The Importance of a Healthy Eating Plan

If you’re a healthy weight and you feel good most of the time, you might think you don’t need to worry about a healthy eating plan. You might be one of the lucky ones who just instinctively chooses the right foods and never really has to give much conscious thought to what you put in your mouth. Or you might be one of the lucky people who seems to able to eat anything and never have a problem.

If you’re like the rest of us, though, you have to be very careful about what you eat. A healthy eating plan might not be something we all consciously think about, but we should. Most of us try to make healthy choices each time we eat something, and we might even quickly consider what else we’ve eaten that day or week before we eat again. But we usually lack an overall picture of our diets.

Most of us really don’t realize how much fat we eat, for instance. And most of us eat far too much sugar without even knowing it. We don’t usually worry about following a healthy eating plan until we need to lose weight, or until our doctor tells us our cholesterol, blood sugar or blood pressure is too high. Or worse, our doctor tells us that all of those things need improvement.

That’s when most of us suddenly decide we need a healthy eating plan. But if we had been following a healthy diet, we might have never had health or weight problems to begin with. So it’s never too early to start formulating a plan for healthy eating, not only to stay at a healthy weight (or lose weight, if need be) but to stave off those problems that so many other people face like diabetes and high blood pressure.

If people in your family tend to develop diabetes later in life, or if there’s a history of heart disease, high cholesterol or high blood pressure, then the sooner you start following a healthy eating plan, the better. You’ll be less likely to develop those same diseases if you start taking care of yourself now. And the good news is it’s never too late.

You might think you’ve spent 40 or more years eating what you want and you’re probably already headed toward those illnesses—and you might be right. But if you start following a healthy diet today, lose any excess weight, and make conscious choices about what you eat (and how much exercise you get) you automatically lower your risks for developing those diseases.

How To Judge Healthy Eating Plan

One of the most important things to keep in mind when you’re evaluating healthy eating plans is moderation. It’s very unlikely that any eating plan that’s truly healthy will go to any extremes. It should stress moderation in all things, not just in the balance of food eaten but in the amounts, too.

For instance, some diets that are marketed as healthy eating plans make claims that should alert you to their problems. A diet that says you can eat unlimited amounts of almost anything probably isn’t really all that healthy. One extreme example is a low-carbohydrate diet. Many low-carb diets can be healthy for certain people. But a few of the low-carb diets entice people to try them by talking about how you can eat all your favorite foods.

These supposedly healthy eating plans claim you can eat cheeseburgers, steaks, cheesecakes and a variety of other foods. And often they’ll say that you can eat all you want of these foods and still lose weight. They’re operating on the assumption that you’ll eat one or two cheeseburgers (without bread, of course), be full and stop. But they do make the claim that you can eat all of them, essentially all the fat, you want and still lose weight.

That should be a signal to you that something’s wrong. No diet that allows all the fat you want to eat can be truly healthy. And if it allows unlimited amounts of saturated fat in particular, it’s probably unhealthy. Other healthy eating plans you’ll see advertised go the opposite direction and limit the amount of fat you can eat down to almost none, while allowing almost any kind of bread, pasta, and other foods like low-fat cookies and desserts that contain a lot of simple carbohydrates and sugar.

While low-fat cookies or cakes might be a nice treat on a low-fat diet now and then, they certainly can’t be eaten all the time. That would make the sugar content of the diet decidedly unhealthy. But that ability to eat low-fat sweet treats is often what’s used to convince people to follow the diet, because they can still have sugar and desserts.

When you’re judging healthy eating plans, checking what’s allowed on the diet is important. But checking what isn’t allowed is important, too. Moderation works both ways. A diet that tells you that you must give up coffee completely or never again eat any kind of bread is taking that limitation to the extreme. And if you like coffee or bread and still intend to have them at least now and then, each time you do you’ll feel like you’re cheating. No one wants to have bad feelings about what they’re eating or drinking.

Choosing from among the diets out there can be daunting. Choose a plan that doesn’t necessarily forbid you from eating anything, and doesn’t allow unlimited amounts of anything, either. Choose from among the more moderate healthy eating plans, and you’re more likely to find the healthiest one for you.

