They say that an IQ of 140 or more makes someone a genius. The good news is you don't have to be a genius to eat healthy. If you stick with the basics, like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and low-fat dairy products, you're sure to end up within the boundaries of a healthy diet. Here are some helpful tips to improve your eating IQ and as a result, your general health and well-being.
Fruits and Veggies
You don't have to be Albert Einstein to know that the best place to start a healthy eating regimen is in the produce aisle. Fad diets may ban carrots and pineapple, but the food pyramid takes us back to the basics and provides more realistic guidelines for what a healthy diet entails. Dark green veggies are the best because they're low in starch and high in vitamins. And don't forget beans and legumes as part of this category -- they're high in fiber, low in fat and provide an excellent source of protein. Men, as a general rule, need more fruits and vegetables than women do, because they need more calories as a whole. Try to aim for at least 2 cups of fruit and 3 cups of vegetables per day for maximum health benefits. People who consume the proper amounts have a decreased risk of chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
Eat your Breakfast
You've probably heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. That's because it's true, according to the American Dietetic Association. So we all know this, but it's still the meal you're most likely to skip out on. After a long night of slumber, your body may have been without food for as many as 12 hours. Food is fuel, so if you don't have any fuel, you won't be firing on all cylinders. A lack of glucose will leave you feeling sluggish, cloudy and maybe even irritable. Not a great way to get going in the morning. Eating a balanced breakfast will also get your metabolism going in the right direction, which helps mollify the hunger that builds throughout the day. And the bonus? You'll be less likely to overeat at lunch.
Super Foods to the Rescue
Some foods are so good for you that they're dubbed "super foods." These foods are so packed with healthy properties that you'd lower your food IQ substantially by avoiding them. In the fruit department, reach for the blueberries and oranges. Whole grains like oats are also on the list. If you're into veggies, then spinach and broccoli are what you should target. For proteins, fish is always the answer, especially salmon, which is high in omega-3s. Or grab some turkey as a seafood alternative. Yogurt is a great breakfast good, and walnuts are a super snack food you can always count on. Try forgoing the coffee for the benefits of green or black tea. If you add these super foods to your diet on a regular basis, you'll improve your eating IQ by leaps and bounds. Maybe even to genius level.
- "Cut back, way back, on sugar, says heart group." msnbc.com, August 24, 2009. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32543288
- "Dietary Guidelines." United States Department of Agriculture, 2010. http://www.mypyramid.gov/guidelines/index.html
- "Healthy Eating Tips: Test Your Food I.Q." ilovetocheatdiet.com, 2010. http://ilovetocheatdiet.com/blog/healthy-eating-tips-test-your-food-iq/
- "How Many Fruits and Vegetables Do You Need?" fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov, 2010. http://www.fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov/
- Seliger, Susan. "'Superfoods' Everyone Needs." webmd.com, 2010. http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/superfoods-everyone-needs
- "The Importance of Breakfast." bellybytes.com, 2010. http://www.bellybytes.com/articles/breakfast2.shtml