Eating Healthy for Beginners
Its easier than you think
Eating healthy is all about incorporating wholesome, nourishing foods that fit within your lifestyle. It’s about making more room for plants on your plate and less room for packaged stuff. It’s not about extremism, restriction or deprivation (unless you have a medical necessity to do so). It’s not about shame, guilt or “cheating.” It’s about finding that balance between nourishing your body and indulging your cravings. A yin and yang of sorts.
The easiest way to kickstart healthy eating habits is to eat more plants. As in fruits, veggies, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains (not your potted succulents).
Eating a variety of plant foods can help prevent many diseases, boost energy and can even support weight loss. They are loaded with sooo many naturally healthy properties - from vitamins, minerals and fiber (necessary for our daily bodily functions) to powerful antioxidants and phytonutrients that protect immunity and fight inflammation (among many other benefits).
The key to eating healthy is incorporating lots of colorful plant foods, including healthy lean protein and unsaturated fats, and cutting back on sweets, highly processed foods and red meat. That’s it. Nothing fancy. No gimmicks.
Many times, this also includes a mindset shift. Instead of thinking that eating healthy is about restricting, dieting and “giving up” your favorite foods - think about what you can “add to” your plate. Try flipping the ratio of naturally healthy whole foods to not-so healthy foods on any given day or week so you still have a little room for fun/indulgent favorites.
Beginners Guide to Healthy Eating
Keep this in mind when you’re shopping for groceries, finding recipes online or dining out.
Must-Haves: fruits, veggies, beans, legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds, herbs, spices and healthy fat from olive and canola oils
Moderate Amounts: seafood, yogurt, cheese and poultry
Smaller Portions: of red meat (look for lean and unprocessed), processed foods and sweets
How to put it all together for a meal:
An easy way to eat healthy is by following the "plate method" for your meals and snacks:
Fill ½ your plate (or meal) with colorful fruits and veggies
¼ of plate with whole grains
¼ of plate with lean protein (ideally from beans/legumes and nuts - or if you eat animal foods choose fish, seafood, eggs, or skinless poultry to minimize the amount of saturated fat)
Here are a few examples to get you started:
Breakfast: Tropical Smoothie + Peanut Butter Toast
1/2 colorful fruits + veggies = Frozen spinach, frozen berries, banana, avocado (smoothie)
1/4 whole grains = 100% Whole Wheat Bread (toast)
1/4 lean protein = Greek Yogurt (smoothie), Peanut Butter (toast)
Lunch: Market Fresh Greens + Grains Salad
1/2 colorful fruits + veggies = Mixed greens, raspberries, pear
1/4 whole grains = Farro
1/4 lean protein = Cannellini beans, sunflower seeds
Dinner: 30 minute white bean pumpkin turkey chili + whole grain cornbread
1/2 colorful fruits + veggies = Canned pumpkin, canned tomatoes, onion, garlic
1/4 whole grains = Whole grain cornbread
1/4 lean protein = Ground lean turkey (7% fat), great northern beans
Now that you have the basics down and a few meal examples, try mapping out your own weekly healthy meal plans. Use our free printable templates to write out weekly meals and keep track of your favorite recipes!