My recommendations for a healthy diet plan come from the United States Government. Their 2010 Guidelines provide excellent insight into a healthy, fit lifestyle.
I will provide highlights of major points throughout this review of the guidelines. The guidelines consist of a total of 80 pages. They can be found at www.dietaryguidelines.gov.
To reduce/prevent overweight and obeseness through improved eating and increased physical activity.
To get overweight and obese people to consume fewer calories. For them, to eat less calories per day then they are eating, such habits have been observed and recorded in healthy people.
To increase physical activity and to also decrease the amount of time doing sedentary things such as watching T.V., playing video games and most likely, the number 1 problem-surfing the internet all day.
Dietary sodium is a problem and should be addressed from a healthy diet plan it should be reduced to less than 2300mg in the general population. A further reduction to less than 1500mg is suggested for those that are 51 and older and those of any age who are African American, have hypertension, diabetes, or chronic kidney diseases. Astonishing, the 1500mg guidance suggestion applies to about 50% of the U.S. population, amongst them children and the majority of adults.
Saturated fats from a healthy diet plan should be cut down to less than 10% of overall calorie intake. Instead, replace those fats with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. This isn't too difficult a suggestion if you ask me. Eating a lot of cheese is definitely a problem in America. There is a such thing as fat-free cheese.
Eliminate trans fatty acids, there have no place in a healthy diet plan. These are found in partially hydrogenated oils. The nutritional label won't say trans fats are contained in them, you have to look at the ingredients list to spot the trans fats.
Solid fats should be reduced and added sugars such as sodas and gatorade and that type of stuff needs to be cut back. You know who you are if you drink a 62 ounce big gulp of Dr. Pepper everyday as a habit. For some reason, those people are never skinny are they?
Limit the intake of foods that contain refined grains, especially refined grain foods that contain solid fats, sugars and sodium. Refined grains include white pasta, white rice, white bread and foods made with white flour or all-purpose flour. This includes many cookies, cakes, breakfast cereals, crackers and snack foods.
Alcohol should be consumed in moderation-that means one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men.
Strive to eat more veggies and fruits everyday, they fill you up! Eat different kinds of veggies, dark-green and red and orange vegetables are especially good for you, don't forget beans and peas too.
Try to replace refined grains with whole grains in your healthy diet plan. Whole grains are a fantastic choice because regular consumption of them has been linked to reductions in heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. The fiber which is removed in refined grains helps weight loss by keeping you feeling full and controlling hunger.
Some tasty whole grains include whole-grain waffles, brown rice, quinoa, whole grain pita bread, oatmeal, whole-grain cereals and whole-grain crackers. I personally love whole grain products.
Add more fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products to your diet such as yogurt, cheese or fortified soy beverages.
With a healthy diet plan, plan on being good with protein. Try seafood as a source, non-packaged sandwich meat, poultry, eggs, beans, peas and unsalted nuts and seeds. Careful with eggs, a lot of people tout eggs but one single egg provides 300mg of cholesterol. It is suggested in this guideline that you don't eat more than 300mg of cholesterol a day. That means at most 1 egg a day and that doesn't include the cholesterol from all your other foods for the day. Remember, cholesterol clogs arteries and leads to heart attacks if they get into your coronary arteries where they turn into plague.
Keep your protein sources lean in your healthy diet plan. High fat protein products such as chicken with the skin attached can be made better by eating it skinless. Don't eat that skin. A fattening steak is also the rib-eye cut steak. Try sirloin instead. Personally, I stay away from red meat due to its reputation. I love chicken. Another choice is 98-99% lean hamburger! It tastes just as good as regular hamburger and doesn't have any of the fat, it seems too good to be true. Don't believe it exists? Here is a link to lean hamburger, you won't believe how tasty it is.
You can also try lean turkey burgers, those don't taste bad. Just make sure to read the label to see how much fat it really has, turkey can be fattening as well depending on the type of meat packaged. There's a lot of hype about grass-fed beef. I recommend it only if it is lean 98-99% lean, grass-fed beef has higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids which are hard to come by and really good for you. Most people get too many omega-6 fatty acids and not enough omega-3 fatty acids, that's a problem. One should strive for a ratio of omega-3 fatty acids to omega-6 fatty acids that is one to one.
