Choosing healthy foods results in healthy bodies

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Jennifer Germain

“You are what you eat” was an expression I heard often as a child. I didn’t truly know what it meant at the time, but as I grew older, I began to understand the importance of the effects of food on my health. Eat fresh, natural food, and you will feel good. Eat TV dinners and junk food, and you will feel sick. Eating nutritious food and embracing healthy, mindful living in our fast-paced, fast-food world is more important than ever. 

A balanced diet and lifestyle create organization out of chaos and can allow us to be flexible and responsive to change. Key principles of nutrition understand that food builds the body, and the foods we eat contribute to either health or disease. How we prepare those foods is just as important as what we choose to eat and drink. Cooking at home is the best way to ensure you control the ingredients and portion sizes of your meals. 

JEN GERMAIN is the community health promotions coordinator for Macon County Public Health.

You might wonder, “When do I have the time to cook?” Cooking healthy meals does not need to take hours, especially when we have newfangled appliances such as pressure cookers, toaster ovens, and air fryers. Even without some of the more expensive kitchen accessories, families can create homemade meals in less than 30 minutes by following a few tips: 

  • Save time and money by planning a weekly menu, especially for evening meals.
  • Shop once a week for the freshest, healthiest selection of food. The fresher, the better! (And now there are two Saturday morning farmers markets in downtown Franklin at which to shop for locally grown produce.)
  • If needed, pre-cook meals on a day that works for you and then put them in the freezer to eat throughout the week.
  • Eat a heart healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • When eating meat, focus on lean meat and smaller portion sizes.
  • Drink water instead of soda or Southern sweet iced tea.

Eating is essential to our survival and is one of life’s great delights, so take your time when sitting down to a meal. Relish every bite. Savor every flavor. Enjoy good health.

Jennifer (Jen) Germain is the community health promotions coordinator for Macon County Public Health. Available at Macon County Public Health is information about healthy, budget-friendly food choices. Contact her at (828) 349–2084; [email protected].