Eating Right, Living Right

We have all heard the phrase Eat Well, Live Well. You have probably also seen and heard many other variations. As health trends continue to be introduced, consumers are becoming more educated and sophisticated on the products and ingredients they choose to eat. Really, it’s being more mindful to what you eat and as they say you are what you eat. I have never ever truly paid attention to the foods I ate let alone to my daily diet. Unless my mom was next to me, I would hear her saying, “don’t’ skip your breakfast, eat more fruit, eat more vegetables and drink more water.” Well like most kids growing up, you probably received an earful too.

I don’t eat a lot of junk food or fast food although time to time I love my sweets and I crave a good burger or steak. But when it comes to healthy eating, you never would have found me checking the labels for nutritional values and verifying the list of ingredients. I think working the last few years in concepts promoting a healthier product has opened up my eyes. I am not on any special diet or nowhere close of being an expertise in nutrition, but it’s being more aware of what I eat.

Amazing how many foods and beverages on the market that are perceived to be healthier but they are absolutely not. Whether it’s high in calories, fat or sugars, certain meals can fool you. Take for example salads. Fresh chopped lettuce and assorted fresh diced vegetables. Mom may have told you to eat your greens, but what about that dressing? You may be thinking of eating a 500-700 calorie meal when in fact you may be easily consuming over 1000 calories by adding your favorite dressing. Just the other day I read an article about a healthy restaurant concept. One of their most popular rice dishes contains a whopping 45 grams of fat and just less than 1200 calories while consumers perceived it to contain 600-700 calories. Sure, there is brown rice, tofu and vegetables. However, the dish weighed in at almost 2 pounds, way too much for one serving. According to a dietician, that is 45% of the daily intake for a woman and 50% for a man.

So what about those healthy functional beverages? There are flavored waters, fruit juice blends, raw vegetable blends, and all sorts of energy and vitamin-enhanced drinks. Once upon a time Pomegranate was the hot thing on the market, but now you hear Acai, Aloe Vera, Goji and Guava. How healthy are they? Very few are actually good for you, although some may be better than your traditional can of soda. However, beware that many of these so called functional drinks contain loads of sugars. It’s easy to consume more than you should since your body doesn’t feel full as much as solid food. And worst off, downing too much liquid calories can quickly lead to obesity and other health problems. According to Barry Popkin, a professor of nutrition at the University of North Carolina, the average daily amount of liquid calories consumed should be between 5 to 10 percent of your daily calorie intake. So next time you pick up a drink, don’t be fooled on what the front label reads. It may be enhanced with antioxidants but check the back to see what else it contains.

It’s all about balance. You don’t have to completely eliminate the foods you enjoy but rather just understanding how to incorporate that into your regular diet. As mom always said, “you can have it, but not too much.” We all have cravings for something. It’s about eating right, eating the right portions and making sure you take some time. I know the past few years my diet has been like a rollercoaster. Work had taken over much of my life, and eating healthy was secondary. Strange thing, I was working for concepts that promoted healthy eating and a better lifestyle. I felt that there was never enough time. Don’t fall in the same trap as I have. There should never be an excuse for not eating healthy. It’s not worth it. Out of all people, I should know better having experienced the worst already of cancer. It’s time to start now and get back in shape.

Check out mindfuleats.com, a blog I came across that has some neat articles about healthy eating or Get Snacking, another blog with just loads of articles on healthy eating and various other heathly snacking topics. Or for you folks that are Dr. Oz fans, there is some informative stuff on healthy eating, exercise and snacking including Dr. Oz’s Top 100 Grocery Foods you should buy. Curious to know what sites do you follow, Healthy Tips you can share or Healthy Snack Ideas you may have?

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