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Healthy Eating Habits: Common Sense Broad Guidelines

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If you want to eat healthier but are driven crazy trying to sort through the mountain of nutritional advice available, relax.

You can create better eating habits by following a few common sense, broad guidelines. They are easy to remember, allow for plenty of personal food preferences, can be followed without a shopping list, and require only basic label reading skills.

Seven Common Sense Healthy Eating Guidelines

  1. Most of the time, eat a variety of totally unprocessed foods. These are items that have not been prepared, cooked, or otherwise altered before finding their way into your kitchen; this includes fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, plus fish, meats, poultry, and eggs that are unprocessed.
  2. Eat less processed food. Unless you are a kitchen wiz, some of the food you buy will likely be processed, such as flour, oils, and pastas. Use these items to compliment the unprocessed foods, and try to consume less of them. Keep your intake of highly processed foods - breads, cookies, chips, cereals, some meats - to a minimum.
  3. Eat home-cooked food, made primarily with unprocessed ingredients, as often as possible. This may take some lifestyle adjusting, but the best way to be in control of what you eat is to make it yourself.
  4. When preparing food use salt and fats as needed, and in moderation. We need our food to be both flavorful and satisfying. Use the least amount of fat and salt necessary to make veggies and meats taste good—and experiment with nature’s vast variety of other spices and herbs.
  5. When possible, eat at restaurants that follow these common sense guidelines. Many eateries prepare their dishes from primarily unprocessed ingredients.
  6. Drink water most of the time. Enjoy coffee, alcohol, tea, and other drinks in moderation, especially those that - like alcohol - contain calories. Many sugary drinks are loaded with calories and have no nutritional value.
  7. Whenever possible, eat with others, especially people you care about. Good conversation over a delicious meal is one of life’s great pleasures, and helps us to eat more slowly.

As you follow these guidelines and become more food conscious, you may want to research topics such as nutritional values, different types of cooking oils, and healthy sugar substitutes. If not, you will still have created solid, healthy eating habits that will serve you well for a lifetime.

Note: If you are working with doctors or dietitians on physical or mental health issues, your treatment professional’s dietary recommendations are the ones to follow.

Source: Aaron E. Carroll/NY Times
Photo credit: Take Back Your Health