The busy holiday season is once again behind us and we’ve already started to focus on the new year. But maybe a busy lifestyle has been still getting in the way of a healthy routine and you. Maybe the current health crisis is making you take better care of yourself and your immune system. It’s time for us to get back to basics and re-establish our nutrition routine.
Re-establishing your nutrition routine
We are living in a time that makes great demands upon our efforts to maintain a healthy body, mind and spirit. With all the convenient, devitalized and synthetic “foodstuffs” easily within our reach and our budgets, it is often a challenge to choose the foods that keep our bodies in good health. Whether you’ve strayed away from your healthy routine or you’re just beginning a new one, the answer to helping you get on track is the same.
God has given us a simple guide as to how to eat. His original blueprint is the same today as it was in the beginning—eat foods closest in form to their original design, the way HE designed them for our bodies. We just need a little bit of basic knowledge so we can make thoughtful decisions about what and how much of each type of food we need to eat.
When we balance our plates with a variety of foods, we ensure that we are getting what we need from many different sources. A plate that reflects choices from all food groups, in moderate portion sizes, is a practical and easy way to stay healthy manage weight and ward off disease.
To help you reestablish your nutrition, simply follow our A-B-C guide for building a healthy food day:
Aim for Vegetables and Fruits
These are the most important foods you should be eating every day. They deliver health in remarkable ways and are your best weapon for preventing virtually every known chronic disease. They are also essential to weight loss, especially vegetables. Study after study has proven that the amount of vegetables you eat is directly proportional to the amount of weight you will lose and the amount of health you will gain—so load up and let vegetables play the starring role on your plate.
There are two types of vegetables—non-starchy and starchy. You should eat liberally of the non-starchy vegetables, which include lettuces and other dark green leafys, and a host of “rainbow” (red, yellow, orange, green and purple) colored vegetables such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cucumber eggplant, onions, radishes, peppers, carrots and cauliflower.
Starchy vegetables should be eaten in lesser quantities. These include potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams and winter squashes.
Choose fruits and vegetables of different colors to ensure you receive the benefits of a variety of different vitamins and phytonutrients.
For lunch and dinner, about half of your plate should be filled with non-starchy vegetables. Aim for 2 to 4 cups a day, half uncooked and half cooked.
Fruits can be eaten for breakfast or any other meal, and also make great snacks. Aim for 2 to 3 servings of fresh or frozen fruit each day.
Balance with other Healthy Whole Foods
The other half of your plate should consist of a variety of other food groups, including whole grains and starchy vegetables, beneficial fats (oils, nuts, seeds and avocados) and healthy sources of protein, including legumes (beans, peas and lentils), eggs, lean meats, poultry, and fish and dairy products (optional).
Balance your portions of whole grains and starchy vegetables by eating them in moderation (about 1/2 cup per serving) anywhere from 3 to 5 servings per day. You may need more or less, depending on your activity level and health goals.
Your body needs fats to function properly. Beneficial fats consist of cold pressed oils like coconut oil and olive oil, nuts, seeds, avocado and butter. It’s important to get a variety of different types of fats each day, so try to eat something from each of these types of foods.
A serving of fat is equal to 1 tablespoon oil or 1 ounce of nuts or seeds, or half of an avocado, so try and get at least 4 servings from a variety of different fats each day.
Balance your protein by choosing from both plant and animal sources. Plant sources include legumes, (beans, peas, and lentils), and animal sources include eggs, meats, poultry, fish and dairy products.
Protein portions vary depending on what type of food you choose, but generally speaking a 3 to 4 ounce piece of meat, poultry or fish is a serving; 2 eggs are equal to one protein serving; 1 cup of milk or yogurt, or 2 ounces of cheese is a protein serving, and 1 cup of beans is a protein serving.
Balance your meals by eating at least 1 protein servings per meal and/or snack.
Hydrate your body by making sure to drink plenty of fresh clean water each day. To determine how much water you need, divide your body weight in half. The resulting number is the number of ounces of water you need to drink each day.
God designed our food and water to be free of chemicals, sugars, preservatives, pesticides and other added ingredients. As much as possible, choose foods that are processed-free, organic and are made with health in mind.
Also, don’t forget to make your meals and snacks appeal to all of your senses by incorporating flavorful herbs and spices, and treating yourself to sweets that won’t take you off track.