It was way back in my “eating low-fat” days as a college student and young married gal. I would eat a bowl of low-fat cereal with skim milk for breakfast. Lunch might be a turkey sandwich with low fat mayo on “light” bread, and a side of fat free chips (aka salted cardboard). For a snack, I’d have Pepsi and Twizzlers, which are both fat free. Dinner would be any variety of food made with skinless chicken breast, white pasta or potatoes, and maybe a salad with fat free dressing. At the end of the day, I would feel great about how I’d eaten for the day. “I’ve had hardly any fat today!” I would say to myself.
That’s what I thought it meant to eat healthy.
There is a common truth in the way I used to think about eating and what I know believe about eating: I need to be aware of what I’m putting into my mouth because it is important to eat a healthy diet. What I didn’t recognize then, however, was that food isn’t just meant to fill a hole. Food is meant to nourish us.
I was getting very little nourishment when I ate a low-fat diet. Why? Because nourishment wasn’t my focus. My focus was on avoiding fat, not on consuming nutrients. Somehow, candy and soda made it on my “healthy” list.
Whether eating low-fat or not, I’m going to venture to suggest that there are many who are consuming very little nourishment. Even people who over-eat. How can this be? Well, there are many edible products on the market that fill a hole, but offer very little nourishment. What nutrients are found in a bag of chips? A slice of white bread? A box of crackers? A box of cereal? A slice of American cheese?
Please don’t hear me heaping on guilt to those of you who are still eating many of those foods. Hey, I eat chips, cereal, and crackers sometimes too. It’s fun, it tastes good, and we enjoy the occasional treat. But I also know that if that’s all we were eating, we would not be receiving much nourishment – I don’t care how fortified the box claims its contents to be.
When making healthy food choices, we must always consider how much nourishment it will give our bodies. Crackers are a fun snack and may hold our kids over until dinner, but are they doing much to give their bodies needed nutrients and fuel?
A well-balanced diet of healthy fats, lots of fruits and vegetables, meats, dairy, rich broths, nuts, and few whole grains will give our body what it needs to thrive! When not given foods filled with nutrients, our bodies can make do for a while, but then we become depleted and sick. Sickness takes on many forms, from sluggishness to disease to everything in between.
So when making food choices, ask yourself, “Is this going to nourish me?”
Fill your body with food meant to nourish! What’s great: Nourishment comes in all forms of deliciousness. Our list of options for real food nourishment is longer than my leg, because God is good to give us wonderful variety! This real food thing just keeps getting better all the time, doesn’t it?
What’s your favorite form of nourishment? When you picture foods that fuel the body well, what foods comes to mind?