Health food. This has become one of the most controversial topics that you can bring into conversation. The reason? It seems like just about everyone has their own opinion on what is “healthy” and what is not. Gluten free, fat free, sugar free, carbohydrate free—so many diet plans focus on what you shouldn’t eat, but what does that leave us with?
Here is a fun fact: we need food to live. But, not just any sort of food. Our body’s require nutrients in order for us to thrive. Nutrients and vitamins provide us with energy, they give our body the fuel it needs to move and our brain the power to help us power through the day. When you eat a diet that is rich in nutrient devoid foods then you are inadvertently denying your body the resources it needs to thrive.
So then, what does it mean to eat healthy? Eating healthy isn’t about weight loss, and it certainly isn’t about fitting in with the “health nuts” at the natural foods store. Eating healthy is about taking care of your body by providing it with the nutrients you need to be a healthy individual. For many of us, accomplishing this means moving away from diets that are focused on taking items off of our plates and looking for foods that are going to put nutrients in our bodies.
When it comes to eating healthy, many people think immediately of salads. The reason is because salads are low in calorie and are full of greens. However, salads might not be as healthy as you think they are. If you are filling in your salad bowl with iceberg lettuce and fat-filled dressings like Caesar or ranch, then your salad might be adding more calories to your day than you think, without the nutritional benefits. Top your salad with fried chicken or bacon and you have even a larger nutritional problem.
Salads aren’t the faux-healthy culprits. Smoothies that are made with frozen yogurt or even otherwise healthy foods that are breaded, battered and cooked in oil will lose some of their nutritional content just thanks to the unhealthy ingredients you are cooking them with.
To eat healthy, you have to focus on nutrients. That means eating items that are packed with vitamins and nutrients. Some of the best foods to go for are super foods, like avocado, as well as leafy greens like spinach and kale. By focusing on eating the right foods, and not simply cutting out foods that are “bad,” you can make drastic improvements in your diet and overall health.