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God cares about what we put in our bodies. Why? Because it’s part of His great plan for us to lead healthy, productive lives. Our Creator seeks to make us whole, and recognizing this makes it a little bit easier to begin healthy eating habits.

Change is always difficult. Especially when it comes to what we eat. We know that we should consume more fruit, but we’d much rather have a chocolate sundae for dessert. Also, we realize that eating less saturated fat and cholesterol is healthier, but we had to work late, so it’s much easier to go through the drive-through for supper. Face it, convenience and taste usually win out.

Yes, altering our diet can be tough. Especially when we try to do everything at once. But remember, even small adjustments result in big health benefits. Start with something as simple as switching your afternoon snack to one-fourth cup of nuts or seeds. You’ll be surprised how easy it will be to then go on to other healthy eating behaviors. But you have to be motivated to get started.

So how can you get motivated to eat healthier foods, and more important, how do you stay that way?

Registered dietitians Meredith Luce and Shawn Noseworthy offer these helpful perspectives for choosing healthier foods and maintaining a satisfying, yet balanced, diet.

“Fruits and vegetables have so much color,” Luce tells us. “They add so many dimensions to your plate. Color is the key. Not only do we eat with our taste buds, we also eat with our eyes.”

So, think vibrant color whenever you’re selecting food. Plant foods—such as fruits and vegetables—naturally have lots of color, which comes from their health-giving phytochemicals. Picking foods with lots of color is one easy step toward healthier eating.

“When you think about it,” she points out, “you want taste to be as satisfying as possible, so start with healthy foods you already like.”

If you don’t like bananas, that’s OK. Choose a fruit you do enjoy. I encourage eating lots of fruits and vegetables. These are very important not just for nutrition, but also for fiber. In addition, fruits and vegetables have dimension, color, and texture, all of which makes for great mouth appeal.

“Variety is another important aspect of food choice,” Luce adds. “It’s one of those things you hear a lot from dietitians, and it’s very important, because there is no single perfect food. We encourage variety, because each food group and individual food has its own unique combination of nutrients. If we vary what we eat every day, we are guaranteed a variety of nutrients.”

“What we recommend about meat, poultry, and fish,” Noseworthy explains, “is to use them less often. Typically we overuse meat, eating more of it than we need. We don’t require that much protein, and meat usually contains the cholesterol and saturated fat associated with a higher incidence of heart disease and cancers. Minimize the amount of animal products you consume. When you minimize these foods, you will want to maximize your plant foods.”

“Plant foods do not have to be boring,” Luce stresses. “Great nutrition and enjoyable eating don’t have to be bland!”

HEALTHIER TOGETHER  

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