We need to get back to the basics of healthy eating. Not that long ago, the food we ate was prepared from fresh ingredients. These included whole foods like grains, fruits and vegetables, including many foods from the garden. We had fresh produce, fresh naturally grown meats and dairy without all the sprays, hormones, salt, sugar, preservatives and chemicals that is in our food today.
Our mothers and grandmothers spent much of their day in the kitchen preparing food from scratch. Then (especially after WWII), came foods to make life in the kitchen easier, like cake mixes, more canned foods and frozen TV dinners.
Today, when you shop for groceries, you have to search for the fresh foods around the perimeter of the store. As you walk into a store you see isles of mostly processed food and food that can be prepared quickly from a box, a can, or from frozen. Most of these prepared or processed foods are high in sodium (from salt, and sodium derivatives), sugars, preservatives, artificial flavorings, colors and MSG. Many of these ingredients we cannot pronounce, let alone know what they are and how they affect the body. The high amounts of salt, sugar, preservatives and chemicals that we consume on a daily basis, is not good for us.
There is an epidemic of people, who are overweight, diabetic, have high blood pressure, and many other health problems, including cancer. Most of these problems go back to the foods we eat and how we prepare them. Besides having serious health implications for adults, this pattern of fast food and processed foods is seriously affecting our children. Begin by changing your food habits. Be more aware about your food and what is in it. Live a more low sodium and sugar free lifestyle. This is a beginning towards healthier eating for you and your loved ones. Encourage your family and especially your children to eat healthy. They will follow your example.
Start including fresh fruits and vegetables, everyday.
Many folks today, especially children, do not eat any fruits or vegetables, especially fresh, on a daily basis. French fries should not really count as a serving of vegetables. This is especially sad if it’s the only vegetable eaten for the day.
- Instead of bottled orange juice or orange juice drink, you can squeeze a few oranges for fresh orange juice, which has not been pasteurized or has added salt, sugar, preservatives, flavors, and colors. Yes, it takes more time, but think of the long term health benefits.
- Eat an apple, pear or banana for a snack, a true fast food.
- Eat your greens. Having a piece of lettuce on a hamburger doesn’t count. Have a salad every day, even if it is a small salad. It takes just minutes to wash and chop some lettuce for a salad. Or, if you think you can’t do that, there are many types of chopped and washed salad greens available in the produce department. Some are organic. Add a chopped tomato or some cherry tomatoes. Beware of the salt, sugar, and preservatives in most salad dressings. Learn to make your own, as it takes less than five minutes to make a great salad dressing.
So now, all you have to do is simply go back to the basics. Use mostly fresh ingredients, whether it is a snack, breakfast, lunch or dinner. Plan ahead. Start cooking. Learn to use a crock pot and maybe a pressure cooker. These are great time savers, especially if you are working. Having something cooking in the crock pot, means you are less likely to stop for fast food.
Usually, what makes food taste great, are the seasonings. Most folks would say it’s the salt. Try to limit your sodium intake. Too much salt is behind so many health problems. Most seasonings start off their ingredient list with salt and sugar. They usually include artificial ingredients, preservatives and Msg. Look for seasonings where there is no salt or sugar in them and preferably no Msg or preservatives.
Know what you are eating as this will affect your health and the health of your family. Avoiding health problems is a good reason to take the time to prepare and learn about healthy eating.