Healthy eating is not about dietary limitations, staying unrealistically thin, or depriving yourself of the food you love. Rather, it’s about feeling great, having energy, and improving your health. If you feel overwhelmed by all the conflicting nutrition and diet advice out there, you’re not alone. It is not a secret and we all know that eating right can help you maintain a healthy weight and avoid certain health problems but your diet which I will substitute with the term “eating habits,” also has a profound effect on your well-being.
Eating healthy doesn’t have to be overly complicated. While some specific foods or nutrients have been shown to have a beneficial health effect, it’s your overall eating habits that is most important. The cornerstone of a healthy eating habit should be to replace processed food with real food whenever possible. Eating food that is as close as possible to the way nature made it can make a huge difference to the way you think, look, and feel. Eating more fresh fruits and vegetables, cooking meals at home, and reducing your intake of sugar and refined carbohydrates may help to improve your overall health.
Switching to healthy eating doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. You don’t have to be perfect, you don’t have to completely eliminate foods you enjoy, and you don’t have to change everything all at once—that usually only leads to cheating or giving up on your new eating plan. Like my parents used to say—“it’s all about moderation.” What is moderation you ask—it means eating only as much food as your body needs. You should feel satisfied at the end of a meal but not stuffed. For many of us, moderation means eating less than we do now. But it doesn’t mean eliminating that foods you love. Eating bacon or longanisa for breakfast once a week, for example, could be considered moderation if you follow it with a healthy lunch and dinner—but not if you follow it with bibingka or malassadas. To set yourself up for success, think about planning a healthy eating habit as a number of small, manageable steps—like adding a salad to your meal once a day—rather than one big drastic change. As your small changes become habit, you can continue to add more healthy choices.
Here are few tips on starting to eat healthy foods—make fruit and vegetables a tasty part of your diet:
- Eat a medley of sweet fruit—oranges, mangos, pineapple, grapes -for dessert
- Swap your usual rice or pasta side dish for a colorful salad
- Instead of eating processed snack foods, snack on vegetables such as carrots, snow peas, or cherry tomatoes along with a spicy humus dip or peanut butter which you may also partner with bananas
- Add antioxidant—rich berries to your favorite breakfast cereal.
Sharon Zalsos is a past president of the Maui Filipino Chamber of Commerce (three terms) and has her own marketing business: Kalona International LLC. She’s also an ACN Independent Business Owner. A former Miss Maui Filipina, Sharon played the lead in MAPA’s presentation of Miss Saigon. A graduate of Maui High School, Sharon is employed with the County of Maui and a proud Veteran of the United States Air Force.