During a time when childhood and adult obesity along with fast-food lifestyles are two issues of great concern and importance to the overall health and future of the nation, it is vital that individuals and families have a healthy food list to ensure proper nutrition and avoid unnecessary weight gain. Rather than going through the drive through at the nearest burger joint, try preparing meals at home. Although at-home meals may take more time and energy, they are well worth the effort and the benefits certainly outweigh any inconveniences that at-home meals may pose. When shopping for meals to make at home it is important to know what foods are nutritious and which foods are simply empty calories. While eating at home is healthier than the fast food alternative, knowing the right foods to buy is essential to a healthy diet.
Items on a healthy food list include vegetables, fruit, low-fat dairy products, beans and legumes, grains, nuts and seeds, seafood, poultry and other lean meats. These items include, but are not limited to:
o Vegetables: asparagus, carrots, green peas, kale, mushrooms, potatoes, spinach, squash, tomatoes and yams
o Fruit: apples, blueberries, cranberries, oranges, pears, pineapple, raspberries and watermelon
o Low-fat dairy products: low-fat or no-fat cheese, 1% or skim milk, yogurt
o Beans and Legumes: black beans, lima beans, navy beans, pinto beans
o Grains: brown rice, corn, oats, whole wheat
o Nuts and Seeds: cashews, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, walnuts
o Seafood: salmon, scallops, shrimp, tuna
o Poultry and other lean meats: chicken, turkey, venison
Organically grown foods are recommended for promoting health, and whole grain foods are generally healthier than processed foods. If bland taste is a concern, there are many healthy herbs and spices that can be used to add flavor and pizazz to any food. Herbs and spices include but are not limited to:
o Cayenne pepper
o Chili powder
o Curry powder
It is important when shopping to have a food list handy. Having meals and recipes determined beforehand will help shoppers limit their food purchases to only those items on the list. This will assist in curbing the desire to buy unhealthy foods, including snacks. The list alone is not enough as the shopper must exert willpower and control while shopping. The individual must also exercise willpower in restricting fast foods from their diets.
Creating and sticking to a healthy food list is one of the best ways to begin and set a foundation for not only healthy eating but healthy living. Many people feel that eating healthy is expensive and not within their budget. While some organic foods can be a little more costly, there should be a healthy alternative from which to choose so that your diet won’t bust your belt or your wallet.