A 5-Step Plan to Eating Well for the Rest of Your Life

Discover how to eat well and eat simply with our guide to a balanced diet.

| May/June 2017

  • Make meals that use whole, simple ingredients for a healthy diet.
    Photo by iStock/HASLOO

What should we eat?

Meals and snacks made from whole-food ingredients packed with energy and nutrition — whenever we’re hungry.

Doesn’t sound so confusing. Yet eating well and getting proper nutrition can seem exceedingly difficult — so much so that obesity is an epidemic; American girls as young as 7 report being on diets; and weight loss is a multibillion-dollar industry. Why? The seemingly simple ways of eating well are obscured by a number of factors: Marketing, convenience, misinformation, stress and boredom, just to name a few.

We eat for many reasons — because we are truly hungry, yes, but also because someone cooked for us, or because it’s noon, or because we’re bored…or simply because food is there.

It can also be hard to know which foods to eat. Sometimes our bodies crave foods we know aren’t good for us. Sometimes we don’t feel good, and we don’t know if food is the culprit. Sometimes we read conflicting information about what foods may or may not benefit us, or trigger inflammation, or lead to weight gain. And often, we eat foods that are not ultimately nourishing simply because they deliver fast energy.

For all of these reasons and more, getting into a positive rhythm of eating can seem challenging. But honestly, getting there is the only hard part. When we tune in to our bodies and figure out the real food rules that work best for us as individuals, we look and feel our best. Then we can rely on our bodies to know instinctively what to eat, when, how, where and how much.

Barring medical conditions that can’t be improved through diet, the food we eat is truly our greatest ally in achieving optimum health. According to Samantha Durland, a physician who specializes in women’s health in Lawrence, Kansas, “At least 80 percent of how you look and feel comes directly from your diet.”

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