Everything You Need To Know About Eating A Conscientious Diet

How much thought do you put into what you eat? Many of us drift through the day, eating whatever's easiest. We might buy whatever's ...

How much thought do you put into what you eat? Many of us drift through the day, eating whatever's easiest. We might buy whatever's on offer at our work cafeteria or throw together a quick meal at the end of the day. However, a lot of us don't spend enough time thinking about what we put into our bodies or where it comes from. Thinking carefully about what you eat isn't just important for your health. It also matters for the health of the planet, for the economy, and for society. Some people might choose to spend more time thinking about their food than others. But we can all be a bit more thoughtful about what we eat. Here's how you can do it. 

Understand What Your Body Needs 

The first way that most of us think about food is what it does for our bodies. Eating a balanced diet is one of the essential parts of being healthy. If you want to eat the right things, you can begin by looking at recommended nutritional values. These include amounts for calories and various nutrients. However, it's important to remember that everyone is different. Following guidelines is a good start, but it's better to work out what your body needs in particular. For example, there are suggested daily calorie amounts for men and women. However, you might be bigger or smaller than average, or more or less active. If so, following these recommended amounts might not be useful for you. 

Getting to know your own body is a vital part of enjoying a healthy diet. Your doctor, a dietitian or your personal trainer can help you work out how many calories you need each day. It doesn't have to be the same all the time. Someone trying to lose weight might cut back for a while but then eat more if they want to put on some muscle. There are other things to consider aside from calories too. You also need to identify any foods your body might not agree with or deficiencies you need to work to correct. 

Learn to Read Food Packets 

Once you know what you should put into your body, you need to find out how you can tell what you're eating. You might think it's easier to tell with fresh foods. But even with them, you should understand which nutrients you can find in different items. When it comes to food in packaging, you can often find plenty of nutritional information, as well as the ingredients. If nutritional information is included, it's not difficult to interpret. You just have to remember that any numbers are based on recommended amounts. 

However, reading ingredients can be a bit trickier. If you're looking for vegan or vegetarian food, there will often be a symbol letting you know it's safe to eat. You can also find some mobile apps so that you can look up a product and check if you can eat it. Allergy information should be listed too. For some ingredients you want to avoid, you have no choice but to trawl through the list. It's up to you to become familiar with anything you don't want to put in your body, and the different names it might go by. 

Look for Conscientious Food Companies 

Many people want to move away from buying from huge corporations. Many food production companies all come under the same name. If you want to buy from people who care about the planet and the people on it, you can look for more conscientious enterprises. You can't always shop at farmers' markets or grow your own food. But you can buy products from a food production company that produces ethical food. For example, the best products from Hampton Creek are created by working closely with farmers, chefs and food scientists. There are plenty of ethical companies that produce food that's healthy and affordable. 

Buy Local 

Many people are making a move toward buying their food locally. Of course, just how local you can get depends on where you live. You're unlikely to be able to buy local fruits and vegetables if you live in the middle of a city. However, that won't stop you from buying produce from within your state or within the country. Imported food leaves a larger carbon footprint because it has to be transported to where you live. On top of that, it's less fresh because it needs to travel before it reaches a store where you can buy it. Buying local food supports local businesses and is more eco-friendly. 

Buy Seasonal Food 

For similar reasons, you should try to buy food that's in season too. If it's not the right time of year for strawberries, they have to be imported from elsewhere for you to enjoy them. Making the most of the seasonal foods is an excellent way to experiment with new ingredients. You probably already use seasonal produce to an extent without really thinking about it. For example, when fall arrives, are you all about everything pumpkin? You can find locally grown and seasonal ingredients throughout the year. They can help to make your diet more varied throughout the seasons. 

Keep Things Fresh 

You might feel that being vehemently against all processed foods isn't for you. That's ok if you can't resist a treat or a lazy meal now and then. But it's still better to try and eat fresh food as much as possible. In many cases, it's no more expensive and doesn't take much longer to make something from scratch. For example, think about a jar of pasta sauce. If you want to make your own sauce, all you need is an onion and a couple of tomatoes. If you can't buy completely fresh food, even cans of ingredients such as beans or tomatoes are great. 

Explore New Foods 

If you want to be more thoughtful about what you eat, it can be helpful to get out of your comfort zone. Many of us get used to eating the same things, which can make it harder to eat local, seasonal food. Being open to trying new things will help you learn more about different foods and where they come from. 

Understand Food Production 

Do you really know how your food is produced? You can learn a lot more about what you eat by understanding the production process. You should find out things like how your vegetables are grown and where your meat comes from. Some of the things you learn might change your mind about what you want to eat. For example, maybe you will decide to stop eating meat or to buy meat from small farms. You might prefer to get fairtrade chocolate and coffee. Or you might buy only organic fruits and vegetables. 

Reduce Food Waste 

One of the ways you can be more thoughtful about your food is to understand how much you need. If you know how much you need to eat, you can avoid buying or cooking too much. Food waste is a huge problem in many developed countries, and it needs to be controlled. As well as only buying what you need, you can find other ways to reduce waste. For example, there are techniques you can use to ensure leftovers get used instead of thrown away. You can have a leftovers night for dinner once a week, or you could use ingredients in a new meal. For example, if you have leftover roast chicken, you can use it to make a stew, risotto, or whatever you want. 

Plan Meals, Snacks, and Drinks in Advance 

Planning what you eat and drink helps you to be more thoughtful about what you put in your body. If you decide what you're going to have each day or each week, you'll be less likely to make spontaneous purchases. You can plan out everything so that you get your required calories and nutrients. If you want to make sure that you're eating what you think you are, try getting some smart scales. It will help you measure out your food so that you can be more accurate about what you eat. 

Stick to a Food Budget 

Having a food budget will also make it easier for you to be conscious of your diet. If you keep to your budget, you won't be able to buy random snacks and fast food meals. Your meal planning and food budget can go hand in hand. They can both prevent you from making spontaneous food choices. Picking something on the spot could be less healthy or perhaps less ethical. If you need the motivation to stick to your food budget, think of what else you can do with the money you save. You could even divide your money between different places at the beginning of the month. So you have no choice but to stay on budget. For example, you can put your spare cash in a savings account. If you can't access it right away, you won't be tempted to spend it. 

You don't have to make your whole life revolve around food. However, it's beneficial to your health and the planet if you can take some time to think about what you eat. 

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  1. This has been so helpful. Well written Alicia :)

  2. Following a diet is tuff but when done right way it's of great help. Well written!


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