionally, can make you sick or ruin your health.

This is bad food. It will make you sick.

This is bad food. It will make you sick.

Bacon is an extremely popular food and one that is often regarded as causing early death. It appears on many of the “unhealthiest foods you can eat” lists. It comes from pigs, it’s a cured meat, it’s high in sodium and saturated fat. 

Despite all of the reasons why bacon should be avoided, you can easily search and find that every reason why bacon is dangerously unhealthy is a myth. Many nutrition scientists agree that bacon in moderation won’t harm your health.

Moderation is a subjective word. What’s moderation? Moderation in bacon eating is 3 strips, about 1 ounce, no more than once a week. It’s also recommended if you eat bacon weekly it’s a good idea to cut back on other processed or luncheon meats.

10 better eating guidelines

1. Eating better isn’t giving up pleasure from food. Never eat anything you don’t like because it’s “good for you.” There are other foods with the same good things in them and you actually enjoy them. Mackerel is a greasy, fishy fish and a good source of omega 3 fatty acids. Walnuts are a delightful treat and full of the same omega 3 fatty acids.
2. If you need an in-between meal snack make it your favorite vegetables and fruits instead of refined carbs such as cookies, crackers of chips that often have a lot of added sugar and fat.
3. Choose whole grains over refined grains as often as possible.
4. Be sure to get adequate sources of lean proteins. 56 grams for men and 46 grams for women if you’re sedentary. Eat more if you’re active. Good sources include meat, poultry, fish, and legumes.
5. Milk was once considered an important part of a healthy diet. Then skim milk was recommended over whole milk with its saturated fat. New research refutes the need for strong bones and teeth. If you like it, a cup or two a day is okay but it can add 300 calories to your total calories for the day. Even 2 cups of skim milk provides 180 calories. Those calories could be more satisfying if eaten as solid foods.
6. Know your fats. Some are better for you than others. Monounsaturated fats are the best kind and guess what? They’re found in bacon. Most people think of nuts, olive oil and avocados as sources of the fats that can actually help to lower your cholesterol. Saturated fats, those that come from animal sources and are solid at room temperature are part of a healthy diet too, but in much smaller amounts. It’s recommended that fat is no more than 30% of total daily calories and saturated fat is only 10% of total fat calories.
7. You can still eat treats and be eating better. Treats aren’t a guilty pleasure. They’re part of a healthful diet when enjoyed sparingly. No need to feel guilty about having a little treat daily or saving up for a bigger treat a few times a week.
8. Portion control is more important to a healthful diet than any single food choice.
9. Baking, roasting and steaming foods are generally better than pan or deep frying for reducing fat and maintaining essential nutrients when preparing food. Eating fruit and vegetables raw is often the best way to get full value of their vitamins and antioxidants.
10. Move every day to burn some extra calories and that gives you freedom to eat enough to stay happy!

 

Jackie Conn

About Jackie Conn

Jackie Conn is married and has four grown daughters and four grandchildren. She is a Weight Watchers success story. She's a weight loss expert with 25 years of experience guiding women and men to their weight-related goals. Her articles on weight management have been published in health, family and women's magazines. She has been a regular guest on Channel 5 WABI news, FOX network morning program Good Day Maine and 207 on WCSH.