Yes, you read that right, “KISS for Healthy Eating”. Okay, so I don’t actually mean like smooching your way to healthier eating. The acronym KISS, in case it’s new for you, stands for; Keep It Simple Stupid. So, my whole goal here is to make healthy eating effortless for everyone.
When it comes to eating right it is easy to become quickly overwhelmed with the plethora of information out there in regards to food. Every week there seems to be a new trend or fad diet that emerges, always claiming to be the “best” or the “right” way to eat. Food does not have to be this complicated. Deprivation or completely cutting out entire food groups does not equal healthy eating. My advise is to KISS. Below are some simple tips to just eat better without having to think too much about it.
How to KISS for Healthy Eating
In general, if it’s green it’s good for the bod. Let me rephrase, if it’s naturally green its likely a nutritious food. Don’t think you can be chowing down on some green gummy candies and say, “hey, but that article told me if it’s green its good!” Nope, sorry artificial colors don’t count.
Dark leafy greens in particular are loaded with tons of vitamins and nutrients that our bodies need and sadly most of us aren’t getting our greens daily. Tip, if you don’t like salad or just greens period try throwing spinach or kale into absolutely everything you cook. You likely won’t even notice it’s there and you will still get the benefits of eating leafy greens.
Fruits are Friends
Eat fruit. Yep, it’s that simple. Fruit has gotten a bad rap due to these new fad low carb diets, but fruit should be an important part in everyone’s diet. It’s natural and as a species we have always eaten fruit when it’s available. I don’t believe in “bad” fruits. I say this because bananas have been criticized for having a high number of carbs. Which my response is generally, “So what?”. I stick up for bananas because they are a natural whole food that our ancestors would have jumped on the chance to enjoy. Maybe avoid eating 6 bananas in one sitting, but a banana or two a day is all good in my book.
Eat Your Veggies
Going hand-in-hand with eating your greens, load your plate with veggies of all kinds. Think about eating the rainbow – orange carrots, red peppers, leafy greens, etc. I am not anti-potato, corn or other starchy vegetables, but these are not technically what I mean by veggies here. Think non-starchy veggies to mainly fill your plate; peas, green beans, spinach, artichoke, asparagus, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, eggplant, etc. I literally could go on forever. There are so many veggies to choose from you should never get bored.
Yes, legumes are technically part of the veggie family, but I am going to give them their own category. Wondering, what the heck a legume is? Legumes are the seeds of plants from the legume family, which includes beans, peas, lentils, and peanuts. Simply put, think of legumes as beans. The health benefits to legumes are endless, but include; low in fat, high in calcium, contain antioxidants and amino acids, and are high in resistant starch. Not only are they packed with nutrients, they are filling!
Limit Processed Foods
One of the easiest ways to make healthier choices is just by limiting anything that has been processed. Think boxed meals, frozen dinners, chips, crackers, cookies, etc. Chances are if you are shopping in the inner aisles of the grocery store you are grabbing processed foods. Keep it simple by shopping mainly the outer aisles and shopping the inner aisles sparingly.
To Meat or Not to Meat
I feel like this one tends to be controversial, but I am a huge believer that if your body likes/wants meat, eat meat. If you feel morally conflicted and/or want to help the planet by avoiding meat, well then, don’t eat meat. I personally don’t believe meat is “necessary” for a healthy diet nor do I think it’s the enemy from a nutrition standpoint. What I would recommend is eating a variety of foods and mainly filling your plate with veggies and limiting processed meats like; hot dogs, lunchmeat, etc. as noted above.
Drink More Water
Our bodies need water. Much of the time when we think we are hungry, we really are just thirsty. Make it a habit to grab a glass of water before that handful of chips to make sure you are actually hungry first.
I think food tracking is an extremely valuable tool and I am aware that this again is a controversial topic. I am not encouraging food obsession via calorie counting, but I do think it’s a good way to be more mindful about what you are eating and maybe why you are eating the foods you are. There are lots of tracking apps out there, but a pen and paper do the job just fine. Food journals can help you make more nutritious choices since you know you will have to write down what you ate.
When it comes to eating well, it doesn’t have to be complicated. The diet industry has made it complicated to help fill their pockets. Eat whole natural foods. Your plate should be filled with vegetables, fruits, natural protein (meat or non-meat), and legumes. It’s okay to eat processed foods, just try to be mindful of how many food choices you make are heavily processed. Deprivation doesn’t work. Enjoy your food by eating the rainbow everyday.