No list of healthy foods to eat would be complete without mindset.
Mindset is important because there’s simply way too much information about healthy foods to eat.
So this post provides both mindset, and a list of healthy foods to eat.
Let’s talk about mindset first (and feel feel to scroll down to see the list of healthy foods to eat if you want to skip over mindset)
Mindset is important because there is so much conflicting information out there.
You need to be able to think for yourself!
- A family member says remove gluten.
- Your friend says to try intermittent fasting.
- Your doctor says to eat more protein and limit processed sugar.
Then you go online only to see 1 billion search results and … ayayayayayaa!!!!
It’s too much information!!!
So how can you tell what are some healthy foods for you specifically, without getting bogged down in too much information and going ayayaya crazyyy!?
The short answer – and the point of this blog post – has 3 steps:
- Have The Right Mindset: Try Some Healthy Foods To Eat & Listen To Make Sure You Feel Content Afterwards
- Why Balanced Meals & Eating Regular Are The Keys To Inner Peace
- Brainstorm List Of Healthy Foods To Eat
Why focus on mindset first, before nutrition?
It’s important we start with the right mindset because otherwise our actions will have little effect.
Like for me, I spent 13 months meditating in a zen monastery. But no matter how hard I tried to meditate properly, I was still numb and using food to cope.
But once I learned the right mindset and was able to meet my deeper needs, only then was I able to reconnect to myself and begin my healing journey with food.
So first let’s talk about Right Mindset briefly, and then I’ll provide a comprehensive list of some healthy foods to eat.
Step 1) Have The Right Mindset: Try Some Healthy Foods To Eat & Listen To Make Sure You Feel Content Afterwards
This mindset is basically trial and error.
You start with a hypothesis: are bananas a healthy food for me?
This is the stage where you brainstorm some potential healthy foods.
In this stage you can try healthy foods based on nutritional guidance.
I’ll be providing a list of healthy foods in the 3rd step, but for now let’s just say you read some information about bananas which said bananas were nutritious. Then, picked ‘bananas’ as your healthy food to try.
But instead of just relying upon nutrition guidance, you make sure you listen to your body to make sure the nutrition guidance is right for you.
Specifically you want to listen to your body to see that the ‘healthy foods’ make you feel:
- Comfortable Physical Fullness
- Mental & Emotional Satisfaction
This banana made me feel emotionally satisfied because it was really ripe and delicious. But I didn’t feel full in my stomach.
Ok, so the banana was good, but if you just relied upon the nutritional guidance then you would be left feeling bad. You might even conclude that bananas are bad or that you screwed up somehow!
But in fact, you just needed to adjust your eating routine based on how your body feels.
Bananas tasted good, but didn’t fill me up for a long time. Let me try another food, perhaps something that will fill me up more.
Then you start over.
You have another hypothesis: maybe peanut butter will fill me up?
You go through the steps again. This time around you try bananas and peanut butter.
Yummy! Bananas and peanut butter make me feel satisfied emotionally and keep me feeling content & full for a few hours.
Now you know that bananas and peanut butter are the healthy foods for you, specifically.
That’s the right mindset to have.
You arrived at your solution by having the right mindset.
Now, it’s also important to have balanced meals.
Oftentimes dietitians, therapists, coaches, and nutritionists are great at creating meal plans.
However, there are some dangers to following their advice to the nth degree.
Don’t Just Blindly Follow Nutritional Advice Or A Meal Plan
Don’t be like most people.
Most people want a specific list of foods to follow. They ask questions like:
- What should I eat every day to be healthy?
- What is the number 1 healthiest food in the world?
But that’s the wrong mindset!!
- They want everything mapped out for them.
- They want all the uncertainty, ambiguity and learning removed.
- Feel that they don’t have the ability to make healthy decisions for themselves.
So they give all their power to their doctor or dietitian, who tells them what to eat.
Don’t do that! That’s the wrong mindset!
There’s no perfect nutritional plan for every person. There’s nutritional guidance, yes.
You can use nutritional guidance to some degree (like how we tried out the banana).
But you must be willing to modify, adapt and change in accordance to how nutrition makes you feel.
Trying to perfectly follow a meal plan or nutrition list someone else gave you will backfire!
