You have decided to improve your diet, not so much to lose weight but to improve your overall health. There are hundreds of suggestions out there for you to sift through to reach your goal.
The most important guide to nutritional foods is the old-fashioned food guide or your friendly food pyramid.. In today’s fast pace world there are even new pyramid’s that are for seniors over 70; diabetics; and vegetarian to name a few. They also come in as many designs and colors as you could ever wish to have. They do however, say the same thing on most of them. USDA states, use fats, oils and sweets sparingly, Dairy 2-3 servings a day, meat, poultry beans, nuts etc. 2-3 servings per day, vegetables 3-5 servings per day, fruits 2-4 servings a day and bread, cereal, rice or pasta 6-11 servings a day.
Your first step of the day is to be sure and eat a good nutritious morning meal. Include in your morning meal a small piece of fruit, apple, orange, or grapefruit. Grains are especially nutritious and can help to ward off hunger in the early morning hours. Cereals such as Kashi and Raisin Bran to name a couple of them. Drink and use 1% milk on your cereal, as less fat is better in the long run. You can add a piece of toast to this meal, use little butter or fat free butters (there are several on the market today).
Lunch could consist of a sandwich made from turkey, ham, lean roast beef, wheat bread and use low fat mayo, mustard and other condiments. Perhaps a small salad with low fat dressing of your choice. Add a fruit and/or vegetable and you have a well rounded lunch.
Dinner can consist of your meat of the day, it is a good rule of thumb to keep your meat the size of a playing card from an average deck of cards. Be sure to add a vegetable to this meal it is important and you can also add a small potato, rice or pasta with this meal. Your desert should be sugar free if possible, fruit slices are good, jell-o or yogurt is always a good sweet taste at the end of your meal.
You should have a snack between breakfast and lunch; lunch and dinner. and before bed. It is a good idea to eat approximately 6 times a day in smaller amounts as this will help to control the bodies blood sugars. Even if you are not fighting diabetes it is a good idea to be conscience of what you are eating throughout the day.
You don’t have to obsess on the food groups just make an attempt to eat from each group. As time goes on you will reach your goals without much effort or extensive thought.
Drink 100% juice when you drink fruit juices, they may be higher in fructose but concentrate is higher in processed sugar. Try to keep your fat consumption low and attempt to eat meats high in omega 3 oils, such as salmon. Use olive oil for cooking instead of lard or other forms of oils. Use little salt in fact, if possible do not salt your food while cooking. Let each individual salt the foods after they have been processed. There are many salt free sauces you can add to your meats and marinates. Try and prepare red meats only once or twice a week, lean more towards chicken and fish or vegetarian main dishes.
If there is anyone in your family who is a diabetic try and keep the carbohydrates to a minimum as these turn into sugar after consumption. Also try and serve sugar free deserts when possible. There is no reason that you must serve cake for desert, try baked apples with a little sugar substitute and cinnamon on them. Also fat free cool whip is good for a topping; only a tablespoon per serving though.
Another good sweet for your family is graham crackers filled with a tablespoon of cool whip, two crackers with whip in the middle, frozen is a nice treat in the evening. Bed time snacks can consist of a slice of cheese, apple half, pear half, hard boiled egg or a slice of fat free lunch meat. Rule of thumb is to never go to bed hungry. Always keep fresh fruit and sliced vegetables available and you will find that when hunger strikes you will reach for these items instead of the high fat and sugar items you use to eat. Nuts are a good nutritious snack food also. Keep a bag of almonds or peanuts available, don’t eat a lot of them but a small amount is good to help you stay alert.
Just a few good nutritious foods in your diet and you will find that you are feeling stronger, more alert, and active than you were before. Happy eating, healthy living and a happy spirit will make your life more fulfilled.