Healthy Food Guide - Healthy eating isn't always easy. We tell ourselves we're going to eat better, and we may stick to it for awhile, but it never works out. Beyond just trying to eat healthy, there are a lot of crazy diets that seem appealing, and produce fast results (initially), but ultimately fail to work.
Modern dieting isn't about following one set diet. It's a new way of life. Basically, you take enjoyable foods and configure meals in such a way that taste good to YOU while allowing you to lose weight. Bear in mind, eating healthy is never the only factor to health and weight loss. You should always combine any well-balanced diet with at least a moderate amount of exercise (I aim for 3-4 times per week, 30-60 minutes of exercise each session).
Let's take a look at some examples of healthy foods to eat to help structure your diet. We're not going to just list "fruit" and "vegetables" because everyone knows that these healthy foods should be a part of any diet.
Nuts - Although most nuts are fairly high in fat and calories, you should find a way to incorporate them into your diet. They are high in fiber and certain nuts (like walnuts) contain omega 3 fatty acids, which are healthy for your heart. Some studies suggest that a serving of nuts each day will help you lose weight and maintain the loss.
Soy - Although high in carbs and fat, soy is an excellent source of protein, essential amino acids, fiber, calcium, and many other nutrients. Often used as an alternative to meat for vegetarians (it's the main ingredient of tofu), soy should be a part of your healthy diet.
Sweet potatoes - These are a nice treat due to their unique flavor and potent antioxidant effects. They are a great source of vitamin A, vitamin C, manganese, copper, and fiber. It's always great to have something healthy in your diet that tastes good (but stay away from the sweet potato french fries!).
Yogurt - This calcium-rich, creamy food is a favorite in many diets. If you're eating unsweetened yogurt, feel free to add some chopped fruit and/or granola to prepare a tasty treat. Watch out for some yogurt that is high in fat and calories. There are a number of great tasting, low fat, low calorie yogurts, so seek those out.
Fish - Fish, like soy, is another great source of protein (especially for vegetarians who eat fish). Beyond protein, many fish (like tuna and salmon) are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, which help you to lower cholesterol, protect your heart, and fight many cancers. When prepared well (bake it or grill it instead of frying it!), fish makes for an excellent, healthy treat.
As you can see with the above healthy foods, modern dieting isn't about picking one strict set of rules (like "no carbs" or "no sweets"). Moderation is key when it comes to some of our guilty pleasures, but it's important to mix in things that you like, in order for you to stay interested in your diet. If you don't enjoy your diet, you will ultimately revert to your less healthy ways, and probably gain back any weight you may have lost.
Enjoy your food, but more importantly, enjoy life!