Healthy Eating Plan - Choose Wisely

Healthy Eating Plan

One of the most amazing understatements ever uttered on film occurred in the third installment of the Indiana Jones saga. The story involved the search for the "Holy Grail" in the form of a drinking cup that belonged to Jesus—a sacred vessel purported to have the ability to provide eternal youth. After many hair-raising mishaps, the adventurers finally track it down, but upon arriving, they are greeted by a decrepit Knight Templar guarding a diverse array of goblets to choose from.

Eeny, meany, miney moe!

Suddenly, the arch villain of the piece arrives, eyes blazing with the desire to obtain the cup and its magical powers. He ignores the admonition of the resident knight to ”Choose wisely,” and without stopping to consider or get advice from the archeology experts who led him there in the first place, he seizes the most ornate vessel to be found, dips it in the well and drinks from it. (At this point, people with weak stomachs should probably leave the room.)

Shortly after swallowing the water, and with an expectant look still on his face, instead of getting younger, the villain actually begins to age at an alarming speed-–from middle-aged villain to horrifying crone to creepy skeleton—and ultimately to an explosion of dust!

Without batting an eyelash at this macabre turn of events, the ancient knight remarks in a rather lugubrious voice, “He chose poorly.”

Well, duh!

The connection with a healthy eating plan

In some ways this fictitious episode is a very good allegory for a healthy eating plan. Although we won’t go from zero to sixty, (or sixty to a hundred) in a few seconds, by choosing a poor diet, we will certainly accelerate the aging process.

Fountain of youth

On the other hand, if we choose a plan with proportionate amounts of the five food groups, including as many fresh, whole foods as we can, it will be a kind of “fountain of youth,” since we will feel and look younger, and greatly increase our chances of living longer.

Simple is better

You may have realized that when the aforementioned villain chose the most ornate cup, he made a miscalculation. The hero of the story points out that Jesus was a lowly carpenter, and would have used a simple, unadorned cup for drinking. In the same way, simple unadorned foods are far better for us than more richly appointed dishes and sparkling packaged foods.

It is safe to say that with just a bit of forethought and common sense, the villain could have made a better choice. In the same way, all we need is a bit of knowledge and some good sense to choose the right foods.

Common sense plan

In general, if you think it is bad for you—lots of fat, lots of sugar, over-processed or devoid of nutrition, it probably is. If you think it’s good for you—fresh, colorful, lightly cooked, high in fiber, real food—it most likely is.

In case you need a little help, here is one healthy eating plan that is recommended by the USDA for someone on a 2,000-calorie diet, which encompasses many adults. These amounts can be divided up into meals and snacks throughout the day.

If you are an active person, and need more than 2,000 calories, you can use this healthy eating plan as a basis and just add some servings across the board to each group. Conversely, if you need fewer calories because you are sedentary, you can limit the discretionary calories and be sure to choose low-fat versions of dairy products and meat.

  • Eat 2 cups of fruit each day.
  • Eat 2 1/2 cups of vegetables each day.
  • Eat 6 oz. of grains each day.
  • Eat 5 1/2 oz. of meat and legumes each day.
  • Eat 3 cups from the milk group each day.
  • Limit yourself to 6 tsp. from the oils group each day.
  • Eat 267 calories of discretionary (meaning you choose!) each day.

Of course, there are other recommendations that would enhance this healthy eating plan, such as choosing fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and good quality fats, but this is the basic structure of a healthy diet.

It’s not the Holy Grail, and there is no magic involved, but it is a useful tool to help you choose wisely when it comes to eating healthy.

Eat and be well with my warmest regards,

Click here to go from this Healthy Eating Plan blog to Nutritional Foods page.

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