Start By Counting Calories, Look At Food Quality Next
Updated: Jul 3, 2020
If you're eating too many calories (or too few), you don't have a healthy lifestyle. How many calories you should eat depends on multiple factors, with amount of exercise at the top of the list. But after you're getting a healthy number of calories every day, your next step is to look at the quality of the calories you put in your body. If you haven't taken that next important step, you're probably missing important parts of a healthy diet.
What you eat affects every part of your body, from your brain to your muscles. You can maintain (or lose) weight without limiting what you eat, but that doesn't mean you are being as healthy as you can. USDA diet guidelines provide evidence-based recommendations for healthy living and can be a benchmark for your own eating habits. If you aren't eating 4 whole fruits per day, for example 4 whole oranges, then what else may be missing?
Here's one way to check the quality of the food you're eating; use an app like Lifesum. Although you'll probably learn more about your eating habits logging your diet every day, spending some time checking what you eat on a common day will give you some insight about how to improve. Remembering that you don't need to stop eating hamburgers to live healthy means you still need to those oranges most days.
If you get really interested in how your diet is contributing to your health (or isn't), check that same day's diet for the nutrients you're getting. Carbs, fat, and protein are the base of your diet, but do you know if your diet gets you enough calcium or has too much sodium? These, and other important nutrients, will affect your health long-term and changing your diet now may prevent serious ailments when you're most vulnerable. You'll appreciate yourself for taking a little time for your health today if you feel spry in old age instead of brittle.
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