Healthy Eating 101: The Most Important Things

Any of my long-time readers will know that I am a big advocate of healthy eating and extremely skeptical of strict diet plans that promote one type of food and eliminate others.

To be fair, a strict diet that reduces food choices and lays out a specific plan can be very helpful for a lot of people struggling with their weight. Most people can be successful in losing weight on that type of plan.

The problems arise after the diet is ‘over’ and more flexible eating resumes.

Read on for some tips about maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle:


What is healthy eating? Everyone, including health professionals, health influencers, colleagues and family members, has their own opinion on the healthiest way to eat. Nutrition articles you can read online can completely confuse you by their recommendations and rules.

It’s not easy when you just want to eat healthy; here’s how to find what works for you

You should know that healthy eating should be fun and not complicated.  It’s entirely possible to nourish your body while enjoying the foods you love. After all, food is for enjoyment — not fear, calculation, weighing, and pursuit. This article cuts the noise to explain what healthy eating is and how to make it work for you, you can use

Why is healthy eating important?

You should know that food is what drives you and provides the calories and nutrients your body needs to function. If your diet is lacking in calories or one or more nutrients, your health may suffer. Likewise, if you eat too many calories, you can gain weight. Obese people are at significantly increased risk of developing diseases such as type 2 diabetes, obstructive sleep apnea, and heart, liver and kidney disease.

Additionally, the quality of your diet affects your risk of disease, longevity, and mental health. While diets high in ultra-processed foods are associated with increased mortality and increased risk of diseases such as cancer and heart disease, diets that consist primarily of whole, nutrient-dense foods are associated with longer lifespan and disease prevention. Diets rich in highly processed foods may also increase the risk of depressive symptoms, especially in people with less physical activity.

IMPORTANT: if your current diet is high in ultra-processed foods and beverages (such as fast food, soda, and sugary grains) but low in whole foods (such as vegetables, nuts, and fish), you may not be getting enough of some nutrients, which may negatively affect your overall health.

Do you have to follow a certain diet to stay healthy?

Absolutely not! While some people need to avoid or choose certain foods for health reasons, most people don’t need to follow a specific diet to feel good. That’s not to say you can’t benefit from certain eating habits. For example, some people think they are healthiest on a low-carb diet, while others thrive on a high-carb diet.

In general, however, healthy nutrition has nothing to do with sticking to a diet or certain nutritional rules. “Eating healthy” simply means prioritizing your health by providing your body with nutrient-dense foods. Individual circumstances may vary, depending on their location, financial situation, culture and society, and taste preferences.

IMPORTANT: healthy eating does not involve a specific diet, it means prioritizing your health by fueling your body with nutrient-dense foods.


Fundamentals of Healthy Eating

Now that you know why healthy eating is important, let’s cover some nutritional basics.

  • Nutrient density

When you think of healthy eating, the first thing that probably comes to mind is calories. While calories are important, your primary concern should be nutrients. That’s because nutrients, including protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals, are what your body needs to thrive. “Nutrient density” refers to the amount of nutrients in a food relative to the calories it provides.

  • All foods contain calories, but not all foods are nutrient-dense

For example, egg whites contain far fewer calories and fat than whole eggs. However, one egg white provides 1% or less of the DV for iron, phosphorus, zinc, choline, vitamins A and B12, while one whole egg provides 5-21% of the DV for these nutrients.

  • This is because eggs contain nutrient-dense, high-fat yolks

While some nutrient-dense foods (such as many fruits and vegetables) are low in calories, many foods (such as nuts, full-fat yogurt, egg yolks, avocados, and oily fish) are high in calories. It’s totally fine! Just because a food is high in calories doesn’t mean it’s bad for you. For the same reason, just because a food is low in calories doesn’t make it a healthy choice. 

IMPORTANT: if your food choices are based solely on calories, you lose the point of eating healthy.

One of the best ways to improve your diet is to cut back on ultra-processed foods

Many healthy foods, such as shelled nuts, canned beans, and frozen fruits and vegetables, are processed in one way or another. In contrast, highly processed products such as soda, mass-produced baked goods, candy, sugary cereals and certain packaged snacks contain few or no natural food ingredients. These items often contain ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, and artificial sweeteners. Studies link diets high in ultra-processed foods with a higher risk of depression, heart disease, obesity, and many other complications.

IMPORTANT: best to prioritize nutrient-dense foods, especially vegetables and fruits.

Good nutrition is one of the most important things to promote and maintain optimal health. Nutrition can help reduce your risk of certain diseases, boost your energy levels, improve your mood, and more, so you should eat healthy from today.

2 thoughts on “Healthy Eating 101: The Most Important Things”

  1. Healthy eating is a well balanced diet from all the food groups and doesn’t contain a lot of processed or canned foods. Obviously adjusting things if you have health problems (like mon mari) or allergies, makes a difference, but overall, I think we were a lot healthier before fast food and overly processed foods were introduced as well as those giant, heaping plates full when you go to a restaurant here in the US.

    • The hubs loves McD’s and has lunch there every other month. I join him about once a year (and always regret it lol), That and the ham for his sandwiches covers the processed food we eat. We’re an exception, tho, I’m afraid. No Taco Tuesday’s here in France lol.

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