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StillFit: The 5 Rules of Healthy Eating July 18, 2010

Posted by Mike Clipp in Diet, Health.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

The guidelines or rules for healthy eating are simple and easy to follow. You could read tons of books and magazines, search the health databases and the internet to find out what these rules are. You could spend hours and hours sifting and digesting the information you gather. But you don’t have to do that—I’ve done it for you and boiled it down to Five Rules of Healthy Eating. These five rules show that you can eat a healthy diet and keep your weight under control eating everyday foods. You don’t have to eat exotic foods prepared in strange ways to eat healthy.

 The Five Rules of Healthy Eating

  1. Make vegetables and fruits the base of your diet.
  2. For protein, eat mostly fish, poultry, beans, nuts, and soy.
  3. Eat whole grains.
  4. Avoid processed foods, sauces, and dressings.
  5. Aim for unsaturated fats and Omega-3 fats. Avoid saturated fats.

 If you were to undertake a study of what the healthiest and longest lived people in the world eat, certain commonalities would become apparent.  The Five Rules of Healthy Eating are the results of such a study. The Mediterranean Diet, the Okinawan Diet, the eating habits noted in the various other studies of long-lived peoples, and the results of numerous clinical studies pointed the way to the Five Rules of Healthy Eating.

 Let’s expand on the five rules:

  1. Make vegetables and fruits the base of your diet. Vegetables and fruits contain the micronutrients, vitamins, phytochemicals, antioxidants, and fiber your body needs to get healthy and stay healthy. If you eat the daily combined 7 – 9 servings of vegetables and fruits, you’ll find yourself healthier and more ready to face life’s challenges. And you don’t have to eat strange and exotic foods to get your 7 – 9 servings.  A couple of simple ways to ensure you get the proper number of servings are the daily salad and the 3/5 Plate Rule. Eat a giant salad for lunch most days—and I don’t mean mostly iceberg lettuce. Throw a wide variety of chopped up veggies into a bowl and enjoy. I’ll talk in more detail about the “Love
    Salad” in a later article. To follow the 3/5 Plate Rule divide your plate into 5 sections. Fill 3 of the sections with vegetables and fruit. Proteins go into one section and major carbohydrates go into the fifth section. Oh, and potatoes don’t count as vegetables. They’re counted as major carbohydrates in Rule 3.
  2. For protein, eat mostly fish, poultry, beans, nuts, and soy. Try to eat red meat (beef and pork) no more than once or twice a week. For the healthiest animal protein sources eat wild caught fish and poultry not raised on lots of hormones and antibiotics.  Eat sparingly of cheeses and use low fat or no fat milk.  Try to use plant sources as your protein for one or two meals per day. An easy way to do that is to have a peanut butter or almond butter sandwich on whole wheat bread for breakfast, and beans and rice for dinner. You can also add beans, nuts, and/or tofu to your “Love Salad.”
  3. Eat whole grains. These are part of what I call the major carbohydrates. The major carbohydrates include grains and grain products, rice, wheat, oats, bread, pastries, grits, white potatoes, sweet potatoes, and the like. Although I know that it’s nearly impossible to do, try to avoid eating white flour products. White breads, crackers, cookies, pastas, pastries, and chips are just a few of the items made with white flour. Also try to avoid products with added sugar. Eat whole wheat bread, steel cut or rolled oats (not instant oatmeal), whole grain English muffins, etc.
  4. Avoid processed foods, sauces, and dressings. Usually the more processed a food is, the worse it is for you. A steak is better than a hot dog and a pork chop is better than sausage. A chicken breast is better than chicken nuggets. Oatmeal is better for you than boxed cereal. Fruit is better for dessert than cakes and cookies and pies, oh my. Try not to add fatty sauces, gravies, cheese sauces, alfredo sauces, cream sauces, and the like to your food. Strive to enjoy the real, natural flavors inherent in the foods rather than cover them up with sauces and goop. Be careful you don’t turn your good salads into fatty salads by pouring lots of high saturated fat dressings on them. Try mixing up some olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and spices, then drizzle it on your salad.   
  5. Aim for unsaturated fats and Omega-3 fats. Avoid saturated fats. If you follow Rules 2 and 4 you should have no trouble with this rule. For animal protein just choose poultry over beef and pork, and fish over poultry. Any of the plant proteins work well for this rule.  Just remember to avoid the fatty sauces and dressings.

I’ve presented here a quick look at the Five Rules of Healthy Eating. In later posts I’ll dive deeper into each of the rules. My next post will look at the Five Rules of Effective Exercise.



1. skinny101grly - July 18, 2010

These are great rules to live by. I’m 26 and try to incorporate these guidelines (in some capacity) into each meal I eat. Great info!

2. Amanda - July 18, 2010

Great post! I also try to stick with these guidelines.

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