Secrets to Craving Healthy Foods
This post is courtesy of one of my favorite blogs, Fit Bottomed Girls:
What’s the secret to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight? It is really no secret at all: eat a balanced diet primarily of nutrient-rich foodsfrom all the food groups and be physically active every day. Since you’re a fan of Fit Bottomed Girls, you’re probably getting a good handle on the activity part of the equation, so I will focus on taking a positive approach to healthy eating.
A positive approach means no more “I’m giving up” this food, or “I’m avoiding fat/sodium/sugar.” This negative way of thinking is what eventually sparks feelings of deprivation, which often leads to cravings. And who can avoid an intense craving? Not me. In fact, if I told myself I could no longer eat chocolate, that would be where all my focus would be. So, instead, let’s start thinking of what foods we SHOULD be eating and focus on what you may need to ADD into your diet. That leads us to our secrets…
3 Secrets to Eating a Healthy Diet
1. Diversify your diet and include all foods. A balanced meal is one consisting of carbohydrates, protein and fats (yes, fat!). Carbohydrates provide quick energy, protein builds muscle, and fat sustains energy for up to four hours. You can’t lead an active lifestyle without fuel. Eating meals and snacks that contain carbohydrates, protein and fat is the best way to feel satisfied and have sustained energy.
Start by including foods from all of the food groups in your diet, such as low-fat milk and dairy products, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats like seafood, beans, eggs and nuts to create balanced meals. Aim to have at least three food groups represented in each snack or meal, and the variety will ensure you get the energy, vitamins and minerals you need.
2. Customize and individualize your diet. Incorporate your personal values into your food choices, and set realistic goals that you know you can accomplish. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to healthy eating. You are unique and therefore your diet approach should be as well. Is it important for you to buy local food? Are cost and convenience your priorities? Do your cultural traditions take precedence? Consider all of these factors as you take small steps toward your healthy eating goals.
3. Enjoy what you eat. How do you balance weight management with “enjoying” food? Taste, flavor, satiety and pleasure are all important parts of eating, and these factors should be a part of your healthy eating plan. With some savvy meal planning and preparation, you can balance your diet across all five food groups and still include some of those “indulgences” without feeling guilty.
I want to add that a lot of the foods we think we can’t do without are just what we’ve trained our bodies to crave over time. They are habitual like any other habit. This means you can retrain your brain and body to crave healthier foods if you replace less healthy foods with nutrient-rich ones. Start by replacing your 3 pm candy habit with organic fruit pieces like grapes, berries and melon. Gradually continue to implement this habit, and eventually, you’ll start to crave the fruit instead of the candy!