Why an investment in food is an investment in your health

Your nutrition and what you eat can improve your health and energy in addition to controlling weight.

What if I told you there is one thing you could do that would make you feel better, improve your sleep, increase your energy, strengthen your immune system, make your skin glow, and lower your risk of chronic disease? Would you do it?

I’m expecting a resounding YES here. And that’s good. Because the answer is easy: EAT WELL. The adage is true - you are what you eat, and it turns out that the benefits of good nutrition extend beyond weight.

How exactly can eat your way to good health?

Eat real food - By this I mean food that grows in the ground or was raised on a farm, not created in a factory. Whole, fresh fruits, and vegetables, all-natural meat and fish, whole grains, nuts and seeds – these are the foundations of a balanced, nourishing diet.

Ditch the wrappers - Processed foods tend to have a lot of additives that work against your health. Preservatives, excessive amounts of sugar, and salt are common in many snacks, frozen meals, and convenience foods.

Fill up on fiber - Found in fruits and veggies, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds, fiber is a true nutritional powerhouse. Looking to lose weight? Eat more fiber. Want to lower your cholesterol or manage your blood sugar? Fiber is the answer. Struggling to stay regular on the bathroom front? Yep, fiber can help. Aim to include at least one food from one of the categories above in your daily meals and snacks.

Healthy fats - Fat is not the enemy. In fact it's an essential nutrient and a helpful one at that. Some of fat’s claims to fame include reduced inflammation, glowing skin, and mealtime satisfaction. Find healthy fat in fish like salmon, chia seeds, nuts, olive oil, and avocados.

Cut back on sugar - It’s unlikely I’m the first to tell you this. Added sugar is hiding in so many places it shouldn’t be and it’s causing things like headaches, weight gain, increased inflammation, energy crashes, and bad skin. The best way to avoid it is by eating whole, real foods, and reading nutrition labels.   

What does this look like on the day to day? Try to prepare as many meals and snacks on your own as you can, using whole ingredients instead of relying on takeout or packaged grocery items. This might look like planning out your grocery shopping and weekly meal plan, dedicating one day a week to bulk meal prep, or finding prepared and convenience foods and meals that meet what you're looking for. 

This post first appeared on Grateful Plate. If you're hungry their turkey meatballs hit the spot.