Healthy Eating For Weight Loss:

Healthy eating for weight loss and general health is one of the most important things you can do to improve your overall wellness. In fact, when most experts talk about how to stay healthy, they list two things before anything else. They say eat right and exercise, usually in that order. So eating a healthy diet may be the most important thing you can to do to keep your body fit and avoid illness and disease.

One example many people give about healthy eating is the idea that our bodies are like cars. What you put in the car determines how well it runs. You’re not going to get your car very far down the road if you use the wrong kind of gas, or not gas at all. So eating the wrong kinds of foods, or worse, not eating at all, isn’t going to get your body very far, either.

What is Healthy Eating for Weight Loss?

Most people know the kinds of foods they’re supposed to eat for a healthy body, and the kind they’re supposed to eat to lose weight, if they’re overweight. Almost anyone can look at two breakfast options, for example, and understand which is considered the healthiest.

Given a choice of three doughnuts or a bowl of oatmeal with fresh fruit, most people know that the oatmeal and fruit is the healthy eating option. The doughnuts are junk-food sweets—lots of sugar, lots of calories, but no real nutritional content.

Some other distinctions are more difficult, though.

Is a lettuce salad with fat-free dressing healthier than natural peanut butter on whole grain bread?

When it comes to choices like these, it’s necessary to consider the rest of the day’s food to determine which one would be the better healthy eating choice.

Some fat is necessary for good health, so the natural peanut butter (containing only peanuts and their natural oil) shouldn’t be discounted just based on fat content. If the rest of the day’s food intake (before and after) is going to contain a good amount of fat, then the salad might be the better choice. But if everything else holds little fat or protein, the peanut butter sandwich could be a great choice.

Much depends on the second part of the health equation—exercise. Healthy eating for weight loss and healthy eating in general differs a bit from sedentary people to very active people. The more active you are, the more calories you can consume while maintaining a healthy weight. A sedentary person couldn’t eat as many calories as an active person without gaining weight.

FAQ

How do I start a healthy eating plan?

Choose whole foods instead of processed. …
Say no to sugary drinks. …
Keep healthy food readily available. …
Try the “Outer Ring” technique while buying food. …
Go nuts for nuts (and seeds). …
Eat more fish. …
Use whole grain flour in baking recipes. …
Eat in smaller plates.
More at Forbes

What is the healthiest diet for humans?

Perhaps the world’s healthiest diet, the Mediterranean diet is abundant in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and olive oil. It features fish and poultry-lean sources of protein-over red meat. Red wine is consumed regularly but in moderate amounts – EatingWell

What does a healthy day of eating look like?

Consider no food either a magic bullet or a forbidden fruit. … Embrace vegetables, fruits, beans and whole grains. Include low-fat dairy products, fish and shellfish, lean meats and poultry. Use herbs, spices and small amounts of olive oil and the other “healthy fats” to make food tastier, healthier and more satisfying. – EatingWell

How can I lose tummy fat fast?

20 Effective Tips to Lose Belly Fat (Backed by Science)
Eat plenty of soluble fiber. …
Avoid foods that contain trans fats. …
Don’t drink too much alcohol. …
Eat a high protein diet. …
Reduce your stress levels. …
Don’t eat a lot of sugary foods. …
Do aerobic exercise (cardio) …
Cut back on carbs — especially refined carbs
More at Healthline

What should I eat every day?

The pyramid, updated in 2005, suggests that for a healthy diet each day you should eat:
6 to 8 servings of grains. …
2 to 4 servings of fruits and 4 to 6 servings of vegetables. …
2 to 3 servings of milk, yogurt, and cheese. …
2 to 3 servings of meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs, and nuts.
More at EverydayHealth

What diet do most doctors recommend?

The various categories and winners include:
Best overall: DASH Diet.
Best for weight loss: Weight Watchers.
Best for diabetes: DASH Diet.
Best for heart health: Ornish Diet.
Best for healthy eating: DASH Diet.
Easiest to follow: Weight Watchers.
Best commercial plans: Weight Watchers.
Best plant-based: Mediterranean Diet.
WebMD

What is a healthy breakfast?

