November 5, 2014 is National Eating Healthy Day as established by the American Heart Association. The day was created to help schools, businesses, individuals, and families make smarter and healthier choices by providing an easy-to-use toolkit. By celebrating National Eating Healthy Day, you can kickstart a lifelong change in your habits that can make you and the people you care about happier and healthier for a long time.

The importance of eating healthy

Holistic practitioners understand that the balance between mind, body, and spirit is essential for healthy living. This means by concentrating solely on one aspect of a person doesn’t promote healing. If one were to focus on medications and ignore diet and exercise, they may begin to experience more adverse effects. Healthy eating is just one part of the bigger picture but it can help currently healthy individuals avoid certain conditions and improve the conditions of those suffering from chronic pain or other ailments.

Eating healthy affects your overall health. Choosing a healthy diet allows our bodies to gain essential nutrients that support our activities. They protect our cells from damage and even foster cell repair. We need protein to have a healthy immune system, carbohydrates and fats for fuel, and vitamins and minerals to help our bodies function from day to day. If any of these aspects are neglected, negative effects can occur.

Healthy eating is also about not eating too much. Obesity in the United States is a major problem and affects children as well as adults. Some experts believe that kids aren’t taught at a young enough age to eat healthy foods. When humans eat more calories than their body processes for fuel, these calories convert to fat tissue. The more fat tissue your body has the more at risk it is for developing major health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension. This is why exercise is as important as a healthy diet.

No one is going to say that changing from unhealthy habits to a healthy diet is going to be an easy process. It may be best to start with gradual changes to improve your diet over time. For example, you may wish to trade soda for water to gain the benefits of proper hydration and reduce your sugar intake. Low fat foods can be substituted for high fat products. Whole wheat is better than refined grains found in white bread. Snack on fresh fruit rather than sweet snacks and vegetables in place of salty ones.

There is no one diet that is best for every single person. Some people have dietary needs that have to be taken into consideration. Someone with celiac disease needs to be kept from foods with gluten, for example. Someone with diabetes needs to watch their sugar intake, even those natural sugars found in fruit. Others may choose a specific lifestyle such as one that focuses on vegetarian or vegan foods but even these diets need to be kept in a healthy balance.

The best ways to find eating healthy resources

In today’s hyper-connected digital world it can be both easy and frustrating to find the information you need on the net. Googling “healthy eating” will get you a wide variety of results, not all of which will be any use to you in any way. So what are some of the best ways to find the right resources for your healthy living choices?

Your first step will be Googling for information not only about healthy living but in regards to your specific needs. For instance, if you are diabetic simply Googling “healthy eating” will return dozens of websites that don’t tailor their content for a low sugar diet. Instead try Googling “healthy recipes diabetes” or “diabetic living recipes healthy.” The more keywords you provide to the search engine the more specific the results will be for your requirements.

After you find and follow healthy living food bloggers, don’t lose sight of their content. If you favorite these blogs, add them to your RSS feeds, follow them on social media, or subscribe to their mailing lists you will have access to their newest content as soon as it is published to the web.

Pinterest is another great tool for the internet savvy home cook. You can scroll through hundreds of healthy recipes and save the ones that will work best for you and your family’s needs. Use the advanced search function to add qualifiers such as healthy living, gluten free, or other specific words that can narrow down your search on the site. Because Pinterest is a social networking site, you will be pulling from popular blogs, magazines, and other resources on the web. The visual component also makes for a very satisfying experience.

Eating out can sometimes be a challenge for people with specific dietary concerns or even to ensure that you are getting a healthy meal. Restaurants often provide huge portions that could easily be two or three servings of a meal. When you’re at a restaurant, ask the wait staff to bring you a box at the same time they bring your meal. Immediately set aside half of the food in the box to bring home. This will allow you to only eat what is on your plate and not gorge on extra calories.

Before going to a restaurant, you can also look at their menu online to see what they have to offer. You may want to look for vegan options, gluten free options, or other dietary requirements before committing to that location. If you do see foods that work for you, try to consider the healthiest options such as foods that aren’t fried or use fat-filled cream sauces.

Taking the next steps toward healthy eating

As we kick off the month of November with National Healthy Eating Day, it is also important to keep the holidays in mind. It can be easy to get off track with the cookies, casseroles, and family dinners around every corner. Use these techniques and more to find healthier alternatives to holiday favorites that you can introduce to your family and friends to encourage everyone to make healthier eating choices.

What are your favorite resources for finding healthy recipes?

Image by vxla via Flickr

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