Have you ever asked yourself, “Why is eating healthy important?” You know it is – you’ve likely heard it throughout your life. But, how do you develop a healthy eating pattern if you’ve never done it before? How do you make healthier food choices?
Eating healthy foods takes commitment – especially if you’ve spent much of your life eating what you want, when you want. It doesn’t have to be complicated, though.
Here’s some information to help you get started on your journey to eat healthier.
What Are The Potential Benefits Of Eating Healthy?
Changing your diet shouldn’t be about focusing on what you’re giving up. Instead, focus on the incredible amount of good you’ll be doing your body. Sure, you’re going to need to make some changes, but that doesn’t automatically mean you can’t eat delicious (and nutritious) foods.
In the long run, following a healthier diet may help support your good mood and help boost your energy. Here are just a few of the potential benefits of changing to a healthy eating pattern. Remember, though, you should never make any sudden alterations to your diet without first talking to your doctor.
Supporting Your Weight Loss Goals
There’s no magic pill that will help you lose weight, but combining a healthy diet with exercise can.1
Keeping a balance between watching your caloric intake and eating healthy while also following a good exercise regimen can make a huge difference when it comes to dropping some pounds. Just be sure to talk to your doctor before you start any new exercise routine.
You might assume that making healthier food choices means you’ll have to spend a lot more money at the grocery store. Not necessarily. Eating a diet high in protein and other essential nutrients is possible on a budget.
Researchers did an analysis of nearly 30 studies to compare the prices of healthier foods versus not-so-healthy alternatives. They looked at the prices per serving, and the prices per 2,000 calories (this is the recommended caloric intake for adults in the U.S.). They found that eating a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, healthy fats, and nuts costs about $1.50 a day.2
Granted, an extra $1.50 a day is a lot for quite a few people. But if you fall into this category, think about your typical eating habits. Do you like grabbing a burger or some other type of fast food at lunch? If you make healthy meals at home and take them with you to work, there’s a good chance that the money you save by not buying junk foods will more than make up for the added costs of your groceries.3,4,5
Eating Healthy (And Adopting Other Healthy Habits) May Support Longevity
Who doesn’t want to live as long as they possibly can? It appears that people who follow a healthy diet may live significantly longer than those who don’t.
Harvard researchers looked at data from nearly 80,000 women and more than 40,000 men who participated in major health-related surveys. What they found was interesting, to say the least.
According to the researchers, people who maintained a healthy diet, got at least 3.5 hours of exercise a week, and only drank alcohol in moderation, lived much longer than those who didn’t follow a healthy lifestyle. Women lived to an average of about 93 years of age, while men averaged close to 88 years of age.
Among those who didn’t eat healthy and exercise, the average lifespans were 79 and 75 years, respectively.6
How To Change Your Eating Habits
If you are ready to commit to following a healthy diet, here are a few tips to help you along the way.
Bring Your Lunch To Work
Taking your lunch to the office makes sense financially – but it may also make a huge difference from a health perspective. Not only should you pack a healthy meal, you should also bring along some healthy snacks that will provide the nutrition you need before and after lunch.
Instead of hitting the vending machine, bring leftovers from last night’s meal, or make something before you leave home for the day.
Keep Healthy Foods In Your Kitchen
While it would be great if you could suddenly rid your fridge and pantry of all unhealthy foods in an instant, it’s not always practical. But as you start buying healthier foods, try to avoid the temptation to buy more junk foods the next time you go to the store.
Eventually, you’ll find that just about every food item in your home will help you keep your commitment to healthy choices in your diet.
It’s not realistic to expect everyone to cut out red meat or to stop eating every single unhealthy food right off the bat. Consider taking baby steps instead of making the full plunge into healthier eating habits all at once.
One thing that might help put your plan into action is to reduce the portions you eat. Order an appetizer rather than a full meal when eating out. When you cook at home, try to keep your serving of whatever the entrée may be (fish, chicken, meat, etc.) to about the size of a deck of playing cards. Keep the portions of your sides to about the size of a light bulb.7
You might also want to consider using smaller bowls or plates. You’ll be surprised at how effective these visual cues may be. Also, take your time when eating. Don’t gulp down your food – take it slowly and enjoy your meals.8
Keep The Big Picture In Mind
Hopefully, you now know the answer to the question of, “Why is eating healthy important?” If you’re ready to make a change with your diet, remember that it’s going to be an ongoing process. As the days, weeks, months, and years go by, though, you’ll eventually realize it was one of the best decisions you’ve ever made.