Commonly Asked Questions
What does it mean to eat healthy?
What affects how I eat?
Where can I shop for healthier foods?
How can I stay within my budget and eat healthy foods?
How can I change my eating bad habits?
How can I overcome barriers to healthy eating?
How can I make healthy choices when eating out?
Is fasting good for your health?
Does eating healthy prevent you from getting cancer?
What Does It Mean To Eat Healthy?
Healthy eating means eating a variety of foods that give you the nutrients you need to maintain your health, feel good, and have energy. These nutrients include protein, carbohydrates, fat, water, vitamins, and minerals. Having a well-balanced diet means that you eat enough, but not too much, and that food gives you the nutrients you need to stay healthy. Calories, the energy in food, are another part of balance. The more active you are, the more calories you need. When you are less active, you need fewer calories. How many calories you need each day also depends on your age, whether you are male or female, and activity level. Some life situations, such as being pregnant or breastfeeding, can also influence calorie needs.
Nutrition is important for everyone. When combined with being physically active and maintaining a healthy weight, eating well is an excellent way to help your body stay strong and healthy. If you have a history of breast cancer or are currently undergoing treatment, eating well is especially important for you. What you eat can affect your immune system, your mood, and your energy level.
What Affects How I Eat?
Nutrition experts tell us that the best way to deal with hunger and appetite is to follow your body’s natural cues. Your physical and psychological environments definitely affect appetite and hunger, sometimes leading you to eat more than normal, sometimes less.
You’re more likely to feel hungry when you’re in a cool place than you are when you’re in a warm one. And you’re more likely to want high-calorie dishes in cold weather than in hot weather. Just think about the foods that tempt you in winter — stews, roasts, thick soups — versus those you find pleasing on a simmering summer day — salads, chilled fruit, simple sandwiches. Food gives you calories. Calories keep you warm. Making sure that you get what you need, your body even processes food faster when it’s cold out. Your stomach empties more quickly as food speeds along through the digestive tract.
People who exercise regularly are likely to have a healthy appetite, but they’re rarely hungry immediately after exercising because exercise pulls stored energy — glucose and fat — out of body tissues, so your glucose levels stay steady and you don’t feel hungry. Exercise slows the passage of food through the digestive tract. Your stomach empties more slowly and you feel fuller longer. And exercise (including mental exertion) reduces anxiety. For some people, that means less desire to reach for a snack.
Severe physical stress or trauma — a broken bone, surgery, a burn, a high fever — reduces appetite and slows the natural contractions of the intestinal tract. If you eat at times like this, the food may back up in your gut or even stretch your bowel enough to tear it. In situations like this, intravenous feeding — fluids with nutrients sent through a needle directly into a vein — give you nutrition without irritation.
Some drugs used to treat common conditions affect your appetite. This side effect is rarely mentioned when doctors hand out prescriptions, perhaps because it isn’t life-threatening and usually disappears when you stop taking the drug. Some examples of appetite uppers are certain antidepressants (mood elevators), antihistamines (allergy pills), diuretics (drugs that make you urinate more frequently), steroids (drugs that fight inflammation), and tranquilizers (calming drugs). Appetite reducers include some antibiotics, anti-cancer drugs, anti-seizure drugs, blood pressure medications, and cholesterol-lowering drugs.
Where Can I Shop For Healthier Foods?
Good nutrition starts with smart choices in the grocery store. Cooking up healthy meals is a challenge if you don't have the right ingredients in your kitchen. The process starts even before you head to the grocery store, experts say. Before you set out for the market, plan your meals for the week, and create a list to shop from. It takes a few minutes, but saves time in running back to the store for missing ingredients. To save money, use coupons, check the weekly grocery ads, and incorporate sale foods into your meal planning. And don't shop hungry: An empty belly often results in impulse purchases that may not be the healthiest. To help meet the pyramid guidelines, you should be filling your cart with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, dairy, lean meat, fish, poultry, beans, and nuts, she says. To see some grocery stores you could shop at, click HERE!
How Can I Stay Withing My Budget And Eat Healthy Foods?
When you've got a tight budget, meal planning and grocery shopping has its challenges. And, when you have a tight budget and you're dedicated to eating healthy, it's even trickier. Some things you could do is:
1. Buy fresh produce when it's in season and freeze it. Fresh produce is always great, but the cost can add up fast. Stick with buying what's currently in season, and consider stocking up when you find a good deal.
2. Look for sales and plan meals accordingly. If your local grocery store offers a savings card be sure to sign up, and check the weekly circular to see what's on sale. Instead of shopping for groceries based on your weekly meal plan, consider planning your meals around what's on sale.
3. Try less expensive cuts of meat. You can still enjoy meat, even when you're on a tight budget. Look for less expensive cuts of meat, like chicken thighs instead of chicken breasts, and try different cooking methods, like the slow cooker, to make tougher cuts of meat tender and juicy.
4. Embrace whole grains and beans. Beans and whole grains, like quinoa, freekeh and brown rice are an inexpensive and tasty way to bulk up meals, and can even be a meal in themselves.