Eggs. Eggs are undeniably healthy and delicious. …
Greek Yogurt. Greek yogurt is creamy, delicious and nourishing. …
Coffee. Coffee is an amazing beverage to start your day. …
Oatmeal. Oatmeal is the best breakfast choice for cereal lovers. …
Chia Seeds. …
Berries. …
Nuts. …
Green Tea.
More at Healthline

What should I eat for healthy eating?

How to Eat Healthy

Make half your plate fruits and vegetables: Choose red, orange, and dark-green vegetables like tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and broccoli, along with other vegetables for your meals. …

Make half the grains you eat whole grains: An easy way to eat more whole grains is to switch from a refined-grain food to a whole-grain food.

More at HHS.gov

What is the number 1 healthiest food in the world?

The Top 10 Healthiest Foods on Earth (And How to Eat Them)
SPINACH. This nutrient-dense green superfood is readily available – fresh, frozen or even canned. …
BLACK BEANS. Filled with super healthy antioxidants, black beans digest slowly – keeping you feeling full for longer. …
WALNUTS. …
BEETS. …
AVOCADO. …
DARK CHOCOLATE. …
RASPBERRIES. …
GARLIC.
More at GoodNet

What are the 10 best foods to eat?

10 Best Foods. ShareThis. …
Sweet Potatoes.
Mangoes. About a cup of mango supplies 100% of a day’s vitamin C, one-third of a day’s vitamin A, a decent dose of blood-pressure-lowering potassium, and 3 grams of fiber. …
Plain (0%) Greek Yogurt. …
Broccoli. …
Wild Salmon. …
Oatmeal. …
Garbanzo Beans.
More at Center For Science in the Public Interest

What are 3 foods to never eat?

20 Foods That Are Bad for Your Health
Sugary drinks. Added sugar is one of the worst ingredients in the modern diet. …
Most pizzas. Pizza is one of the world’s most popular junk foods. …
White bread. …
Most fruit juices. …
Sweetened breakfast cereals. …
Fried, grilled, or broiled food. …
Pastries, cookies, and cakes. …
French fries and potato chips.
More at Healthline

What diet is best for weight loss?

Here are the 8 best diet plans to help you shed weight and improve your overall health.
Intermittent fasting. …
Plant-based diets. …
Low-carb diets. …
The paleo diet. …
Low-fat diets. …
The Mediterranean diet. …
WW (Weight Watchers) …
The DASH diet. – Healthline

Can you lose weight by eating healthy?

Eating a healthy diet does not ensure that you will lose weight. … You will lose weight if you eat a low-calorie diet in which you burn off more calories than you take in, and you will gain weight if you eat more calories than you burn off. Adding physical activity allows you to burn more calories than dieting alone. – KidsHealth

What foods help burn belly fat?

Eight Delicious Foods That Help Fight Belly Fat
Belly Fat-Fighting Foods.
Avocados.
Bananas.
Yogurt.
Berries.
Chocolate Skim Milk.
Green Tea.
Citrus. Supermarket shocker: Vitamin C in colorful produce, like oranges and red peppers can help you zap up to 30 percent more fat during exercise, research from Arizona State University at Mesa suggests.
More at CBSNews

Conclusion:

It’s especially important to follow a healthy diet, not just for yourself, but for your children and other family members. Kids do as they see you do. If you show that nutrition and health are important, your kids are more likely to grow up concerned about health, too. And they’ll have a better chance at avoiding those same illnesses. A healthy eating plan can help you, and get them off on the right foot.

As complicated as it sounds, though, it’s not difficult to make healthy food choices, whether you’re active or sedentary. (And if you’re sedentary, you should make an exercise plan and stick to it for the best health.) If you stick to natural, whole foods as much as possible—fruits, vegetables, whole grains instead of processed grains like flour, and beans—it’s hard to go wrong. Most unhealthy food is processed and pre-packaged. For healthy eating for weight loss, avoid those pre-packaged or pre-cooked items, and choose food as close to its natural state as possible.

What type of Healthy Eating Plans have you used?

What are some of your favorite healthy eating for weight loss foods?