- You will end up straying from your meal plan.
- You’ll never master your health because you are always following some other person’s definition of health.
Your meal plan or nutrition list will backfire because you aren’t listening to your body.
Here are 4 additional reasons why trying to follow a specific meal plan without listening to your body will backfire:
- Life Is Too Chaotic To Follow Plans Perfectly
- There Are Too Many Plans And It’s Impossible To Find The Perfect Plan
- Trying To Eat Perfectly Based Off A List Doesn’t Take Into Consideration Your Body’s Needs & Preferences
- Everyone Has Different Preferences! There Are So Many Healthy Foods Out There. The Key Is To Find What Works For You
The key is to get ideas from your meal plan, but then listen to your body and adjust accordingly.
If you can listen to your body, then you will know for certain what are the healthy foods for you to eat because you will feel good, from a physical and mental standpoint.
Ok, are we clear?
Listen To How ‘Healthy’ Foods Make You Feel
So you have your potato, fish and avocado meal.
Notice how you feel afterwards.
We are looking for you to be feeling ‘content’ at around levels 6-8, after you finish eating.
This feeling should also last 3-5 hours (more on 3-5 hour timing in the section about meal frequency as well)
One more thing about the feeling of being content, remember how I’ve been mentioning physical fullness and mental satisfaction?
Well, fullness and satisfaction together make up the feeling of being content 🙂
Hopefully it’s starting to connect with you.
If so, let’s get into some healthy foods to eat!
Then after I list out some healthy foods, I’ll give more info on how to apply the mindset and create balanced meals 🙂
Step 2) Why Balanced Meals & Eating Regular Are The Keys To Inner Peace
Ok so we have three major food groups from the list above – carbs, proteins, and healthy fats.
A little bit of each of these groups and you’ll have balance 🙂
When you start to think about some healthy foods to eat, you’ll want to create a balanced meal that contains some carbs, proteins and fats.
(the example list of healthy foods to pick from is in the next section)
For example, bananas alone won’t make you full.
(Remember physical fullness and mental satisfaction are the 2 mechanisms we’ll use to evaluate how ‘good’ food makes us feel. This is how we’ll end up knowing which healthy foods are good for us specifically.)
If you have a balanced eating plan, it’s much more likely that you will feel both full and satisfied.
So when we ‘test’ out which healthy foods to eat, we want to be sure we are testing these foods out in combinations.
Otherwise, if you just eat one food during a meal serving, you won’t be satisfied.
You could even eat something super healthy, like blueberries, but if you just eat blueberries you won’t get full.
Like within one hour after you finish eating blueberries you will be hungry again! This is not good enough! We need foods that will keep your belly content for at least 3 hours!
Plus, there is no perfect food. No food has all the nutrients you need. You maximize health benefits by eating from a variety of food groups.
And plus, this way of healthy eating is what’s actually best for weight loss too!
(Maybe blueberries, nuts, and yogurt so that you get proteins, fats and carbs!?)
Use Nutrition To Inform Your Food Selection
OK, so using the above lists of food, let’s go ahead and pick 1 carb, 1 protein, and 1 carbohydrate.
Let’s say you pick:
- Carb: Potatoes
- Protein: Fish
- Fats: Avocado
These Here are some potential healthy foods for you to eat!
Now we just need to remember to listen to how these foods make you feel, and adapt accordingly!
Ok, so you had your potatoes, fish and avocado?
How do you feel?
How do you feel 3 hours after you finished eating?
Do you feel too full? Not full enough?
Let’s say you felt ‘too heavy’.
How could you try something else different next time?
- Maybe avocado and fish was too much fat for you. Maybe just olive oil instead of avocado next time?
- Or the whole potato was too much carbohydrate/grain. Maybe a fruit or a veggie next time and half of a potato would make you feel better next time?
You must tinker around with your food selection after you have reflected upon how the food made you feel.
Don’t skip this listening / contemplation part!
If you skip this part, you’ll be missing valuable data that can inform future food decisions.
You need to listen.
And then after you listen, you need to adapt.
Start Fresh Each Time All Over Again, A Little Bit Wiser.
