It can be a struggle to figure out how to eat healthily. Ideally, we all would like to make easy, healthy and delicious dinners on a daily basis. Doing this is especially challenging when you live a busy life and do not have the time to sort through the insane amount of information that is handed to you every single day. How can you know what recommendation is in your best interest and which ones are meant to persuade you to buy a product?
Well, luckily it does not have to be that complicated. Truthful Food’s Back-to-Basics Meals might be exactly what you are looking for!
Our grandparents did it right
I grew up in the Netherlands. We had breakfast with bread with something on it, and the same was on the menu for lunch. For many decades a traditional dinner has been a simple three-component meal. You have a piece of meat, veggies and some type of carbohydrate, usually potato. This type of meal is common all over the world, be it in somewhat different shapes. Where I grew up with potatoes, other kids ate rice or noodles. When I got a piece of chicken, maybe you were eating lamb or salmon. No matter where you grew up, chances are, you were eating meals your parents and your parent’s parents ate when they were growing up.Edited by Kenneth F. Kiple & Kriemhild Conee Ornelas. (2000). The Cambridge World History of Food: In Two Volumes. NY: Cambridge University Press.
Food science and technology
Because of the advances in food science and technology, many of us have the chance to eat food our grandparents probably did not have available to them. Aside from the fact that it is amazing we can now buy products to make food, native to people on the other side of the world, it has somewhat complicated making certain choices. The advances in food science and technology have not only made it easier to import and export food, it has also drastically changed how it is processed. It is now possible to buy micronutrient fortified candy and energy drinks that will supply you with your daily dose of minerals and vitamins. But is it a good idea to live off fortified and processed food instead of the same food our grandparents ate?
In general, extremely processed food contains less of the good, and more of the bad. Not all processed food is unhealthy or bad for you. Technically, when you boil an egg, you are processing it. But while processing food, vitamins, minerals and food fibre are often lost while sodium, sugar and trans-fats are added. That doesn’t mean you should never eat processed food. It is, however, a good idea to always take a closer look at what you are eating and when possible, take a cue from your ancestors and go back to the basics.
Back to the Basics
Simple foods like fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts, eggs, milk, honey, whole grains, poultry and fish can be bought in a relatively unaltered state. For food safety reasons, for instance, milk undergoes some processing but vegetables do not have to.
If you want to eat varied, it is rather difficult to stay away from any type of processing. As mentioned, some processing will make your food safer to consume. I would always recommend you make sure you ‘process’ your eggs before eating them. The same goes for poultry. When you do your shopping though, it is important that you familiarize yourself with the kind of processing your food undergoes before you take it off the shelf and put it in your basket.
When you start out on this adventure, it may be a little overwhelming but it definitely is a whole lot of fun! If you want to start somewhere, watch some of the [How It’s Made] videos on food. They are a lot of fun and give you an idea of how food ends up in your store.
Get what you need
Moderation and Variation
Most of the focus in the media is on how to effectively lose weight. What often is overlooked though, is that eating healthy it is not always about cutting back on your intake. It is about making sure you (only) get what you need. To sustain your body in a healthy manner, you need a certain amount of calories, nutrients and food fibre. It is important that you do not eat the exact same thing every day. Make sure to get your nutrients from a wide variety of foods. Doing this will make it easier to consume the nutrients that your body needs.
What do you need?
In the table below, you will find an overview that roughly shows you the dietary reference values for major nutrients and food fiber.https://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/press/news/nda100326https://ods.od.nih.gov/Health_Information/Dietary_Reference_Intakes.aspx
If you are interested in how what you eat compares, write down everything you eat and drink for a week. Break down what you consumed into major nutrients and take a look at your intake. To have a look at what kinds of nutrients your food has to offer you can use the [USDA] website. They offer an extensive list of foods and their nutritional information.
Keep in mind though, that what exactly is right for you (your nutrient requirement), depends on things like:
- Physical activity level
- Genetic background
- Dietary pattern
- Physiological status (Are pregnant or breastfeeding for example.)
If you want to know what the best diet is for you, talk to a registered dietician. (S)he can go over your needs in detail and make sure you are going about it in a healthy way.
Easy, Healthy and Delicious Dinners: Back-to-Basic Meals
So how to make these easy, healthy and delicious dinners? By going back to the basics. When you are deciding what you are going to eat for dinner, don’t just think about what would taste good or is easy to make. Think about the nutrients: carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals and water and try to get the right amount of each. When creating your dinner from three components; vegetables, a carbohydrate-rich food and a protein-rich food, you are well on your way to a healthy dinner!
The table below is a general indication of how you can build your Back-to-Basics Meals. Again, make sure that you know what is right for you, based on your age, gender etc. The Back-to-Basics Meals on the [Recipe page] have a portion-size that is set to the standards below. Make sure to adjust the serving sizes, according to the people you are preparing your Back-to-Basics Meals for.
Would you like to check out all the Back-to-Basics Meals? Go to the [Recipe page] and select [Back-to-Basics Meals] under [Meals]. (Don’t worry! more are added every day!)
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