The Challenges of Healthy Eating
Planning to start a healthy eating regime is a victory in itself. Unfortunately, we must know that this will include a period of adaptation that will require conviction and willpower.
The quality of the food that we eat largely determines our state of health. We must all nourish ourselves and overcome the challenges involved with healthy eating.
There’s still a lot of controversy on the subject of food, however, more and more people are deciding to opt for a healthier lifestyle. Nonetheless, getting started with healthy nutrition requires overcoming certain challenges, which is not impossible.
Challenges of healthy eating
Firstly, you must ensure that you have correct information about your food choices. In order to do this, it is essential to find nutritional information with reliable sources of origin.
Maybe what you think you already know, isn’t actually as correct as you first thought? Let’s look at some of the myths or beliefs that you may have, regarding food and healthy eating.
Perhaps your environment doesn’t help you to make the change or choose the healthy foods that you want? Locate every food item that you think will sabotage your efforts. Remove all of the processed foods that are in your pantry, in your cupboards, the fridge, and so on.
How to identify healthy foods
- They (mostly) do not have packaging.
- Healthy foods tend to contain fewer ingredients than processed foods.
- They do not contain ingredients such as, sugar, flour, or refined oils–these should never be at the beginning of any ingredient list on a label.
- Healthy foods only contain the minimum of preservatives.
- The ingredients must comprise a high percentage of the product that we want to consume.
Don’t let your decision to eat healthier foods, be influenced by clever marketing or anyone else’s opinion. On the contrary, you have made the decision to take care of yourself and no one should make you change your mind.
Look for people who are knowledgeable or passionate about good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. Try to make sure that what you learn from these people will motivate you to make changes in your diet, and overcome the challenges of healthy eating.
You can also contact a good dietitian or nutritionist, who will advise, encourage and support you in all areas of healthy eating.
Lack of time
“I don’t have time to cook!” Or “Healthy eating takes too much effort!” These are two of the most common phrases that we hear at the beginning of a healthy eating regime. It’s believed that healthy eating requires a lot of time, when actually, it really doesn’t!
Perhaps at the beginning, it will take you more time to prepare new recipes or plan weekly meals, but it’s all about being organized.
Here are some tips to help you:
- Choose a day of the week and dedicate part of that day to planning a weekly menu and a shopping list.
- Set a cooking schedule, and prepare the most laborious meals that you will consume during the week, in one session.
- Lastly, store all food products in the fridge.
These steps can help you to practice preparing healthy foods, without requiring much sacrifice or effort. This means that you won’t have any excuse to resort to poor-quality food. Particularly if you have already prepared and planned your meals in advance.
What foods do I choose?
As we discussed in the previous section on how to identify healthy foods, we must mention, that processed foods can sometimes, and only in small quantities, be a good option.
Gradually, and over time, your food choices will improve, so that you start to consume (at least 90 percent of the time) good quality and nutritious foods. Attaining 100 percent is better, but listen to your body and remember, food is to be enjoyed.
Ten tips to overcome the challenges of healthy eating
- Choose your food consciously, making sure that at least 90 percent of what you eat is natural.
- Reduce your intake of sugars, sweeteners, flours, and refined oils.
- Increase the intake of vegetables, leafy greens, and fruits. Try to combine both, raw and cooked options throughout the day.
- Eat legumes, nuts, and wholegrain cereals. If the legumes are preserved, drain them and wash them with plenty of water.
- Add seeds when preparing a meal; they are rich in different essential fatty acids and minerals.
- Bring a variety of colors, textures, and flavors to your dishes.
- Choose lean meats and smaller fish. If you eat canned seafood or fish, try to pick the most natural ones (with the least amount of ingredients).
- If you enjoy drinking chocolate on a regular basis, choose beverages with more than 70 percent cacao.
- Control your portions; you’re not obliged to finish everything on the plate.
- Eat at the times of day that are practical and adapted to suit your routine.