Ok so lLast time in our example you felt ‘too heavy’.
You brainstormed some ideas on how you could switch up your meal.
Now it’s time to start all over again.
Instead of potatoes, fish and avocado …
You now are thinking about half a potato, some fruits, fish and olive oil.
Try that out.
Rinse and repeat.
This is how you figure some healthy foods for you to eat!
Step 3) Brainstorm List Of Healthy Foods To Eat
Ok here we are ready to learn about some healthy foods to eat!
There are 3 food lists down below.
For now just take a look at the lists and see what are some healthy foods to eat!
And remember, you’re going to still need to try these healthy foods out for yourself to see which ones are good for you!
Author’s Note: I suggest reading through each of the 3 foods list. While you read through the lists, notice what food sounds good to you. Could be something familiar like brown rice, or if you’re feeling something new like squash that’s fine too. While some nutritional info about blood pressure, antioxidants, or other health benefits is nice, rest assured, the list of foods down below is considered ‘healthy’ by all standards, so don’t worry about those little details!
While the following list is not comprehensive, if you want more ideas on tips for super nutritious foods, read here.
- Brown rice
- Whole wheat bread
- Whole grain bread or whole grain pasta
But Aren’t Carbs Bad?
I know there’s a lot of talking these days about how carbs are ‘bad’.
But it’s too many processed carbs that can be bad.
However, the carbohydrates in the list above aren’t processed. Plus, these carbohydrates are an excellent source of fiber.
And fiber is great! Foods that are high in fiber digest more slowly. Slow digestion is one of the main health benefits of fiber.
When you eat foods high in fiber you end up staying full for longer because your digestion is going slower.
On the other hand, processed carbohydrates like white bread won’t keep you full. You’ll end up eating too much.
And eating too much of anything, especially if overeating sugary becomes a habit, leads to not-so-good outcomes like type 2 diabetes. 🙁
Therefore, eat fiber because fiber will help protect against food cravings and overeating.
Vegetables / Fruit :
- Leafy greens
- Kale (good source of vitamin k)
- Brussels Sprouts
- Green/red peppers
- Blueberries (excellent source of antioxidants)
Unconventional Vegetable / Fruit Advice
Most people will advise you that vegetables are the healthiest foods and you need to eat more veggies.
Vegetables are a good source of vitamin a, vitamin c, and may help reduce the risk of heart disease.
So … it’s pretty reasonable advice for you to eat more vegetables, right? Who hasn’t been told to eat more veggies?
Of course, these same people will also probably tell you to eat more fruits, more whole grains, more lean meats, more … etc.
Overall, they’ll tell you to eat more of a bunch of different things – but this can become too confusing!
The point of this article is to give you a simple way to determine which healthy foods are good for you.
Too many categories of what to eat will backfire due to complexity. So for us at Eating Enlightenment, we like to keep things simple.
So we just group up veggies, fruits and carbohydrates together under carbs 🙂
- Fish (b vitamins and also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids)
- Soy beans (all beans are good source of magnesium)
- Pork chops
- Greek yogurt
- Black beans
Your body needs protein because protein can be a source of essential amino acids.
Essential amino acids are chemicals that allow neurotransmitters and hormones to be created. But your body does not make all these acids without protein.
Additionally, protein can help keep you full. And as we’ve talked about, feeling full is really important!
Overall there are so many reasons why protein is important, and that’s why it’s a macronutrient!
3) Healthy Fats:
- Olive oil
- Avocado oil
- Nuts and seeds (vitamin e and also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids)
- Eggs (egg yolks fine too)
(I know eggs were mentioned in protein, that’s ok because there is some overlap sometimes between fat and protein)
But isn’t fat bad?
No! Similar to carbohydrates there are healthy and unhealthy fats.
Monounsaturated fats is the fancy term for healthy fats.
And your body needs fat! Seriously. Fat is actually helpful if you want to lose weight.
I know that sounds crazy, but again, it’s about the quality of the fat that you eat.
Ok, so that wraps up the article.
And while this article is meant to be an in-depth guide on how to figure out some healthy foods for you to eat, I understand that you may have remaining questions.
Please don’t hesitate to ask or leave feedback in the comments section!