Good food matters

I work part-time in a clothing consignment shop. I’m used to hearing comments from the dressing room when things don’t fit. Every so often, someone will say an item is too big, but usually (you could have guessed this) it’s too small. We’d expect this. It fits with Americans’ trend toward being overweight. Obesity has hit new levels; being overweight is right behind (I love puns).

I’m sympathetic — my clothes are tight, too. On Easter Sunday, I tried to make light of this by joking that my blazer jacket, the same one I wore last Easter, didn‘t button as easily as it had a year ago. I pictured myself when I finished therapy after a car accident. I was in the best shape I’ve ever been. That was nearly five years ago. Therapy was a workout I didn’t replace once the prescription ran out.

I could keep joking about my size creeping upward over the past years or I can refuse to accept another clothing size larger. I can put my foot down (make that my fork) and do something about it.

I can begin by following a healthy eating plan that tells me what I can eat freely and where to cut down. If I take a look at it every time I plan a meal or go food shopping, hopefully, healthy eating will become second nature, and I’ll make the better choices without even thinking about it.

One plan I’ve just read says deciding what is a healthy diet is simple. All you do is choose fresh, unprocessed foods and cook them from scratch as often as possible. Include lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, plenty of whole grains, and some protein. Avoid processed foods as much as you can. Drink water. Cut down on fatty foods, salty and sugary items. Steam, simmer, broil and bake your food, but don’t fry it. Reduce fat from cooking methods wherever you can do so without sacrificing flavor. Keep your alcohol intake down. And that’s all there is to it.

Cut down on fatty, sugary foods and drinks. Eat less of these and avoid them whenever you can. Choose low-fat or low-sugar varieties, and serve small portions of cakes, biscuits, pastry, potato crisps, chips, ice cream, cream, mayonnaise, sweets, chocolate, butter, margarine, low-fat spreads, cooking oils, salad dressings, soft drinks. Keep alcohol to the limits suggested by government for men and women.

Refer to these lists often as you plan your own menus — they’ll help you keep tabs on what is a healthy diet, and what isn’t.

As we foraged our cupboards for lunch one day, I told my daughter, Kathie, we have to stop buying so many bad choices, the junky items that tempt us when they’re in the house. That means we need to shop when we’re not hungry and we should plan our meals (including breakfast, lunch and snacks) before we shop.

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