Thursday, January 3, 2013
My Top Ten Tips for Eating Better
I am not a nutritionist, but have been a vegetarian for almost 15 years. I began in high school after doing a paper on alternative healthy lifestyles and have never gone back. My oldest son was having some issues behaviorally and so we began to cut out all dyes and processed sugars almost a year ago. From there we really began reading labels and looking at what was in our foods. This has been our journey and I still feel we have some work left to do, but co,pared to 15 years ago when I first became a vegetarian, we have. Ome a long, long way. So I'd like to share some tips if you are just starting to eat a clean diet (which refers to a diet with no perservatives) or just want your family to begin taking baby steps towards incorporating more fruits and veggies into your diet. 1. Have healthy things on hand and ready to go. When we get our fruit home, we wash it and store it right away. Some we might save for later in the week, but this makes it so handy if we are going to a park or need a fast snack or a healthy side... All the prep work is done and it's very accessible. I also will sit a bowl of carrots on the table with some natures promise dressing in a bowl while I make dinner or while the kids do school. They're developing tastes for these foods and now if we're out to eat, they will 9 times out of 10 pick a fruit or vegetable as their side over French fries. I love that they have been accustomed to making healthy choices and doing it on their own. 2. Read labels. Know what your looking for. If the list seems outrageously long with things you can't pronounce, don't buy it. If it has the phrase "natural favors" at the end, put it back. This is a way to hide MSG and other things... And a company trying to hide things says a lot. 3. Organic does not always mean its the better choice. Something's should be bought organic, but some organic products need label checking just as much. 4. Don't watch your calories.... Count your carbs! You'd be surprised how many low calorie items or recipes are actually super high in carbs. If youre eating better to loose weight, avoid low calorie options and read the labels for carbs. 5. Avoid every bread product at the store... From tortillas to English muffins to the bagels you might get there. If they're in your bread aisle, they have a long shelf life. Begin making your own bread products and you'll see how quickly they go bad or spoil... Which is actually a good testament to how good they are for you. Make a big batch and freeze some or if you're like us, they'll be gone in no time. 6. This is for moms with little kids, but avoid goldfish. And wheat thins. And Cheetos (that's hard for me to type as I love Cheetos). Goldfish have absolutely no nutritional value and some even have dyes and are loaded wi artificial flavoring. They are in essence a carb shaped like a fish. Cheetos have artificial flavoring, dyes, etc. a really good alternative is pirates booty. Or blue corn chips with the ingredients of corn, salt, and sunflower oil. 7. Switch your oil. Say goodbye to vegetable or canola oil and hello to coconut oil. There are also other good ones like avocado oil, but coconut is the easiest healthy substitute. I still keep some olive oil on hand as I prefer they taste in itallian dishes, but we use coconut for everything else. 8. Know your veggies and how to combine them. Carrots, potatoes, peas, and corn are all starchy vegetables and need something green with them. Avocados are a fat. And exams is green, but a soy product. Watch all these closely and use them wisely. 9. Avoid yellow cheese and switch to hormone free dairy. This is the hardest step for us as we go through a lot of dairy, but one we're gradually working on. Cutting out yellow cheese is a good first step. Dairy is so high in calcium and low in carbs... It's a really good choice. 10. Let's talk sugar. Go with raw honey. Not the honey from a bear or honey that's super clear. It should be cloudy and solid. Also, skip over traditional white granulated sugar and go to sugar in the raw. It's nice and brown and a much better choice. There are also a lot of nectars available, but will take some playing with as you are adding a liquid where a solid used to be. I have found its easier to substitute the honey or raw sugar as they still are more solid in their makeup. Again, it's a journey. But, as you switch and make it a family plan, it's pretty cool how your kids and husband get on board. Take something you love and make it better and healthier. Occasionally allow yourselves a cheat. Yes that food will probably taste better... It's been chemically engineered to be addictive. However, the more you keep changing, the less appealing it will be to you. Get encouragement. Share your journey. Read and read and read about other peoples journeys. And please, share what your family has already done, or are hoping to change :) I think it's awesome where ever you're at!
Posted by Becky at 10:21 AM