How to Eat Healthy and Love It! - Consumer Reports
Eating healthy doesn't have to be boring or restrictive. Consumer Reports shows you how to enjoy nutritious and delicious food that will boost your health and happiness.
According to a survey by Consumer Reports, about 80 percent of Americans have made at least one change in the food they eat or the way they source or prepare it since the COVID-19 pandemic started. Some of these changes may have positive effects on our well-being, such as cooking more at home, growing our own food, or eating more family meals. But others may be less beneficial, such as snacking more often, stress eating, or relying on takeout.
So how can we make sure we are eating healthy and loving it Here are some tips from Consumer Reports experts and nutritionists:
Limit added sugars. Added sugars are those used as ingredients in many packaged foods, not the ones naturally found in foods such as fruit and milk. They can contribute to weight gain, obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 9 teaspoons (36 grams) of added sugars a day for men and 6 teaspoons (24 grams) for women and children. Children under the age of 2 should consume no added sugars at all.
Choose whole grains over refined grains. Whole grains contain the entire grain kernel, which provides more fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals than refined grains that have been stripped of their bran and germ. Whole grains can help lower cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar levels, and reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers. Examples of whole grains include brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa, bulgur, and whole wheat bread.
Eat more fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants, phytochemicals, fiber, vitamins, and minerals that can protect against various diseases and boost immunity. They also add color, flavor, and texture to your meals and snacks. Aim for at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day, preferably from a variety of colors and types.
Include healthy fats. Not all fats are bad for you. Some fats, such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, can lower cholesterol levels and reduce inflammation. They also provide essential fatty acids that your body needs for brain function, cell growth, and hormone production. Sources of healthy fats include olive oil, avocado, nuts, seeds, fish, and soybeans.
Watch your portion sizes. Even healthy foods can lead to weight gain if you eat too much of them. To control your portions, use smaller plates and bowls, fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables, avoid eating directly from packages or containers, and stop eating when you feel satisfied rather than stuffed.
Eating healthy doesn't mean you have to give up your favorite foods or flavors. You can still enjoy occasional treats or indulgences as long as you balance them with nutritious foods most of the time. You can also experiment with different spices, herbs, sauces, or condiments to add variety and excitement to your meals. Eating healthy can be fun and rewarding if you make it a habit. ec8f644aee