Nutrition 101: How to Eat Healthy
When pursuing greater wellness, one of the toughest hurdles is understanding proper nutrition. When it comes to nutritional well-being, the phrase “healthy eating habits” is thrown around a lot. But what does it mean? Being doomed to a life of dry salads with dressing on the side?
No way! Luckily, good nutrition is much more dynamic and satisfying than common culture frames it to be. So if you’re seeking new strategies for how to eat healthy, nutrition class is in session. We sat down with Pure Synergy® nutritionist Hillary Bennetts for eight specialist-approved health and wellness tips to help guide your budding nutrition journey.
1. Listen to your body
Remember: nutrition is not a one-size-fits-all venture. Try to listen to your body and see how it responds to the things you eat. “What works for one body won’t always work for another,” Hillary shares, “Some people may do better by avoiding grains while others may be sensitive to certain types of fiber.” It’s all about finding what works for you.
2. Eat with intention
Next time you sit down to enjoy a meal, make way for some mindfulness. From color and texture to aroma and taste, attending to your senses as you slowly chew your food is good for your mind and body. “Chewing signals the release of important enzymes needed for digestion and absorption,” says Hillary. “and eating in a stressed or distracted state can result in uncomfortable digestive symptoms, like bloating and gas.”
3. Prioritize protein
Being mindful of protein intake isn’t just for bodybuilders. “Protein is essential to building and repairing your body's tissues, supporting metabolic reactions, and balancing blood sugar and satiety (that feeling of satisfaction without being overly full)” says nutritionist Hillary Bennetts.
Whether you get protein from animals, plants, or both, just make sure it’s coming from a quality source. If you’re a meat-eater, opt for grass-fed beef, wild-caught salmon, and pastured poultry and eggs. If not, skip the fake meats in favor of real protein-rich foods like beans and legumes.
4. Befriend healthy fat
Healthy fat is not an oxymoron. Like protein, eating foods with healthy fat supports blood sugar balance and satiety by slowing the introduction of the meal’s carbohydrates into your bloodstream. This helps you stay fuller longer and avoid drastic dips in energy.
Go for fat sources like nuts and seeds, avocado, olives and olive oil, coconut and coconut oil. And try to avoid trans fats and industrial seed oils (aka highly processed oils that are bad for you and the environment) like sunflower, safflower, palm and canola.
5. Focus on fiber-filled carbs
Not all carbs are created equal. When it comes to how to eat healthy, fiber-filled carbohydrates like whole fruits and veggies are an excellent choice. Not only are they full of vitamins and minerals, but they also help you feel full and keep your digestive system running smoothly.
6. Eat the rainbow
Colorful foods = nutritious foods. Eating a variety of colors of whole foods helps to ensure that you are also getting a wide variety of nutrients and antioxidants.
7. Supplement an imperfect diet
Whether you follow a specific diet or are just having a hard time kicking a pizza habit, supplementation can act as a nutritional insurance policy.
Like if you follow a vegan diet, you may benefit from a B complex supplement. If you don’t eat eggs, you may consider a choline supplement. If fish isn’t your thing, an omega supplement might be a smart addition. Or if you want a more comprehensive approach, a high-quality multivitamin or superfood powder are great options.
8. Remember this simple phrase
“At the end of the day, if you’re questioning how to eat healthy, a simple rule of thumb is to just eat real food,” Hillary shares. Or in the words of Michael Pollan, acclaimed author and natural food advocate: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”