Globally Inspired Healthy Eating Habits
It is not easy to begin and maintain healthy eating habits. One way to do it is making very small changes, one at a time. Another way is to keep meals interesting by borrowing healthy eating ideas from cultures around the globe.
Eight Globally Good Eating Habits
- Research indicates eating slowly helps prevent over eating, reducing the risk for obesity and cardiovascular disease. To eat slowly we can put down our forks and with a bow to China, have fun eating with chopsticks.
- Eating healthy is enhanced when, like the Japanese, we pay attention to our food’s presentation. Artfully placing small portions of colorful, seasonal veggies and other foods around the plate can help us eat sensibly, and with pleasure.
- The cuisine of India reminds us to leave our salt and pepper shakers on the shelf, and use interesting spices - turmeric, red pepper, ginger, garlic - to season our food. Spices add color and mouth-water flavor to meals, and are loaded with health benefits as well.
- Our Mediterranean Greek neighbors remind us to balance our meat and dairy consumption with plenty of fresh vegetables, fruits, legumes, fish, healthy oils, and whole grains.
- A healthy Mexican tradition is making the midday meal the largest of the day. Studies show the body is better at utilizing carbohydrates for energy during the day, than at night while we sleep. Plus, eating well at lunchtime may prevent snacking or over-eating later on.
- In the U.S. people tend to focus on the health benefits of food. We can balance this American attitude by borrowing an attitude from the French—who generally associate food with pleasure. So, instead of choosing a big slice of healthy desert, you might decide - with pleasure - on a small decadent dark chocolate cream-filled sweet treat, and enjoy.
- Whole grain rye bread is bursting with fiber and tends to make us feel full longer than regular wheat slices—just ask the Scandinavians. Using rye can put a whole new spin on sliced turkey or ham sandwiches.
- Unless your doctor says otherwise, join the Italians in having a glass of wine with your main meal. One glass per day for ladies, two for men, enjoyed at mealtime is believed to have cardiovascular benefits.
Another great habit to cultivate is shopping locally. Some of the healthiest food in the U.S. is sold at farmer’s markets, or locally-grown food stores. Produce that is freshly harvested, and has not traveled far, is typically more flavorful and nutritious.