Healthy & Delicious Eating Habits with Jameson Watermulder

640px-Fruits_veggiesWith the sun finally shining and summer just around the corner, eating healthier has become a popular topic. Wanting to fit into that new bathing suit or look fabulous while sunning on the beach means in part changing unhealthy eating habits.  But, where does one start?

Ditching the rich, winter comfort foods and switching to lighter options is an obvious choice to tone up for summer.  However, just eating lighter isn’t always enough to get us where we want to be. For those wanting to make a greater impact a dietary overhaul maybe in order.

A close examination of your diet is needed if you want to shed excess weight.  It’s also needed if you frequently feel bloated or constipated. Bloating, acid reflux and heartburn may be signs of a more serious issue.  As Kathy Swift writes in Mind Body Green, they can be “classic signs that something may be triggering irritation and inflammation in the gut. You may be sensitive to gluten and possibly even have an immune reaction.”

Fatigue, immune issues, skin problems and mood swings are also signs that the food you are eating isn’t fueling your body properly.

Developing healthy eating habits doesn’t need to be confusing or as restrictive as many people believe it to be.  The key is to eat mostly foods derived from plants, like vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes [beans, peas, lentils], while also limiting high-processed foods.

Variety is essential to ensure you get a balance of all the nutrients and vitamins your body needs. Dieticians recommend aiming for 2½ cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruit a day.  A good rule of thumb is to eat as many colors as possible. Including green, orange, red, blue/purple and yellow produce into your diet will guarantee you benefit from all the immune boosting and nutrient power that vegetables and fruits offer. “The nutrients, fiber and other compounds in these foods may help protect against certain types of cancer and other diseases,” notes the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.

Healthy eating doesn’t have to be about restriction — those who limit themselves often fail to succeed because they view their new health-focused diet as a punishment or a chore. Instead, healthy eating is about making smart choices.

Carbohydrate lovers don’t need to cut out breads altogether, but should opt for whole grain and wheat choices. At least half your grains should be whole grains, such as whole wheat, barley and oats. These grains retain the bran and germ and all of the nutrients and fiber of the grain. Look for products that feature the “Whole Grain Stamp” from the Whole Grains Council.

Eating healthier also doesn’t mean sacrificing taste and flavor either  In fact, making informed choices can add flavor and nutrients to a meal.

Toro to-based chef Jameson Watermulder recommends adding nuts to salads to get a protein boost, while enhancing the taste profile. Watermulder also uses fatty fish, avocados and vegetable oils to add healthy unsaturated fats to his creative dishes.

“Fish and avocado are good options because they are filling and packed with healthy fats that our bodies need,” comments chef Jameson Watermulder.

Another flavor-enhancing trick Jameson Watermulder highlights is substituting white sugar, which is a contributor to diabetes and weight gain, with honey, agave, maple syrup and other natural sweeteners.

“Honey has a richer, more nuanced flavor profile than white sugar and is infinitely better for you,” Jameson Watermulder notes.

Lastly, to attain the goals you desire, watching portion sizing is imperative. Reducing plate and bowl sizes and ordering appetizers instead of entrees can remove extra calories from your diet.

Eating healthier isn’t all about looking good on the beach — healthy eating habits lead to longevity and better health over the long-term.

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