“You are what you eat”- we have all heard that saying, but how true is it? Here at Natural Family Health Clinic (NFHC) we believe that what you eat matters. Having a balanced and nutritious diet supports mood, energy, and overall vitality while helping to prevent chronic diseases like heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Yet changing your diet can be very challenging as food is often intertwined with our culture, family traditions, and ways that we comfort ourselves. Moreover, changing your diet can be tricky when you are cooking for your family or other household members. All that said, even making small and consistent changes over time can yield big results for your health.
One small change that you can make to improve your health is including more fruits and vegetables in your diet. To start small, try adding just one more serving of a fruit or vegetable to your day than you normally eat. This could mean adding some veggies to your scrambled eggs in the morning, cutting up some fruit with your cereal, snacking on some baby carrots, or even adding a banana to your evening ice-cream or dessert. You can have fun exploring the supermarket or farmer’s market, trying new produce, and discovering what your favorite fruits and vegetables are. You can even include the whole family in choosing and trying new produce- it is a great way to get kids involved in making healthy choices.
Another small change you can start with is replacing one serving of a simple carbohydrate (like white bread, pasta, white rice, or pastries) with a whole grain option. For example, you could try serving quinoa with your chicken or meatballs instead of white rice, eating steel cut oats in the morning instead of cold cereal, buying a high quality whole grain bread instead of white bread, or switching out a grain based carbohydrate for baked sweet potatoes or yams. Consuming whole grains and complex carbohydrates instead of simple carbs helps balance blood sugar and keep you feeling full and satisfied for longer. This is another place you can explore and experiment with to find which whole grains and root vegetables you like the most, since in any dietary change we want to find ways to improve nutrition while still maintaining the joy and satisfaction in a meal.
In summary, what we eat matters for our health. A balanced whole food diet gives us the fuel and nutrients we need to support our mental health, energy, and vitality for a long and joyful life. Even starting with a couple of small changes can make a big difference in our health and the health of our families. So, I encourage you to explore the supermarket, try some new fruits/veggies/whole grains, and discover what you find delicious AND nutritious!