In a recent post on CNN.com, it was revealed that children’s healthiest meals actually come from school cafeterias.
I’m not sure if you’ve seen the food options offered in school cafeterias, but that’s a rather ‘alarming’ headline in my way of thinking.
Here’s the thing.
A lot of people don’t eat particularly healthy diets.
As a result, the prevalence of obesity in the United States was a whopping 42.4% from 2017-2018, and the prevalence of severe obesity increased from 4.7% to 9.2%.
Diet probably isn’t the only factor… but it’s a big one.
So what can you do to change it?
The good news is that there are opportunities all around us to eat healthier, better food.
We just have to make the leap and give it a try.
Step 1: Shop At The Grocery Store
It’s fast and easy to run through the drive-through. But even ‘healthy’ fast food options are usually loaded up with high-calorie counts and processed sugar.
Sure, grabbing a salad at the drive-through may be your healthiest drive-through option… but they’re also a lot more expensive to buy this way.
That’s the price we’re paying for convenience.
When I started focusing on going to my local grocery store to buy my food, and started choosing healthier food options and cooking more at home, my weight started declining right away.
I also felt a ton better, and noticed a sharp decline in problems like upset stomach, sleeping problems, and heartburn.
But I had to prioritize it.
If we don’t make eating healthier foods a priority, we’re just never going to do it.
Because in our culture and society, it’s actually a lot more difficult and time-consuming to eat healthier foods.
Plus, they just don’t tend to taste as good when we’re used to fried foods and processed sugar.
Step 2: Start Checking Calories
Calories aren’t the be-all, end-all factor for deciding which food to eat.
But if you’re trying to lose weight, it’s the number-one, most basic thing to look at.
I was incredibly surprised when I compared the calorie counts of avocados and Roma tomatoes, for example.
An avocado, while super good for you, packs in 234 calories (one cup, sliced).
While Roma tomatoes, on the other hand, only pack in about 25 calories for an entire medium-sized tomato.
I’m not saying that avocado is the wrong food to eat.
But in my diet, those extra 200 calories need to be cut somewhere else if I choose to indulge in the avocado.
But… compare these choices to a fast-food burger, which can easily add up to 500-700 calories before factoring in a drink and fries, and it’s easy to see why so many people are probably eating far more calories than they intend to.
Most fast-food meals that I see have calorie counts that exceed 1,000 calories!
But calories aren’t the only thing to pay attention to.
We should also be paying attention to the nutrients we get from our food.
Sure, a fast-food burger tastes really good, and there may be some veggies on it… and yes, it may give you some protein.
But all in all, there isn’t much nutrition to be found there.
Compare this to a hard-boiled egg, a Roma tomato, some green beans, and a piece of lean chicken; and you can quickly see how the nutrient-filled meal offers a ton of benefits.
It’s not only lower in calories, but packed full of foods that are actually going to nourish you; not just fill you up with processed sugar.
Step 3: Make It A Habit
The idea of eating healthier foods is difficult because they don’t taste as good as unhealthy foods.
Like it or not, a deep-fried chicken leg with a soda on the side will always taste better to me than a tomato, an avocado, a piece of lean oven-cooked chicken, and a glass of water.
So I have to have a good reason to want to eat healthy foods.
And that’s where the good habits come in.
If I make a plan for my health, my body weight, how I want to feel, how I want to look, etc. And I tell myself “I can meet this goal if I eat healthier foods…” Well, that gives me powerful motivation that I can use to be more successful as I choose my meals for the day.