5. Plan and prep meals ahead. Whether it's veggies for the week, tomorrow's breakfast, lunches or dinners, prepping food in advance is a step in the right direction towards eating healthy. Plus, it's also a good way to make sure you're eating what's in the fridge, to minimize waste.
6. Broaden your culinary horizons! Cuisines, like Mexican and Indian, rely heavily on inexpensive ingredients, like beans and rice.
7. Keep an organized fridge and pantry. Leftovers are always great, but it totally defeats the purpose if they get lost in the back of the fridge. Label leftovers and keep your fridge organized to help minimize food waste.
8. Repurpose leftovers. If you don't like eating the same meal over and over, consider repurposing leftovers into an entirely new and delicious meal.
9. Go to the farmers market at the end of the day. Depending on where you live, farmers markets may or may not save you money during regular hours. Consider visiting the market at the end of the day, when you could very likely score some great deals.
10. Shop at ethnic markets. Consider checking out local ethnic markets. Not only are you likely to find a bargain on certain products, you'll also find some really interesting ingredients.
How Can I Change My Bad Eating Habits?
Most of us are creatures of habit. We buy the same foods from the same grocery store, prepare the same recipes over and over, and live within our own familiar routines. But if you're serious about eating healthier and losing weight, you need to shake it up, change those bad eating habits, and start thinking differently about your diet and lifestyle. The problem is that we get so comfortable in our ways that it's hard to give up those old habits. Even when you want to change, old habits die hard.
Tackling bad eating and exercise habits requires a three-pronged approach. 1. Being aware of the bad habits you want to fix, 2. Figuring out why these habits exist, and 3. Figuring out how you'll slowly change your bad eating and exercise habits into healthier new ones. You're much more likely to be successful at changing your habits if you take things one step at a time. Try to gradually incorporate new habits over time, and before you know it, you will be eating more healthfully and losing weight.
Eating a healthier diet may be intimidating at first. But once you see for yourself how good it makes you feel, and how good healthy food can taste, you have a better chance of succeeding. Over time, your preferences will change and cravings for bad-for-you foods will fade away.
How Can I Overcome Barriers To Healthy Eating?
Replacing a bad habit with a good habit takes time and patience. It requires several steps, from setting your goals to getting support. One of the important steps is figuring out what your barriers are. What has stopped you from changing your eating habits in the past? What do you think might stop you in the future? Identifying these barriers now and having a plan to help you get past them, will help you change bad habits into good habits.
The best way to overcome barriers is to identify them ahead of time and have a backup plan to deal with them. Some barriers are the kind that keep you from even trying to change a habit. Other barriers pop up later. When you hit a barrier, and most people do, get support. Talk to your family members and friends to see if someone wants to be active with you or cheer you on. If you have concerns about your health, talk to your doctor to make sure you're doing your activities safely.
How can I make healthy choices when eating out?
For many people, eating out is a way to relax and socialize. But if you are watching your weight or just are concerned with healthy eating, dining out can be a challenge. The good news is that usually there are healthier options at every restaurant, even at fast-food places. By following some simple guidelines, you can enjoy eating out and still have a healthy diet.
1. Plan ahead. Before you go out to eat, think about where you will eat and what you will select. It will be much easier to make healthy choices if you have already decided what you will order.
2. Try not to arrive at the restaurant overly hungry. It's harder to make healthy food choices when you get too hungry.
3. Think about your portions. Restaurants often serve portions that are enough to feed two or three people. To help you avoid overeating, order smaller portions, split a meal with someone else, or save part of your meal for later.
4. Choose menu items that contain fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Restaurant meals are often low in these things. By adding these foods, you can have a balanced meal.
4. When you travel, you are often forced to eat out at every meal. So bring snacks that pack well, such as dried fruit, pretzels, and nuts. Flying can trigger dehydration, so drink lots of water. And don't drink a lot of alcohol, because alcohol can also dehydrate you.
Is Fasting Good For Your Health?
If you weed through all the controversy, you'll find that most medical experts agree on one thing: fasting is not a healthy weight loss tool. The appeal is that [fasting] is quick, but it is quick fluid loss, not substantial weight loss. Even some proponents of fasting for other medical purposes do not support fasting for weight loss. Some say it can actually make weight problems worse. Fasting is not a weight loss tool. Fasting slows your metabolic rate down so your diet from before the fast is even more fattening after you fast. Fasting for weight loss carries other health risks as well.
Does Eating Healthy Prevent You From Getting Cancer?
Eating healthy helps to prevent cancer, but it doesn't prevent it. No food or diet can prevent you from getting breast cancer. While researchers are still studying the effects of eating unhealthy food on breast cancer and recurrence risk, we do know that being overweight is a risk factor for both first-time and recurrent breast cancer. Eating a healthy, balanced diet can help you keep a healthy body weight. Keeping a healthy weight is important, because obesity is the second biggest preventable cause of cancer after smoking. While others, such as fruits, vegetables and foods high in fibre, can reduce the risk of cancer. Below is a picture showing unhealthy diets that increase the risk of getting cancer.