What is the secret to healthy eating? It seems everyone has their own idea of the perfect diet. But, regardless of what style of eating you consider healthy -- food guide pyramid, low-carb, paleo -- those who have mastered their dietary health share the following common practices.
Visit your grocery store at least once a week. Healthy eating requires you to have nutritious food available. To do so, you may find yourself at the grocery store every few days restocking meats, fruits and vegetables. Make a list of items you need before you go to the store and stick to the list. Buy most of your food from the perimeter of the store and stay out of the middle aisles as much as possible.
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Use your kitchen. Do you spend more time in your kitchen or living room? Start spending more time in the kitchen learning how to cook healthy meals. Now, there's nothing wrong with a grilled chicken breast, but there are so many options for healthy eating if you take the time to learn. Read a book, watch a video, take a class -- whatever you do, make cooking a part of your day and you'll be proud of your meals and have the peace of mind knowing exactly what's in your food.
Prepare your meals and snacks on a daily basis. Unless you work from home, you don't have the convenience of stepping into your kitchen when it's time to eat. Before you leave your house in the morning, make sure you have your food prepped for the day a head. It could be something as simple as leftovers from last night's dinner for your lunch and a yogurt and almonds for a snack. Use your kitchen as the hub from where your meals originate. This way you won't be tempted to grab less desirable options such as fast food or skip a meal altogether.
Know your enemies. Healthy food for one person may be poison to another. Food allergies are very common, and even if a food is healthy, it may not agree with your body. I have issues with gluten, dairy and soy, so those foods are no longer a part of my diet. This still leaves me with ample options, as long as I am prepared ahead of time. If you notice unpleasant symptoms after eating certain foods, cut those foods out of your diet for a period of time and see if you feel better overall. If you want more definitive answers, your doctor can recommend a lab where a blood test can be performed to identify specific food allergens.
Eat for the right reasons. The main reason for eating in the first place is to nourish the body. This doesn't mean you can't enjoy your food, but eating purely for pleasure gets a lot of people into trouble with their weight and overall health. Build your meal around the benefit it will provide for your body and then you can get creative with combinations of foods, flavor and preparation methods. Make a habit of including all three macronutrients in your meals -- protein, fat and carbohydrates.
Master these tips and you'll be on your way to establishing healthy habits and building long-term success. For more exercise and nutrition tips, visit our website at PushFitnessTraining.com for links to our Facebook and Pinterest pages.
• Joshua Steckler is the owner of Push Fitness, a personal training studio located in Schaumburg specializing in weight loss, muscle toning, and nutrition. Contact him at PushFitnessTraining.com.