When you inquire about many people what healthy eating is for them, you’ll receive a different response each time.
For some, eating healthy involves a halt to a fast eating routine or taking in more vegetables and fruits, while for others, it might be a time to indulge in a slice of cake and not feel guilty about it.
However, those with specific medical conditions or food allergies could uniquely conceptualize healthy eating.
In the end, there’s no one correct answer for what is healthy eating.
Humans are healthy, and, as human beings, each of us has various desires and needs which will impact our choices regarding food.
Additionally, What is healthy eating to you might alter through the various stages you go through as you mature and adapt to ever-changing requirements.
This article examines the human aspects of healthy eating. I share my go-to strategies to simplify it.
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Table of Contents
What is healthy eating for me?
My definition of healthy food has been changed several times over the past couple of years.
When I went to college, eating healthy was about following the food guidelines and executing everything according to the rules. It also meant that my perception of food items in my kitchen was changing. I no longer saw food; I liked seeing only food items as nutrients.
In a flash, I changed from looking at the traditional Costa Rican Gallo pinto, beans and rice, to looking at complex carbohydrates and plant-based proteins.
When I began working as a nutritionist, the idea that a dietitian must look in a specific manner or be a particular body type made me consider that healthy eating was monitoring my food intake to precisely know what I was eating. I could eat anything I wanted as long as the nutrients I required were considered.
I ensured that my body got everything needed to stay healthy; however, healthy eating is more than just consuming the proper nutrients. It’s about how you feel. With food being a vital element of social and cultural occasions, food is something that we should enjoy.
Today, I’m using a different method of eating healthy. I’m much more flexible with my food choices, and I recognize that balance is the key to feeling satisfied and nourished with food.
Healthy eating is now a matter of often. I try to include foods from all kinds of food on my plate, without taking measurements or worrying about the plant-based. Animal-based proteins or straightforward or straightforward vs more complex carbohydrates.
This also means that I can indulge in every bit of it– which includes sweets as well as fast food and desserts — within reasonable limits and without the need to quantify or record it.
As you can see, finding the perfect balance that I could achieve wasn’t a quick process. My concept of healthy food has changed throughout the various stages of my journey.
If you can nourish your body and pay attention to your body’s needs, you can give healthy eating a personal significance, since eating healthy is for everyone.
Healthy eating, for me, is about taking care of your body while remaining in harmony with your food at the same time. The concept of healthy eating might change as you grow older and your priorities shift.
Looking at the larger picture
As with many other things to do with life, eating well isn’t always how you’d like it to.
There are times when you’re stuck working late at night or exhausted to cook a home-cooked dinner, but that isn’t a reason to not order takeaway and have fun with the food.
If healthy eating is about being flexible about the food you consume, it is essential to adjust to your environment that may arise more frequently than you think.
If I have to pick a food at the moment, I select the most appropriate option from the menu I’m offered. When I am able, I try to find a meal similar to a home-cooked meal or opt for sandwiches, salads or a bowl.
But, at times, I want a pizza which is why I enjoy eating the same!
In times like these, I try to remember the larger perspective. It is that a single meal doesn’t determine healthy eating. However, it is determined by the choices we make each day.
A friend of mine once shared with me a quote that says, “One bad meal will not make you sick, just as one good meal will not make you healthy.”
When you’re trying to eat healthily, it’s not just one meal that determines your lifestyle, but the overall choices you make in your food do.
It could be challenging at times.
If you’re a dietitian, most people believe that healthy eating is a natural thing to do. However, we’re human also, and we enjoy sweets and crave food like everyone else.
In my case, one of the most significant issues I’ve had to overcome was having to cut out most carb-based foods to treat frequent infections.
Carbs are found in various food groups, such as grains and legumes, starchy vegetables, fruit and dairy. They are also found in processed foods as well as sweets.
Experts usually categorize them into two groups based on the number of fibre contents ( 1Trusted Source):
- Whole grain: retain their naturally occurring fibre
- Refined carbohydrates: They are refined to eliminate their fibre and are enriched with the added sugar
In the theory of things, I was expected to cut out refined carbs, which, according to some, is the best option.
In the end, I was able to give up all sorts of processed carbs, such as whole pasta and bread made of wheat and grains, starchy vegetables, and dairy.
So the list of carb-rich food items I could eat was restricted by fruits, Oats, which is quinoa, legumes, lentils, beans, chickpeas and edamame.
Many people said that this transition would not be a problem for me as a dietitian. But I took several months to get used to my new diet and schedule meals on the go and eat out.
I realized that organization and imagination are essential in managing my nutrition needs.
No matter the reasons, changing your eating habits can be complicated for everyone.
Three things that I have done which you can also
As I stated earlier, organizing and creativity aid me to make the most nutritious choices for my food every day. From the way I consider it, healthily eating is a choice that we make every meal.
To this end, I make my choice-making process as straightforward as possible to make when selecting food items or snacks. This way, I can keep choosing what’s most suitable for me.
Three things I practice regularly or weekly to help me be healthy and eat well.
While it might sound cliché, I find that preparing my food ahead for the week helps.
The cooking process can take many hours; however, the food that has to be heated and then served makes a healthy and nutritious meal in a matter of minutes.
One of my favourite meal-prep strategies is to prepare a batch of meats — usually, poultry or another lean heart, which I then portion out and freeze for more than one week, then remove them when I need the food items.
I also ensure that I prepare vegetables in advance throughout the week. So, I don’t have to be hesitant about eating a salad or making an extra serving of vegetables for each meal.
I like to prepare them in various ways to keep myself from getting bored and then decide not to consume them.
For instance, in the case of vegetables like carrots, or zucchinis I’ll slice dice, chop, grate or spiralize the vegetables, which all aid me in incorporating them quickly into my meals.
Keep fruits in reach.
My fruit’s sight prominently displayed keeps me motivated to eat fruits throughout the day.
I apply this idea every day and make it a point to keep my fruits displayed on my table and my sweets and snacks stored away.
Use an exercise
Although I don’t plan the menu for each week, I use a particular menu for every meal.
For instance, my breakfast choices typically comprise:
- A Costa Rican classic of Gallo pinto and eggs
- Toast with peanut butter and eggs with a side dish
- Oatmeal with fruit
- oatmeal pancakes
It’s the same with my other meals and snacks, in which I’m likely to have three choices to pick from, without any thought.
I am sure I will enjoy pre-determined sets of foods helping me decide what to eat. It also lets me vary my meals according to the sweetness I’m craving or more savoury.
It’s also great to use it for shopping for groceries because you know what you’re likely to have for dinner every night.
Making my meal prep keeping my fruits in easy reach, and implementing an established regimen are the three ways that I do to stay healthy, and you can do, too.
It’s the bottom line.
We’re all human beings who continuously grow and adapt to changes, and so are our idea of healthy eating.
Here, I’ve discussed with you how the concept of eating healthy has evolved for me over the years, what was the biggest issue in my journey to a healthier lifestyle, along my tricks and tips to help you eat healthier.
But, my method doesn’t represent an ideal or “right way” — or the only way to eat healthily. It’s just what works for me, and it could or might not be the best option for you.
Healthy eating is part of our human nature and looks different for each individual. Think about what you can do within your routine to position yourself for success in healthy eating habits.
If you’re uncertain about how to begin, think about working with a registered dietetic who can help you develop an attainable, healthy eating plan that fits your unique requirements and your lifestyle.