Healthy eating may seem complicated and expensive with the large number of fad diets available. However, healthy eating is less complicated than you may think. It is possible to eat a healthy diet by choosing foods based on variety, balance and moderation. The consequences of unhealthy eating, such as obesity and its related health issues, make healthy eating important for everyone.
Healthy Eating is Possible on a Budget
Healthy eating is possible, even on the tightest budget. USDA nutrition programs such as Woman, Infants and Children, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, School Nutrition Programs and The Emergency Food Assistance program are all available to assist needy people and families obtain nutritious food. Some great ways to save money on nutritionally sound food are to choose canned and frozen fruits and vegetables over fresh, purchase low-fat milk products in larger sizes, skip pre-mixed salads and to use dried beans and peas as an inexpensive source of protein.
Healthy Eating is Important for Lowering Your Risk of Disease
Health eating is important from the time you are born, throughout your entire life. Your diet, even at a young age, can have lasting health consequences. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, children who suffer from childhood obesity are more likely to be obese as adults. Later in life, these overweight or obese people are at a higher risk for a myriad of diseases such as coronary heart disease, stroke, cancer, Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and osteoarthritis. Because of these health risks, it is important to maintain a healthy diet throughout your life.
Not All Protein is Created Equal
Lean protein is the way to go for healthy eating, according to the USDA. Fatty protein sources, like regular ground beef or hot dogs, can contribute to high LDL, or "bad," cholesterol levels. High levels of fat in your diet could also cause you to consume more calories than you really need. Instead, choose lean protein sources such as chicken, lean ground beef, fish and nuts to fulfill your protein requirements.
Healthy Eating is a Lifestyle Choice, Not a Fad Diet
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says that you should not attempt to follow a diet that you cannot follow for the rest of your life. If a diet plan claims that it will cause rapid weight loss, has extreme limitations, requires specific food combinations, uses a rigid menu or claims that there is no need to exercise, it is probably a fad diet. Fad diets do not usually result in long-term weight loss and can be detrimental to your health. Instead, focus on changing your eating habits over a longer period of time and take small steps toward a healthy eating lifestyle.
Variety, Balance and Moderation are Keys to Healthy Eating
Variety, balance and moderation are three of the most important concepts to keep in mind for healthy eating. Eating a wide variety of foods can help you to obtain as many nutrients as possible and keep your diet interesting Balanced diets include the right amounts of carbohydrates, proteins, fats and other nutrients important to health. Balanced meal plans can help you avoid overloading on one nutrient while neglecting another. Moderation is the ability to recognize your body's hunger and fullness cues. By focusing on moderation, you can avoid eating too little or eating too much.
- USDA: Nutrition Assistance Programs: Eat Right When Money's Tight
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Obesity
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Your Health and Your Weight
- ChooseMyPlate.gov: Why Is It Important to Make Lean or Low-Fat Choices from the Protein Foods Group?
- Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Staying Away from Fad Diets
- MissouriFamilies.org: Eating well: Variety, Balance & Moderation