Tuesday, May 12, 2009

My Quest for Eating Healthy & Economically

We all want to eat healthy. We want variety. We want convenience. We want to eat locally. We want to eat what is economical to purchase at the grocery store. We tend to want a lot of things.

There’s a good chance that all of our wants are actually thwarted by choice…too many choices. Books to educate us on the art of eating healthy are everywhere. Recipes are even more abundant. Manufacturers produce just about every kind of food possible. Most everything is on sale at some point in time. So I’ll come right out and say it…I’ve come to believe that we are overwhelmed by our choices in today’s world.

There are times when I just want a few bags of groceries to show up on my doorstep. They would have a variety of fresh foods in them already chosen for me and all perfectly balanced to give my family the correct proportion of fiber, carbohydrates, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals. They would be purchased at the lowest price point possible, and there would be just the right amount of calories for us to consume and not a drop more. Yes, I could live with that. And I think we could all Iron-Chef it up a bit and cook with what we were given and become more creative than we ever thought possible.

But since the reality is that will never happen, here’s my proposal based on all the insane amount of information that I have taken in over my many, many years here on earth deciding on what I should be eating and what I should be feeding my family.

* Make an effort to eat whole foods that are produced locally and eaten in season. The less processed they are (whole and in their natural state) and the less distance they have to travel (produced locally) means better nutrition for me and my family. After all is said and done, making economical food purchases does matter as well.

* Decide what a healthy ratio of carbohydrates, proteins, fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats should be. I think we all realize that a carb-junkie will never be healthy unfortunately. On the other hand, as afraid of fat as we’ve become as a society, research tells us that some fats are healthy and essential for our well-being. So balance is vitally important.

* If maintaining or losing weight is a concern then realizing how many calories are being consumed a day is equally important. A little here and a little there can add up especially once we hit that magic age of 40 when weight tends to start creeping up on us.

* In order to keep eating habits simple but yet accountable, establish some type of a food-journal to track how much and of what type of foods are eaten daily. Nothing brings about accountability better than knowing exactly how many calories you are consuming.

In my next post I will go into detail about some of these areas and share resources where I have found support and information including my personal food journaling system and calorie charts. Stay tuned.

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