With all the focus on living a healthy lifestyle, basic nutrition information is being put out and pushed in many different areas. Most doctors’ offices have pamphlets about how to meet basic nutrition needs and maintain a healthy diet, and there are literally thousands of websites that offer the same information, so it’s surprising to many that the basics of good nutrition are still not quite understood by many Americans.
The trouble for many is that they consume many packaged and pre-made foods, which might appear to be healthy, but contain many additives, fats, sugars and sodium to preserve the food. All of these add-ins can cause real issues for those seeking to maintain a healthy diet and meet their nutritional needs at the same time.
Healthy diets are going to consist largely of whole foods. A good way to look at healthy foods is to consider if they will rot. If something has been packaged or preserved, it will likely take a very long time to go bad. Healthy, fresh foods can easily spoil when not eaten or frozen in a timely manner. Most healthy diets are made up of foods that spoil easily.
It’s also important to examine how many fats and what types of fats the foods in the diet contain. Foods with saturated fats should be greatly reduced, or eaten in moderation. Saturated fats are often found in meats, full fat dairy products and oils such as coconut and palm oils. Saturated fats raise the levels of bad cholesterols in the body.
Unsaturated, both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated are good fats. They can be found in olive and canola oils, many nuts and avocados. When working for a healthy diet, it is best to get most of the fats in the diet from sources such as these.
How to do it
When working to create a healthy overall diet and maintain good nutrition, it’s important to eat foods from every food group. Meals that have to be cooked “from scratch” are the best option because they have very few additives such as sugars and sodium. For beginners, a colorful plate is a very good way to know that the meal is balanced.
It should contain a mixture of lean protein, often from low fat dairy or lean meats. Other protein sources such as nuts are also good to consider. There should also be whole grains. Consider something different such as barley or Quinoa.
Without exception, a healthy diet with good nutrition should contain many different fruits and vegetables. For those on a sugar restricted diet, the amount of fruit will need to be greatly reduced, but fruits and vegetables contain the largest variety of essential vitamins and nutrients available through food, so it’s important to eat a large variety of fruits and veggies with every meal.
While most Americans don’t fully understand the concept of good basic nutrition, when healthy diets are approached in terms of limited packaging, the need to prepare meals from scratch and how quickly foods can go bad, it becomes almost impossible not to meet basic nutritional needs.