Golden Rules of Healthy Eating and Common Labeling Myths
The Golden Rules of Healthy Eating
My mother always tells me to “eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper”. Regardless of the fact that most of my meals turn out to be royal feasts somehow, I try to keep this rule in mind and have a nice big healthy breakfast and plenty of healthy snacks to keep me full throughout the day so I’m not overladen with calories when I go to bed! Check out my tips for smart grocery shopping here. Here are a few other rules of thumb for healthy eating that we all know but can always be reminded of:
- Fruits and veggies
- Monounsaturated fats as your main fats (e.g. extra virgin olive oil, nuts, seeds, avocados)
- 100% whole grains (3 servings a day)
- Omega 3 fats regularly (oily fish, omega 3 eggs, walnuts, flax seeds, dark leafy greens)
- Healthy protein at each meal (fish, shellfish, poultry, low fat or skim dairy products, nuts, seeds, beans)
- Strive to have a serving from each of the following daily – dark leafy greens, cruciferous veggies, whole citrus and berries
- Make water your primary beverage
- “Whites” as in white flour products (white bread, white rice, white potatoes, sugar)
- Saturated fats (fatty cuts of red meat, whole dairy products, butter)
- Trans fats (stick margarine, partially hydrogenated oils, shortening)
- Beverages packed with sugar (soda, sports drinks, fruit drinks)
- Any products with the any of the following in the ingredients – partially hydrogenated, fully hydrogenated, shortening, artificial color(s), artificial flavor(s) or high fructose corn syrup
- If you’re trying to lose weight, avoid dried fruits (with the exception of apricots), tropical fruits (bananas, pineapple, mango and papaya) and white potatoes. These foods will kick up your blood sugar level more than other produce choices.
- Limit red meat to two servings or less weekly (choose lean poultry as a healthier alternative)
- Avoid processed meats (bacon, sausage, ham, hot dogs, salami) and fatty cuts (ribs, rib eyes, briskets, porter house, T-bones and standard ground meat)
Common Labeling Marketing Myths
“Multigrain” – This merely means that the product contains more than one type of grain. One of these types of grain could be 100% refined white flour! Stick to products that are 100% whole grain.
“Antioxidant Fortified with Vitamins E and C” – These products tend to be more expensive yet there is no scientific evidence that supplementing foods with extra antioxidant vitamins is beneficial.
“Organic” – Organic foods do not necessarily mean they are more nutritious or less likely to cause weight gain. It simply means that the food was produced without pesticides, antibiotics or growth hormones so stay away from the sugary and fatty organic foods!
“Made with real fruit” – This means that there is “some” fruit (usually fruit juice) present in the product, usually a small, nutritionally-irrelevant amount.
“High in fiber” – Products that list “high in fiber” are generally manufactured foods in which isolated fiber (commonly maltodextrin, inulin, oat fiber and wheat fiber) have been artificially added to it. It means that a single serving of the food provides at least five grams of fiber but there is no evidence for any health benefits from eating isolated forms of fiber so skip the processed foods and go for the real deal.
“A full serving of vegetables” – AKA a blatant statement that the food is factory made. Again, get your vegetables from the real thing!
“All natural” – This is commonly seen on numerous processed food products and essentially meaningless.