The best guide to healthy eating is always the plan that works best for your individual needs. Whether your plan is the same plan that your spouse or best friend uses is not relevant. The only thing that matters when developing a healthy eating plan is what works to give your body the nourishment it needs to support you as you live life to its fullest. Learn about the best way to build a healthy eating plan that can grow with you and last.
Follow these simple guidelines to develop a healthy eating plan you can not only stick with, but love.
Paying a visit to your family doctor should be the first step in starting any healthy eating plan. You should tell your doctor that your goal is to build a healthy eating plan that you can stick with and that will support your true physical, emotional, and mental health needs. You should ask for a full round of diagnostic blood work to see if any of your vitamin or mineral levels are off, and ask your doctor for guidelines about the best ways to address these special needs in the context of a well-rounded healthy eating plan.
Once you are armed with information about any special health needs you have that can be met through changes in your eating and, if needed, some special short-term supplements, now it is time to pay a visit to a dietitian for help building a meal plan that can factor in your healthy eating preferences while still providing you with the full range of nutrients that your body requires to maintain optimal health. To prepare, you should make some notes about foods you really enjoy in the categories of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, fruits and vegetables, and grains. If you are not sure which foods fall into these categories you can consult with your dietitian about it when you meet. Your dietitian can help you build an accurate picture of how much of each category you should consume based on your medical exam, and help you include at least small portions of all the foods you like so you won't end up feeling deprived and be tempted to shelve eating healthy in favor of your favorites.
Finally, be sure that as you start your healthy eating plan, that you stay hydrated with water and non-sugar iced and hot teas that can replenish your body's moisture stores and help you accurately distinguish between hunger and thirst. You should also talk with your doctor or a personal trainer about adding in at least several days' worth of strength and cardiovascular exercise per week, at least 20 minutes per session. Balancing out adequate hydration and stress-reducing, muscle-building exercise with your new healthy eating guide can dramatically shift your sense of self-efficacy in following and sticking to your new plan, as you make valuable, feel-good changes in multiple areas of your life beyond the dinner table. If you can involve friends or your family, that will be an even better incentive to embrace your healthy eating plan and love it.