Eating healthfully is not about living within rigid rules it’s about balancing your food choices"”there is no "right" way to eat well. The following four key concepts of eating well, when followed, will support your efforts to reach and maintain a healthy weight, allow you to enjoy your favorite foods, and decrease your risk for developing diabetes or heart disease.
"¢ Eat five small meals per day. While this recommendation may seem contrary to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight, eating often actually stimulates your metabolism and transforms your body into an energy-consuming machine. Obviously, an emphasis is placed on the concept of "small"! When we don’t eat often enough, our naturally efficient metabolism become sluggish, and if eating infrequently becomes a habit, this will ultimately lead to weight gain.
"¢ Avoid high fructose corn syrup and trans fats. Both of these toxic man-made food additives have permeated the food chain. They are present in most processed foods such as soft drinks, juices, and even energy drinks; canned, boxed, and frozen entrees; and almost all "snack" foods (read: junk food). Take a few moments extra next time you are grocery shopping to read the label of what you intend to eat"”look beyond the snazzy advertisement on the front of the package and more importantly, read the ingredient list. Any reference to partially hydrogenated oils or high fructose corn syrup will give you the opportunity to leave that product on the shelf.
"¢ Select often from plant foods group"”the fruits, vegetables, bean, legumes, and grains. There are many benefits to eating an abundance of plants. Plant foods fill you up with natural fiber, which will bring you to feeling full before you become over-fed. High fiber foods bind with cholesterol and fat to lower blood cholesterol levels which may decrease your risk to develop coronary artery disease. Plant foods are slow to digest, which allows for a gradual rise in blood glucose which in turns leads to just the right amount of insulin to be released from the pancreas, reducing your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. When low fiber foods are eaten, such as top ramen or wonder bread, a rapid digestion occurs causing a corresponding rapid rise in blood glucose, and a big dump of insulin to compensate; this response is associated with an increased risk to develop diabetes. Also, there are many micronutrients that are present in the plant foods; vitamins and minerals that are essential for our optimal health and well-being.
"¢ Whatever it is that you have chosen to eat, do so mindfully. Pay attention to what you are eating. Notice the aroma, the textures, and the flavor. If you eat on the run, you will experience a diminished sense of satisfaction both from the perspective of emotional pleasure as well as satiation. When eating in a hurry,
We tend to quickly "finish" the meal, so we can continue to drive to our next meeting, or jump into our next task. This will either cause you to eat too much or leave you wanting more. It takes your brain at least fifteen minutes to recognize that your stomach is full a lot of overeating can occur in those 15 minutes! Mindfully eating is especially relevant if you are enjoying a splurge. I am a big fan of splurging"”occasionally"”and the key here is to savor the flavor. Whether it is ice cream or steak and fries or bacon and eggs, take an exceedingly long time to enjoy it. You will end up eating less of it when you eat it slowly and you will derive far more pleasure from it!
When dining out, ask the waitperson to bring you a box along with your entrée. When your meal is served, immediately take half of the food off of your plate, placing it in the to-go box. Not only will you eat less right then and there, but also you will have an additional meal to enjoy for lunch the next day! If you wait until you are full to ask for a box, by the time it arrives, you will likely have nibbled a few more bites, leaving an amount that may not seem worth it to take home. That will lead either to the food getting tossed out, or you overeating to finish the "last few bites!"
Following these four guidelines: eating 5 small meals per day, avoiding HFCS and trans fats, focusing on the plant foods, and eating mindfully will support your health and bring joy into becoming well-fed.
When you dine at Paul Martin’s American Bistro, you will have the pleasure of eating real food. The focus of Paul Martin’s American Bistro is to offer healthy and delicious choices that not only taste great but also are good for you, and good for the planet. Paul Martin’s American Bistro has restaurants in El Segundo and Roseville California.
Robin Mallery, RN is a health and lifestyle expert and coach, working with clients to create change in their lives. She is the founder of HeartMatters, and works with individual clients, or with successful businesses consulting on employee wellness opportunities. Optimal physical and emotional health is within your reach!