The Importance of Eating Healthy

Sarah Jeffries, Staff Writer

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There are many different ways to eat healthily. The definition of healthy eating varies from person to person, and strategies to eat healthy also aren’t the same for each person. The body needs varieties of different foods to get all the nutrients it needs, like foods of different food groups, colors, flavors, etc. That being said, how do you go about eating healthy? And how important actually is eating healthy?

Diets can be based on many things, such as environment, schedule, allergies, health conditions, religion, and much more. There is no one way to eat healthy. Because of this, there are many different strategies to go about implementing when making a diet plan, or just doing something as simple as going to the grocery store or making dinner. You have to take a few things into account: things like activity level, schedule, and allergies. Allergies are pretty obvious; if you have a severe allergy to dairy, gluten, or any other large food group, you should invest some time into researching alternatives, especially if the food you are allergic to appears in a lot of snacks or meals, or if it contains important macronutrients such as carbohydrates or protein. This also goes along with other illnesses that require you to follow a special diet.

A schedule can also play an important role in someone’s diet. If you are super busy, home-cooked meals aren’t always an option, and a busy schedule can also limit when you can eat. For a busy schedule, if you can’t sit down and have a full breakfast, lunch, or dinner, having easy-to-grab healthy snacks can be a great option for you to eat throughout the day. Things such as pieces of fruit (if you want something sweet), jerky (to provide you with some protein), trail mix, pretzels, granola bars, carrot sticks/celery sticks, peanut butter,hummus, etc. However, if you have time during the weekend or a night off, it can be a good idea to meal prep. Meal prepping pretty much means making a meal in bulk and taking portions of it with you for a meal. Doing more than a week’s worth of meals while meal prepping, however, can lead to the meal getting less fresh, and if it’s the same meal every day, you might start getting tired of it as well. A good number of meals to make is anywhere from 3-5. Make sure that you’re getting proteins, carbs, and healthy fats in the meal that your making!

Another important thing to consider is the amount of exercise you’re getting. Physical activity plays a large role in what you eat and how much you eat. For both active and sedentary lifestyles, it’s vitally important to eat healthily, but portions differ. For sedentary lifestyles, you should be eating a healthy 1500 calories a day, give or take a little. For semi-active lifestyles (exercising about three times a week), you should be eating about 2000 calories a day. For active lifestyles (for example, if you do a sport or have a job that requires you to move around a lot), you should be eating about 2200-2500 calories a day. These caloric intakes are only suggested; if you are eating healthy, you should not be stressing out about calories. Listening to your body and eating when you’re hungry is the best thing that you can do.

All of this being said, eating healthy is one of the best things that you can do for your body. It is often said that you can’t out-exercise a bad diet, and this is very true. Eating healthy can put you in a better mood, improve your memory, give you more energy, reduce risks for cancer, diabetes, and heart problems, help you to live longer, and maintain a healthy weight. Being healthy should be a lifestyle you choose, not a chore, and it also shouldn’t take over your life. Find foods that you enjoy eating, but that keep you healthy and happy as well.    

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