Your Guide to Dieting and Meal Planning
Keeping up with the latest diet trends is difficult enough, but finding out which lifestyle is right for you can also be time-consuming. By now, you probably know someone who claims that the XYZ diet is the most favorable, but everyone is different. And so are our bodies. So how can you determine the right meal plan and lifestyle for you? It starts with understanding what options are out there.
What we eat is essential to achieving optimal health. And for some, that means only consuming plant-based foods. This includes leafy greens, almond milk, beans, and whole grains. The vegan diet is focused on the nutrients you can find without consuming dairy, eggs, fish, or meat. And because many plant-based foods are naturally nutrient-dense already, following this diet allows you to truly optimize your mealtime and inevitably, your overall wellness. There are several variations of veganism, including vegetarianism which is less strict than veganism as it allows you to consume products like eggs and dairy. Similarly, pescatarians often consume fish as an added protein substitute.
As a low-carb diet, the Keto lifestyle is focused on eliminating foods like sugar, bread, most fruits, and starchy vegetables. The reason for its popularity is its ability to help people lose weight and manage their blood sugar. However, there are a plethora of other benefits as well. Instead of eating carbohydrates, you get most of your energy through proteins and healthy fats. An example of a meal you might prepare on this diet would be a piece of salmon, cauliflower rice, and broccoli. For a snack, you might grab a cheese stick, hard-boiled egg, or a handful of nuts. While this lifestyle can come across as restricting, there are plenty of versatile, low-carb foods you can still enjoy.
If you were born 10,000+ years ago, you might have followed what’s now known as the Paleo diet.
To refine the list, think about anything that can be hunted or gathered. This includes fish, lean meats, fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Essentially, following this diet takes you back to what people used to eat before modern farm practices were introduced. While whole grains and legumes are cut from this diet, you still get a variety of nutrients from the number of fruits and vegetables you consume.
Optimal health looks different for everyone, so while following any one of the diets we touched on plays a contributing role, finding a balance can also prove beneficial. For instance, you may choose to eat meatless products on Mondays, alter between Keto and Paleo throughout the rest of the week, and give yourself a bit of grace on weekends. Your primary care physician can help you determine the appropriate route based on your unique health goals.
When meal planning, try to stick to a schedule. For instance, perhaps you plan your meals on Thursdays, shop for groceries on Saturday’s and prepare to batch cook meals on Sundays. This ensures you start the week off on the right foot. As you begin a new lifestyle change, recognize that it’s normal to fall out of your routine every now and then. Instead of getting down on yourself, look at each day as a new opportunity to be the best version of yourself.
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