Eat Healthy with Three Ingredients and Three Approaches

It’s the New Year, and we all know what that means: Resolutions!
Nutrition, exercise, and weight loss will be top of mind for many, so let’s consider the best approaches.
When it comes to eating plans for health and overall wellbeing, we are all unique. There is no one plan that fits all — no magic pill, potion, program, or product that will miraculously transform your lifestyle and health. I tried more than a few!
There are, however, three key strategies to eating well:

  1. Do not eliminate entire food groups like carbs or fats.
  2. Focus on a whole food, plant-based diet.
  3. Choose minimally processed foods rather than the ultra-processed foods so ubiquitous in our food supply.

An eating program that demonizes any food group is not an approach I recommend.
Two of my recommended eating plans incorporate these three strategies: the Mediterranean Diet and the DASH Diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension). DASH not only clinically reduces high blood pressure but is a balanced approach for overall health.
My third recommendation is my favorite, and it’s the style of eating I myself follow: The flexitarian way of eating.
Just like its name implies, it’s a combination of flexible and vegetarian. I’m mostly a lacto-ovo (milk/eggs) vegetarian, but should I have the urge to eat a good steak or a juicy burger, I will, just in moderation.
The flexitarian approach is not about eliminating foods. It is about implementing a flexible approach to what you can eat.
Whichever plan you choose — Mediterranean, DASH, or flexitarian — it’s a personal choice. They all, however, focus on those three strategies:

  1. Not eliminating entire food groups.
  2. Eating more whole and plant-based foods.
  3. Minimizing consumption of ultra-processed foods.

When regarding eating for health and wellness ask yourself: “Is it nutrition I can live with?” Remember, the best diet is the diet you don’t know you’re on. 
This simple meal plan example fits into any of my three recommended eating plans.


 

Breakfast:

  • Oatmeal (1/2 cup dry oats made with 1 cup soy or dairy milk) with ¼ cup walnuts and 1 diced apple mixed in.

 

Lunch:

  • Caprese Sandwich (mozzarella, tomato, and basil): 2 slices of whole wheat bread, 2 ounces mozzarella cheese, tomato slices, fresh basil, and 1 teaspoon olive oil. 
  • A banana or fruit of choice with veggies on the side.

 

Dinner:

  • 3-4 ounces cooked salmon
  • 1-2 cups roasted, baked, or grilled veggies (summer squash, carrots, broccoli, asparagus)
  • ¾ cup cooked quinoa or wild rice, mixed with 2 tablespoons walnuts and 2 tablespoons dried cranberries

 

Snack Ideas:

  • Fresh fruit
  • Crunchy veggies (carrots, sugar snap peas, celery, jicama, bell peppers)
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Edamame
  • A handful of nuts
  • Roasted chickpeas
  • Deli turkey

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