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Good Nutrition Made Easy

By Charles Hopkins Published 04/21/2006 | Food & Drink
Good nutrition is critical to a healthy lifestyle, yet there is so much information out there, most people do not have a clear understanding as to what they should and should not be eating. This article will simplify things.

First off, no more will you eat three big meals during the course of the day. To optimize your metabolism and your digestive system, break the day down with five to six small and nutritious meals. We will cover what these meals should be in a second.

When you clog your system with three big meals, your metabolism slows down and your digestive system cannot handle all the food. As a result, you end up with partially-digested food and, for most people, a tired and fatigued feeling.

You want to make sure you eat within one hour of waking up. In other words, do not skip breakfast! If you take away just one thing from this article, let it be that you should eat a big and nutritious meal within one hour of waking up. Furthermore, do not eat within two hours of going to bed. The last thing you want is food sitting in your stomach when your metabolism is at its slowest.

Most people know which foods they should stay away from. The obvious ones include desserts, high-fat meals, candy, fast food and fried food. In fact, most people will feel a big difference simply by staying away from these kinds of foods. The not-so-obvious ones include:

1. Pasta (with the exception being wheat pasta)
2. Fat-free foods (because they are filled with sugar and chemicals)
3. Most frozen meals (because of all the preservatives)
4. Processed meats like fake cold cuts (because of all the preservatives and chemicals)
5. Soda and juices (because of the sugar)
6. Creamy meals (because of the fat)

Furthermore, start getting in the habit of reading the ingredients of the food you buy. If sugar is one of the first three ingredients listed, do not buy it. And if you see hydrogenated oils listed anywhere in the list of ingredients, stay far away. These kinds of fats, called Trans fats, wreck havoc on your body.

As far as what to eat, buying anything at the grocery from the following list is a straight path to better health. These foods include:

1. Fruits like bananas, berries and apples
2. Whole grains including bread and pasta
3. Oatmeal (not the microwave, sugar mix)
4. Low-fat dairy including milk and yogurt
5. Chicken, turkey and fish
6. Vegetables like spinach, squash and tomatoes
7. Olive oil and fresh garlic
8. Eggs
9. Natural peanut butter (the regular kind contains hydrogenated oils)
10. Beans and legumes
11. Almonds and other nuts
12. Water

Simply focus on staying away from the foods you should not eat and buy more of the foods listed above. You will find that the longer you make an effort to do this, the more will power you will slowly develop.

Obviously sometimes you are going to slip, but this is not about perfection. Make a conscious effort to improve your eating habits and you will notice a huge difference in how you look and feel. After all, you are what you eat.