When it comes to feeding our children, even ourselves, it is important we eat healthy, wholesome foods, but what does “natural” and “healthy” really mean?
Food labels can be incredibly complex. Many consumers assume that the words “healthy”, “natural”, and “organic” are somewhat similar when in fact, the FDA governs them all completely different. “Natural” is barely enforceable while “healthy” and “organic” are regulated separate from the FDA, by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it refers to how a food was produced rather than its ingredients.
Meat that is labeled as “natural” can come from animals that were raised with a daily dose of antibiotics and other drugs, given artificial growth hormones, fed genetically engineered soy and corn feed, and other artificial ingredients and confined indoors.
Some food and drug administrators have ruled out avocados and sorts of nuts from being considered “healthy” because their high amounts of fat, but we have all heard our entire lives that these are some of the healthiest foods out their because of the healthy fats they include.
The types of food we eat can be so different from person to person. Joe may be able to eat dairy products while Sally is sensitive to lactose. Susie may have a high metabolism and can eat however much she pleases while Johnny is eating a balanced diet and at the gym everyday trying to lose weight. Each person’s diet is so specific to their own body that it is next to impossible to decipher healthy from one person to the next.
Besides the obvious; fast foods, deep-fried foods, sugary and salty foods, balanced nutrition is important for everyone. It is important to eat a variety of foods that give you the nutrients, you need to maintain your health, feel good and have energy. These nutrients include protein, carbohydrates, fat, water, vitamins, and minerals. When combined with being physically active and maintaining a healthy weight, eating well is an excellent way to help your body stay strong and healthy.
The USDA recommends the following for an American diet:
- get less than 10% of calories per day from added sugars
- get less than 10% of calories per day from saturated fats
- eat less than 2,300 mg of sodium per day
- include a variety of vegetables: dark green, red and orange, beans and peas, etc.
- whole fruits
- whole grains
- whole, full fat dairy products including milk, yogurt and cheese
- a variety of proteins including seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, beans and peas, nuts, seeds, and soy products
- extra virgin olive and coconut oils
It is important to design a diet that meets your individual goals and can be correlated to your daily life. Set a goal for yourself, whether it be to count calories, cut back on eating fast foods, stop drinking pop, eat more whole fruits and vegetables, make it a personal goal for yourself and set aside time in your day to prepare for a diet and physical change.
To get started on a nutrition plan today, call our office to set up your initial consultation.