For quite awhile now I have been reading about nutrition and healthy eating. I don’t follow any particular popular diet. Instead, I try to find a balance that seems to work for me. These are a few guidelines I’ve adopted to make better choices.
Minimize sugar and salt – It’s amazing how many prepared foods have lots of sugars and salts added. I always check ingredients of items I buy. I use honey as a sweetener as it is less stressful on your system. I don’t normally add salt when cooking because I believe you get enough from most other foods; when I do it is sea salt.
Colorful fruits & veggies – Choosing darker and more colorful foods is a good practice. For example dark leafy lettuce like Romaine is more nutritious than light Iceberg. Dark red grapes more so than light green. Brown rice, pasta, bread are usually better than the white versions. Of course there are exceptions, but this is generally correct.
Drink water and juice – Mostly I drink water or unsweetened fruit juice; not from concentrate preferred. Sodas are only bought when I eat out. Dry milk is used for cooking, over fruit and occassionally on whole grain cereal. I drink herbal tea and have one cup of green tea a day. I started this when a friend mentioned it’s benefits. I’ve not had a common cold since starting this regimen. Not sure it is related, but it is interesting.
Meat and seafood – These are smaller portions than I used to consume. But, I think they are still important for trace elements you cannot get otherwise. I also believe that, as one gets older, you need more fat and oils, so I don’t stress over it. I eat seafood once a week, usually shrimp or fish (the fatty kind like salmon, tuna, cod and cat is better), and calves liver once every two or three months. I also eat, chicken, pork and beef. Surprisingly the cheaper cuts and organ meat tend to be more nutritious.
Dairy & eggs – Cottage cheese or sometimes plain yogurt with my own fresh or frozen fruit added. Also, hard cheese like cheddar, pepperjack or swiss as a snack. I use real butter. Eggs including the yolk are a mainstay for breakfast.
Nuts, oils, grains – I snack on nuts with my favorites being cashews, almonds, and peanuts. I cook with olive, and use real peanutbutter (peanuts in peanut oil only). Whole wheat crackers, pastas, and breads from the bakery. I sometimes add wheat germ when cooking. Rolled oats (oatmeal, not instant) with fruit. Brown rice, grits (ground corn meal), red and sweet potatoes. Yeah, I know tatters are not grain, but I had to put it somewhere.
Shop smarter – At the grocery I shop the perimeter for fresh veggies, fruit, meat and dairy; frozen foods too. As a solo, it is easier to get right sized portions with frozen packs, and they last longer. Very little worthwhile is found in the center aisles which contain mostly processed foods. Read labels and ingredients to minimize sugar, salt and preservatives. Acceptable items like dry beans, whole wheat pasta, cooking oil, spices, tea, etc. are found there.
Extras – I avoid deep fried foods, alcohol, prepared or processed foods, salty or sweet snacks and candy. That does not mean I don’t occassionally indulge; but it is rare. Apple cider vinegar is supposed to be very good for you, but it is hard for me to find ways to use it except in making my own vinaigrette salad dressing with olive oil or with cucumbers and onions. Just to be sure I don’t miss any essentials I take a multi-vitamin/mineral for senior men everyday.
Following these guides help me to eat healthier. Choices are based on my own experience and not from any expertise or scientific evidence. So, don’t trust my conclusions. Do what you think is best for you. If I left out anything, or if you have advice, I’d like to hear it.
Camp: Home in the sticks-n-bricks
Scene: Residential neighborhood