You Are What You Eat: How to Make Healthy Food Choices

The year 2022 has had many ups and downs, however, it has also been the year of body positivity and self-care.

Thankfully, being stick thin is a trend of the past and nowadays all types of shapes and sizes are represented in film, music, and fashion. Everyone’s body is different, the most important thing is that you treat it with care. Your body is your temple so nourish it with a healthy and balanced lifestyle. 

Although there has been a notable increase in the trend of staying fit and eating well, obesity levels in the United States remain unmatched. Obesity is not only a common and serious disease in the States, it is also a costly one.

One of the easiest ways to prevent early-onset diseases is by leading a healthy lifestyle. Some types of cancer, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and strokes are just a few of the illnesses associated with being overweight. 

In a world where we are bombarded and overwhelmed with options, it is only normal that this is reflected in our choices for food as well. When you walk down a supermarket aisle or through a shopping mall there are hundreds of attractive products. Misleading packaging acts as a marketing ploy and can confuse consumer’s perceptions of nutrition.

The important thing is to know how to differentiate between products that look healthy and those that actually are. You want to stay away from foods that have little nutritional value but high levels of sugars, fats, and calories. Instead opt for organic, nutritious ingredients that will give you energy and make you feel good. Here are some tips on how to look after your body with healthy food choices. 

Healthy Choices at the Supermarket 

The average American makes around 88 trips to the supermarket each year. Therefore, it only makes sense that consumers are well informed about the choices they make during their weekly grocery shop. When comparing products, it is always best to look at the nutritional value on the label.

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Even foods that are marketed as a ‘healthy’ alternative can be misleading. Make sure to choose the option with the lowest amount of saturated fat, trans fat, added sugars, and sodium. Another easy choice to make when browsing in the supermarket is opting for whole-grain foods, this includes items like bread, pasta, crackers, cereals, and tortillas.  

Don’t be fooled by low-fat foods, many times brands will offer “reduced fat” versions of their products. This is typically seen with items like Greek yogurt, nuts, and even peanut butter. Although the label suggests these are healthier alternatives, more often than not, these items will have less fat but more sugars to replicate the original taste.

Unless you are opting for low-fat cheese, milk, or condiments, stay away from these items. Satisfying your sugar cravings will be difficult, after all, sugar is a highly addictive substance. However, opt for substitutes like berries, dark chocolate, dates, or snack bars.  

Healthy Choices at Work 

If you lead a busy work life it is hard to keep track of what you are eating and when you do so. When you don’t plan ahead, you tend to make more impulsive decisions when it comes to food. It is much easier picking up a sandwich or ready meal from the supermarket than it is to prepare your food before work.

If you don’t think you have enough time to prepare your lunch, you could try preparing your meals in bulk before the start of the week. This is a great way to save time and ensure that you are nourishing your body with all of the necessary nutrients. 

Another aspect of nutritional eating in the work environment involves your morning routine. Before stopping off at the office, a lot of people will choose to grab a coffee from their nearest Starbucks or Costa. There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself to one of these drinks, however, you should be mindful of their nutritional value.

A Grande Frappuccino at Starbucks can contain up to 400 calories, 9 grams of saturated fat, 340 milligrams of sodium, and 65 grams of carbohydrates (around the same as a fulfilling lunchtime meal).  

You can also make some suggestions to your employer in order to improve healthy eating habits in the workplace. Many offices have a set of vending machines for employees to snack on. You could suggest that they install a healthy you vending machine as a nutritious alternative.

These come equipped with an array of snacks like fruit, nutritional bars, and healthy beverages. Another idea is to swap out unhealthy meeting snacks like donuts, muffins, and cookies, for items like yogurt, fresh fruit, and whole-grain sandwiches. 

Healthy Choices at Restaurants 

Eating out can be difficult when you are trying to eat healthily. First things first, avoid fast-food chains and restaurants that you know have a limited number of healthy alternatives. Thanks to the internet, many restaurant menus are available online, so make sure you check it out before deciding to dine there.

An easy way to avoid empty calories is by staying away from alcohol and sodas. Combine these two together in a cocktail and a simple Cuba Libre can set you back around 250 calories. A Long Island Iced Tea or Margarita can reach up to 780 calories a pop. 

You don’t have to eat a salad every time you are out, there are plenty of other meals that can give you a similar balance of healthy fats, fiber, and protein. If you are going for a meaty dish, you can also choose the least fattening cut. For example, chicken breast is a better alternative than thighs or legs.

If you want to enjoy a steak, try to stay away from the prime rib and opt for healthier alternatives like sirloin. The best meals to look out for are those that involve lean protein meats like shrimp, fish, or chicken. Try to avoid creamy dishes and dressings as these are often jam-packed with unnecessary calories.

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Lastly, I'm starting to tell other women about a health newsletter that I've benefited immensely from and that I highly recommend. I think you might like it, too.

If you want, you can sign up here.

It's completely free and I've learned soooo much from it!

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Ava Moore
BA, MA Psychology (and Conflict Resolution), University of Cambridge (2007). With a decade of trial and error in psychology and 33 years of navigating my own complex (that's one word for it!) relationships with family, friends, co-workers and men, I hope I have some useful knowledge and skills to share with my readers about making sense of relationships and trying to become a better person every day.

I'm the Chief Editor here at Independent Femme and would love to hear from you.

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