No Diet Day: How to Make Healthy Food Choices
The world obesity pandemic is increasing yearly, and more and more people search for the magic pill to lose weight. However, the unrealistic standards in beauty magazines have led to increased pressure to achieve the “perfect” body with restrictive diets and have predisposed people to eating disorders and low self-esteem.
No Diet Day is marked every May 6, and it is a day to put away restrictive diets and advocate for body positivity.1 The global movement encourages people to break away from restrictive dieting habits, such as: calorie counting and starving, have a healthy relationship with food, and love their bodies. It’s a day to embrace all body types and encourage healthy eating without the pressure of diets that don’t work. And what better way to celebrate No Diet Day than by focusing on healthy food?
Eating healthy food is not a trend or a fad diet but is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. A balanced diet consisting of lean protein, whole grains, fruit, and vegetables provides the body with the essential nutrients. Also, it prevents chronic diseases, such as: heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. In this article, we'll explore the history of No Diet Day and how to incorporate healthy food into your lifestyle. Read on to learn how you can make healthy food choices without dieting.
History of National No Diet Day
Dieting began in the 18th century when George Cheyne, an English doctor, lost significant weight by eating only vegetables and milk. He started recommending this diet to his patients who struggled with obesity.2
Later in 1863, William Banting created a weight loss diet called “banting,” which involved eating four meals that consisted of meat, green fruit, and dry wine every day.3 The dieting culture continued to boom, and the promotion of unrealistic body standards made it too hard for people to attain. More people resorted to trying out different diets in a bid to lose weight.
In 1992, Mary Evans Young, the director of the British “Diet Breakers” group, created the first No Diet Day to respond to the societal pressure to conform to unrealistic body standards. As a survivor of anorexia, she wanted to create awareness about the negative effects of diet culture and encourage people to adopt body acceptance and diversity.1
The day was initially marked in the UK before it became internationally accepted. It is now celebrated with a light blue ribbon as the symbol of the day, and the purpose is to encourage people to stop dieting and instead adopt eating healthy food as part of a healthy lifestyle. Currently, some restaurants take the chance to market their healthy treats.
What are the Foundations of a Healthy Food Plan?
A healthy food plan provides a variety of nutrient dense foods that provide key nutrients that the body requires.
Here are some components of a healthy food plan:
- Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables such as apples, bananas, pineapples, broccoli, and spinach. They are rich in vitamins and minerals that boost the immune system and reduce the risk of illness.
- Choosing whole grains such as oats and whole wheat over refined grains. They are rich in fiber and provide the energy the body requires for daily functions in sufficient amounts without causing spikes in blood sugar.
- Eating lean proteins such as fish, chicken, lean meat, and beans that provide essential building blocks that build and repair tissues and muscles.
- Choosing healthy fats present in avocado, nuts, and seeds that are important for brain function, as well as eliminating seed oils in favor of olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, ghee (or butter), and beef tallow.
- Limiting the intake of processed foods and added sugars to prevent insulin resistance and obesity that have health consequences.
- Drinking adequate water every day.
How to Celebrate No Diet Day with Healthy Food
The best way to celebrate No Diet Day is to eat healthy foods that you enjoy that will nourish your body with essential nutrients. You don’t need to count calories or restrict your food choice excessively. You can enjoy your favorite foods in moderation as long as 80% of your diet comprises whole, healthy foods.
Let go of dieting restrictions and create a healthy relationship with food. Here are some ways to celebrate national diet day with healthy foods.
Try new healthy recipes at home
Remember that recipe you had bookmarked? Today is the best day to try it out. It could be a healthy smoothie, a veggie salad, or your favorite dessert. Invite your friends and family over and prepare the healthy dishes. Here are some recipes to inspire you:
- Vegan Recipes
- Broccoli recipes
- Oats recipes
- Pie Recipes
- Crockpot recipes
- Pumpkin recipes
- Peanut butter recipes
- Homemade Pizza recipes
Eat at a healthy restaurant
If you have a busy schedule and cannot find time to cook at home, pop into a restaurant specializing in healthy, organic dishes. Treat yourself to a healthy meal alone or with your colleagues.
Plan a picnic
Head out to the park or beach with your family and enjoy the outdoors with your favorite healthy foods as you get some fresh air. You can make sandwiches with whole grain bread and fill them with fruits and veggies such as broccoli, banana, spinach, and peas.
Organize a healthy snack party
Most people eat healthy foods but often indulge in sugary or high fat snacks. Choosing healthy snacks is the best way to enjoy delicious foods without restrictions. Shop for healthy snacks, such as freeze dried fruits and vegetables you can eat on the go. For example: strawberries, mangos, and apples. Also include nuts and seeds such as walnuts, almonds, sesame, peanuts, etc.
How to Transition into Healthy Eating
Use the No Diet Day to stop restrictive dieting and adopt healthy eating as a lifestyle. Here are helpful tips to get started.
Prioritize healthy eating
The only way to be consistent with healthy eating is to make it a priority. Adopt healthy habits and incorporate them into your daily routine. For example, you can wake up early and go for a walk before you go to work. You can also drink water first thing in the morning and in between meals to increase your fluid intake. Also, choose healthy snacks every time, instead of processed snacks.
Make healthy substitutions
You can alter the recipes and choose healthy ingredients when cooking. For example, use whole wheat flour instead of refined flour to get a boost of fiber. You can also use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream.
Stock your pantry with healthy foods
It is tempting to indulge in unhealthy foods and snacks when that’s all you have in your fridge or pantry. Fill your pantry with healthy foods - fruits and vegetables - to easily resist temptations when hungry.
Adopt meal prepping
Plan your meals, schedule grocery shopping in your calendar, and make time to prepare healthy foods. Meal prepping saves time and makes it easy to have ready healthy meals readily available. You can make large batches of cooking over the weekends and freeze them to reheat them during the week. Also, to save you more time, consider freeze dried foods that are ready to use: pinto beans, cauliflower, green beans, and garbanzo beans.
Always remember that adopting a healthy lifestyle is a marathon, not a sprint. Make gradual changes and be patient and kind to yourself. Enlist the support and accountability of your friends and family and work together towards healthy eating. No Diet Day is a reminder to have a positive relationship with food. So, this May 6th, choose healthy foods and enjoy the health benefits. Mother Earth Products has an array of healthy foods you can choose from. Be sure to check them out.
- Branden Evans