Have you ever thought about your “attitude” towards food? Is it a positive one? In our everyday lives, most of us strive to have a positive attitude toward whatever comes our way. When we are positive, it usually enables us to handle unexpected situations more appropriately. We have all heard the saying, “focus on the positive, not the negative.” Well, this holds true when we are thinking about our meal plan and attempting to make good food choices. There are many tempting foods right at our fingertips that are unhealthy. They may be high in calories, sugar, fat and/or sodium. There are also foods that are not necessarily unhealthy, but can be considered “empty” calories. An “empty” calorie food is a food item that does not provide any benefit to your body. A healthy food attitude starts with focusing on the foods you should eat and not the foods you should resist.
When making food choices, the focus must be on what the food can do for your body. We should choose foods based on:
1) lean protein content,
2) whole grain carbohydrates,
3) vitamins and minerals,
4) and/or antioxidants.
If your meals and snacks revolve around the above mentioned 4 categories, there will be little room left for the “empty” calorie or unhealthy foods. It is important to be efficient with your meals and snacks. Protein should be the center of all of your meals and snacks throughout the day. It is the only type of food that will maintain blood glucose, which in turn maintains your energy level and fulfills hunger pangs for an extended period of time. Once you plan your protein, next add vegetables and/or fruit to provide vitamins, minerals and/or antioxidants. Lastly, add your whole grain carbohydrate for your fuel source. The more you use this thought process, the sooner it will become habit. Here is a list of healthy food options to help you get started:
-non-fat Greek yogurt and blueberries or strawberries
-1 Tbsp Peanut Butter and 1 small banana
-2% cheese stick and 1 small apple
-1 hard-boiled egg
-handful of nuts and fresh fruit
-lean protein options: skinless chicken or turkey breast, pork tenderloin,
seafood and eggs. Lean beef options include: 93/7 ground beef
-fresh fruit (when out of season use frozen, all natural fruit)
-spinach, broccoli and bell peppers(all varieties)
-whole grain pasta
-whole grain cereals
-skim milk and 2% cheeses
-non-salt seasonings: onion powder, garlic powder, lemon juice, cayenne pepper
A healthy meal plan takes times to achieve. Take out unhealthy foods and replace them with healthy food choices in increments that you are comfortable with. It is not a race, and any move in the right direction is a good start. If you truly make your daily food choices based on the benefits they will provide to your body, you will not feel deprived. Additionally, splurges are warranted; they just should not be part of your daily routine. Once you have obtained an optimal meal plan, your body will perform at its best. The results are remarkable! You owe it to yourself and your family to be the best you can be!
“What are you waiting for? Make this YOUR time to do what is right for YOU!”