Oils can be used in place of solid fats whenever possible.
Choose foods such as milk, fruits, whole grains and veggies because these contain important nutrients such as potassium, fiber, calcium and vitamin D, all of which are of currently of concern in America.
The Guideline suggests that you be able to account for all foods and drinks consumed. I keep a personal diary everyday of what I eat and drink. I can count calories this way and also micronutrients. It's important and an effective way to diet. For some reason, when I'm keeping track of all that food I may consume in a day, if I write it down it really helps me recognize when I'm over eating and when I'm eating better.
While doing this, you may even notice triggers or events in your day to day life that lead to better food choices. One trigger for me is cardiovascular activity. When I do cardio, I eat less food for some reason. I think it's because I create lots of ketones while working out which are said to decrease hunger.
Always follow all food safety recommendations while preparing and consuming foods to reduce risks of foodborne illnesses. I've had a problem with this because I eat a lot of sushi and it's all made by hand, that's always a risk when eating sushi, remember to wash your hands effectively.
The recommendations for caloric intake is between 1600 to 2400 calories for an adult woman and between 2000 to 3000 calories for an adult male. The lower end of the range is for those that are sedentary. A healthy diet plan most likely doesn't need so many calories.
Let's face it, the majority of the United States is probably under the sedentary lifestyle except for blue collar workers such as construction workers (lucky for them, they get to eat a lot more!). A lot of men and women are behind a desk all day and the computer all night or the TV all night. My parents worked behind a desk all day and sat in front of the TV all night. There is no way, if that is your life style you can get away with eating 2000 calories, zip-zero, 2000 calories with a sedentary life-style equals mega weight gain with an average metabolism.
While being a sedentary student for 10 years I examined my caloric intake and allowance. If I eat more than 1000 calories in a day while studying at a desk all day and night I can count on putting on some weight. Even with an hour of cardio a day, I'm looking at putting on weight if I eat over 1200 calories. I think these guidelines are horribly inaccurate in there calculation of the amount of calories Americans can afford to eat. This recommendation is similar to all the older recommendations on caloric intake and look how fat America is? Don't you think we need to start recommending a lot fewer calories?
If you eat like I do, because you are sedentary, then please count your calories because you won't get to eat a minimum of 2000 calories a day and not gain weight. Same for women, a sedentary woman, that watches TV at night with her husband and works at the office during the day cannot have the pleasure of 1600 calories a day like these recently released guidelines.
Note, new guidelines will come out in 2015 and hopefully this issue will be addressed better. The problem with lower calorie diets which are a must unless you want to be heavy is that you don't get the recommended daily allowance of nutrients. You should then use a multivitamin if you are eating fewer calories then what's technically recommended for you.
Follow what works and not what's recommended in this case. Some one like my cousin would say he eats his minimum 2000 calories but is still 50 pounds over weight so he must be fine. No that's not fine, you gotta adjust until your BMI is between 20-25 which is the heathy range for adult men and women. One should strive for that BMI range even if they can't reach it. One recommended diet for people that are sedentary and that want to shed some pounds without doing cardio 2 hrs a day 7 days a week is the HCG diet.
For those with a BMI above 30, with HCG, if you follow the diet to a tee, you could count on losing 1 to 2 pounds a day for your first month but you must be disciplined to follow the diet strictly.
Note, the guideline mentions that the calorie estimates are just that, only estimates so it is better to tailor your calorie needs based on keeping a calorie journal of all the foods and drinks you have throughout the day. Doing that is dieting 101. There are several online tools that can help you with this progress. I can't believe how I can eat something in the deli at Albertson's and then google it and find the nutritional information of what I just ate.
If you need a comprehensive food tracker with your healthy diet plan, click the super-tracker button below. It's part of the U.S. Government's program called "ChooseMyPlate.gov" and it has replaced the newer food pyramid of 2005.
Good luck with your healthy diet plan. Don't forget to post comments about your dieting adventures. I'm also interested in hearing your opinion about the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.