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Determining If Your Diet Is Healthy Enough
By Tony Robinson, Tue Jan 10th
Everyone wants to eat a healthier diet, but it can sometimes bedifficult to know if your diet is healthy enough. There are anumber of factors that go into creating a healthy diet, and itis important to evaluate the current state of your diet beforeembarking on a plan for healthier eating.
There are several questions you should ask yourself whenevaluating the healthiness (or lack thereof) of your currenteating plan. These questions include:
Do I eat a wide variety of foods? Variety is one of the mostimportant hallmarks of a healthy diet, since no one foodcontains all the nutrients needed by the human body. It isimportant to eat foods from all the major food groups, includinggrains and breads, fruits and vegetables, milk and dairyproducts, meats, beans and nuts.
If you find yourself avoiding some food groups, such asvegetables for instance, it may be time to look for a healthierdiet.
Do I recognize the importance of cereals, breads and other grainproducts? Eating a wide variety of grain based products isimportant to a healthy diet. Grains and cereals contain a largenumber of important nutrients, including high levels of dietaryfiber.
It is important to choose whole grain products as often aspossible,
since whole grain products like wheat bread containmore nutrients than more refined white bread and similarproducts. When eating cereal, it is a good idea to choose wholegrain varieties, or those that are enriched with vitamins andminerals.
Do I eat lots of fruits and vegetables? Many people do not eatsufficient servings of fruits and vegetables every day. Mostexperts recommend eating between 5 and 9 servings of fruits andvegetables every day, roughly equivalent to 2 cups of fruit and2 ½ cups of vegetables.
When shopping for vegetables and fruits, it is important tochoose a good variety of dark green, dark red, orange and yellowvarieties. That is because different colored fruits andvegetables contain a variety of different nutrients, includingvitamin C, vitamin A and beta carotene.
Do I eat a good breakfast every morning? Breakfast, or theabsence of it, is often a good indicator of the state of yourdiet. If you rush out of the house every morning and grab adonut at the local convenience store, chances are your diet canuse some work. A healthy breakfast provides a foundation for therest of the day, helps you avoid cravings and provides muchneeded nutrition.
Do I choose low fat foods over higher fat alternatives? This isalso an important question to ask yourself. Low fat alternativesare available for a variety of products, including milk, cheese,meats and more.
One part of following a healthy, low fat diet is avoidingprepared foods whenever possible, since prepared foods tend tohave higher amounts of fat and sodium than fresh foods.
It is also important to control the amount of fat that is addedat the table. Adding things like butter, sour cream and heavysauces is a sure way to ruin an otherwise healthy meal. Evenhealthy foods like salads can be sabotaged by the addition ofhigh fat salad dressings. Try using lower fat alternatives likeflavored vinegars instead.
Do I drink plenty of water? Drinking plenty of fresh, pure wateris important to maintaining a healthy body and a healthylifestyle. Water is important to maintaining optimal levels ofhealth.
If you think you need more water, try substituting water forless healthy beverages like soda and coffee.
Am I able to maintain my optimal body weight? Gaining weightwithout trying to is often a sign of a poor diet. Following ahealthy diet, and getting plenty of regular exercise, is theonly way to lose weight and keep it off.
Do I limit the amount of salt, sugar, alcohol and caffeine in mydiet? While all of these elements are fine in moderation,excessive amounts of any of these four can indicate a seriousproblem with your diet. It is important to limit the amount ofunhealthy elements in any diet.
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