Who doesn’t want a healthy diet? But we get such conflicting messages.
Eggs are bad for you. Eggs are good for you.
Real butter should be avoided; use margarine. Margarine should be avoided; use real butter.
Follow the Food Pyramid. Dump the Food Pyramid, it’s been replaced by MyPlate.
Lowfat is the way to go. No carbs. Gluten free. High fiber! Paleo! Juice cleanse! Grazing throughout the day!
We are bombarded every day with “experts” telling us how what we should be eating for a healthy diet. Or to lose weight. Or to live longer.
What are we supposed to believe? Are we to bounce from one supposedly expert opinion to the next? How are we supposed to sift through all of these different diets to find what’s best for us and our families?
I have the answer.
No, I’m not a dietician and I’m not a nutritionist and I’m not a physician. I am, however, the mother of five growing boys who have healthy appetites. I am a woman who strives to do the best for herself and those she loves. Aaaaaaand I also love to read nerdy scientific-type stuff.
I recently came across a study that compared different dietary choices: low carb, low fat/vegetarian, low glycemic, Mediterranean, mixed/balaced, and Paleo. The results? Were surprisingly simple.
“The aggregation of evidence in support of diets comprising preferentially minimally processed foods direct from nature and food made up of such ingredients, diets comprising mostly plants, and diets in which animal foods are themselves the products, directly or ultimately, of pure plant foods.” (source)
In a nutshell (And yes! Pun intended…nuts are good for you!), the best “diet” is to eat real, whole FOOD.
- That produce aisle? Never skip it…your mom was right, we should be eating our fruits and veggies!
- Whole grains are our friends.
- Highly processed foods aren’t what our digestive systems were made to digest.
- If you want to eat meat, eat meat! Just do your best to find sources where the animals were well fed (and treated well!).
- Drink plenty of water (okay, that wasn’t in the study, but we know it’s true, heh).
This doesn’t need to be daunting. You don’t need to throw away everything in your pantry and adopt strict guidelines and get all stressed out about making mistakes. I’m sharing here with you my top three tips for navigating the grocery store when you’re looking to incorporate more whole foods.
1. Shop perimeter of store.
That’s where the good, less processed stuff is. The produce, the dairy, the meats. I like to make a circle around the store, only zipping into aisles for items I know I want. Weaving up and down each aisle is a sure-fire way to add items you don’t want or need into your card.
2. Select items with five or less ingredients.
When you read those ingredient labels, shoot for short lists. The longer the list, the more chock full of preservatives and other items we can’t pronounce nor identify.
3. Say no to white. White rice, white bread, sugar, all-purpose flour.
Instead, opt for brown rice, whole grain breads and flours. They can be just as delicious once your family is used to them!
How do try to incorporate healthy foods into your family’s diet? Share in comments!
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