Mum Mum’s recently reported on understanding a whole food based diet. Developing healthy eating habits is not as difficult as one might think, and children are born with a clean slate ready to develop their eating habits by mirroring others. Even if you understand all the food and label lingo, but are still having a difficult time grasping how to implement a healthy diet into your family’s meals here are 8 building blocks to a healthy diet:
- Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes are the foundation of a healthy diet. Low in fat, rich in vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients; these foods provide what your body needs and should represent the bulk of your diet.
- The second principal is to eat those foods in a wide variety, as different foods provide different nutrients. Create a rainbow on your plate of colorful produce daily and mix up the types of grains and legumes for maximum benefit.
- The rest of the foods should come from low-fat dairy, lean meat, fish, and poultry. Vegetarians and vegans can still get adequate protein without animal foods as long as the previous rules are applied.
- Make sure to include dark leafy green, yellow, and orange vegetables and fruits daily as they not only contain disease-fighting antioxidants and natural immune boosters, but are also important nutrients for growing kids like vitamins A and C, as well as calcium.
- Choose high fiber foods: this one is easy if you follow the previous steps! Fiber is abundant in whole grains, legumes, fruits, and veggies and is basically an added bonus for the good food choices.
- Go for the healthy fats and limit the unhealthy: opt for fish, nuts, and nut butters as well as olive and canola oils over hydrogenated oils, butter, margarine, or trans fats.
- Get enough calcium: calcium is critical to maintain healthy bones and teeth and kids need lots of calcium to support their growing bones. Low fat dairy is an option, but if there is a dairy allergy in the house, emphasize non-dairy calcium sources like leafy greens, almonds, soy nuts, beans, or fortified orange juice.
- Have sugary foods, processed grains, and high sodium snacks in moderation: this is the last step because these types of food can be eaten only when the proper foundation of a healthy diet is laid. Just like you can’t put a roof on a house until it is built from the ground up, refined or processed snack foods fit best on top of the healthy diet building blocks.