There is a lot of confusing information about what and how to eat. Some people think eating all plants is the way to go. Other people are promoting a diet heavy in animal fats and proteins. And to confound things, there seems to be research both for and against all these different ways. My goal with this blog post is to give some easy guidelines for picking foods and filling your plate in a way that provides nutrients and nourishment for your body, and doesn’t require a calculator and hours of journaling to be successful.
Here are some starter tips for healthy eating.
- Fill half your plate with crunchy, green veggies. Make one quarter of your plate complex carbohydrates, such as yams or wild rice, and the other quarter of your plate a protein source. Use fruit, dairy, healthy oils, and salt as edible garnishes. This guideline helps with getting the macronutrients we need in good quantities and ratios, along with good portion sizes for providing plenty of vitamins and minerals.
- Shoot for 90/10 or 80/20. By this I mean, try to follow the first guideline 80 or 90% of the time, and give yourself some room to eat fun things. You’ll be more successful if you allow yourself some flexibility. Find a method to balance food for fun and food for nourishment that works for you and your family, and stick with it! Our family balances this by following the 1st guideline Monday through Friday, and on weekends we’ll enjoy a pastry with breakfast and dessert after dinner.
- Speaking of dessert, save it for special events, like the weekend and holidays. While some desserts have nutritional value (mmmm, blueberry crisp), most desserts have so much sugar they offer more harm than benefit to your health and shouldn’t be part of your regular meals.
- When eating out, think about what you’ve already had to eat during the last couple days. Is there a macronutrient food group you’re missing? For example, if you had a taco salad the night before, a veggie scramble for breakfast, and a vegetable stir fry for lunch, you’re probably due for some complex carbohydrates and that rice pilaf you’re craving may seem like a splurge at first but is actually the perfect complement to fill in the macronutrients you need.
- When you buy processed foods, read the label, and if you don’t understand what you’re eating, put it back, or consider it as part of your 10%.
I hope these tips help you find success with fueling your body and mind with nutrient rich meals! As usual, this blog is for general health information only, and does not constitute personalized medical advice. I recommend seeing a licensed naturopathic doctor for personalized dietary recommendations, especially if you have specific health condition, an eating disorder, or goals you want to support by eating appropriately for them. For assistance with implementing dietary recommendations, you may want to work with a nutritionist or health coach. Overeaters Anonymous is also an excellent resource for people who need more structured support with changing their eating habits.
Dr. Tremblay graduated from high school with an associate’s degree in horticulture and worked as a gardener for 10 years before returning to higher education and the healer’s path. Dr. Tremblay studied native plant ecology and ethnomedicine at The Evergreen State College, and earned her doctorate degree in Naturopathic Medicine at Bastyr University. Read more >>