When it comes to good food, raise your hand if you enjoy cutting back. What if there was a more effective way to long-term healthy eating habits? What if it were eating more, not less?
Flash back to grade school. It’s true that all we ever needed to know about a healthy diet we learned in kindergarten. Remember the lesson about food groups? Remember how there was something on our tray at lunch from each of them and at snack time, too?
Next time you sit down to a meal, take a look. Does your plate contain something from at least three food groups? If not, ask yourself this question, “What else can I add?” For example, if it typically contains something like only meat and potatoes, pick another food group. Add something to your meal.
Likewise, when you grab a soda and candy bar for a snack, how many food groups have you got there? None. Ask yourself “What else can I add?”
It’s an easy rule of thumb to remember: real snacks contain one or two food groups and meals three to five.
This change to a more positive focus from “What can’t I have?” to “What more can I add?” is a small shift with a lot of power.
For starters, you will likely feel better because of the added nutrients you’re getting. t might be so long to expensive energy supplements, power drinks, and catching every cold that comes along.
In addition, as you increase the amount of room on your plate taken up by other food groups you don’t normally eat, the portion size of those you regularly eat just might start to shrink without you giving it much thought.
It’s also a little like acting yourself into good thinking. As we gradually add eating fruits and vegetables into our day, for example, we are more likely to slowly not opt for empty calorie choices like sweets, chips, and sodas as much. Why? You start thinking things like, “I’m a person who eats pretty healthy. I don’t eat a lot of stuff like that anymore.”
These gradual lifestyle changes are the kind that come and stay. Because small changes can be sustained, they impact our health. They put life into our years and money into our pocket as we avoid the cost of managing chronic health diseases related to poor lifestyle choices.
Let’s face it; eating an overall healthy diet really is the cheapest medicine we’ve got. Let’s take every advantage of it we can, while we can. Put a positive twist into your eating and enjoy the results.
Check out MyPlate.gov for the newest dietary guidelines.
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