With clever food packaging, endless grocery options, and plenty of contradicting “research,” it can be incredibly difficult and overwhelming to figure out what foods are actually healthy. Start improving your health with the basic tips below. A Paleo Diet also provides a great foundation.
Core 4 Healthy Eating Tips
- Choose whole, one-ingredient foods over processed products.
- Opt for the highest quality foods you can afford, such as organic, grass-fed, etc.
- Find healthier alternatives.
- Plan 1-2 “cheat” meals a week to indulge.
What to Eat
Animal Products: local, fresh or frozen, organic, pastured, grass-fed, wild, hormone & antibiotic-free. Visit seafoodwatch.org for sustainable, low-mercury fish and seafood.
Beverages: water, mineral water, unsweetened herbal tea
Natural Fats: avocado, avocado oil, pastured butter/ghee/lard/tallow/bacon/poultry skin, coconut milk/butter/cream/flakes/shredded, unrefined coconut/palm oil, nuts & nut butters, olives, olive oil
Herbs & Spices: all
Produce: local, fresh or frozen, organic (especially cabbage family vegetables & berries)
Sweeteners: cinnamon, stevia
Grey Area Foods
Note: consumption of these foods depends highly on the individual
Beverages: unsweetened tea, coffee, sparkling water, coconut water, kvass, kombucha, Zevia
Dairy: grass-fed, raw, organic, fermented, full-fat, hormone-free, antibiotic free
Grains/Seeds: gluten-free, soaked or sprouted: quinoa, quinoa flakes, rice, tortilla (organic corn/brown rice), bread (Paleo, sprouted, sourdough), oats (steel-cut)
Legumes/Beans: soaked/sprouted legumes such as peanuts, lentils, beans & fermented soy
Sweetener: fresh/frozen fruit, dried fruit (dates, figs, prunes), 100% pure maple syrup, raw honey
Other grey area foods: alcohol, caffeine, nightshades, nuts & seeds
Foods to Avoid
Top 10 Ingredients to Avoid: artificial coloring, artificial sweeteners, canola oil, corn, high fructose corn syrup, monosodium glutamate (MSG), refined sugars, modern soy, trans fats, wheat/gluten.
Animal Products: processed lunch meats, hot dogs, canned, breaded, deep-fried
Beverages: energy drinks, sport’s drinks, soda, sweetened teas, juices, pasteurized milk, etc.
Fats: trans fats, hydrogenated, partially hydrogenated (canola, cottonseed, corn, margarine, soybean), polyunsaturated fats high in omega-6s (sunflower oil, safflower oil, peanut oil) & cooking sprays
Grains: refined carbs, including cereal, bread, pasta, waffles, pancakes, baked goods, pretzels, chips,
Legumes/Beans: refined legumes/beans, and unfermented soy (tofu, soy milk)
Produce: canned, processed, packaged with additives
Sweeteners: refined sugars (agave, brown sugar, rice syrup) & artificial sweeteners (aspartame, sucralose)
Healthy Eating Resources
- 4 Steps to Go Paleo, Healthy Eating Guide & Alternatives
- Menu Options & Meal Ideas
- Meal Plans & Meal Delivery
- How to Read Food Labels
- Set-Up for Success: Kitchen Cleanout
- Healthy Grocery Shopping Tips
- Learn How to Cook & Save Time
- Strategize Your Splurges: How to Cheat Your Diet
- Healthy Eating Made Easy
- 20 Mainstream Nutrition Myths Debunked by Science
Cate Ritter is a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition® Practitioner in the Monterey Bay Area specializing in weight loss, gut health and hormone balance. In-person, Skype, phone and corporate health programs available.