What is Healthy Eating

Posted on Jan 5 2013 - 12:01am by Demelza Young

You’ve read about how to be healthy in college, and how to plan healthy meals on a budget.  Maybe one of your friends has asserted that, as part of a New Year’s resolution, he or she will “try to be healthier.”  There are healthy eating shopping lists, healthy cooking tips, and healthy meal ideas – with so much information out there, and such vague phrases like “healthy eating” and “balanced diets,” it brings up the question of “what is healthy eating?”

It’s hard to pinpoint what healthy eating is, exactly, because it’s not a static thing.  Normal, healthy eating is flexible and varies in response to your hunger, your schedule, your proximity to food, as well as your feelings.  While the terminology may be a little vague, the basic guidelines for healthy eating are actually quite simple: consume a wide variety of whole, fresh, unprocessed foods in moderate amounts, including lean protein (which could mean anything from tofu, eggs, and beans to fish, poultry, or nuts, depending on what you like), dairy, fruits, vegetables, and whole grainsIn essence, it’s recommended that you follow a balanced diet.

Healthy eating isn’t an “all or nothing” mindset.  The meaning of balance, or moderation, and exactly how much of something is “moderate” varies from person to person (depending on one’s overall eating habits and lifestyle), but it helps to think of moderation in terms of balance.  Fad diets would have you believe otherwise, but everyone needs a balance of carbohydrates, protein, fat, fiber, vitamins, and minerals to sustain a healthy body.  Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to completely eliminate any one food group or essential nutrient in order to be healthy.

Healthy eating also doesn’t mean completely eliminating the foods you love from your diet.  Ironic as it may seem, sometimes the “healthier” your diet becomes, the unhealthier you can feel.  This is because people eat for all sorts of reasons – for example, hunger or even social or emotional reasons – and sometimes nothing will satisfy one’s appetite quite like a glass of milk and a couple of (real) cookies.  Nourishing your body and nourishing your soul are equally important.  Food doesn’t have feelings.  If you don’t feel like eating one of the cupcakes Bill brought in for the office, or you’re too stuffed to eat any of the pie Aunt Patrice offers you, then that’s okay.  There will always be another cupcake, and another slice of pie.  But if you do want some dessert on occasion, that’s okay, too: part of healthy eating is learning to eat the higher-calorie and sugar- or fat-laden foods that you love a little less often while balancing them out with healthier foods and more physical activity.  Think of it this way: healthy eating doesn’t involve impairment of your emotional, spiritual, or physical health.

If the idea of healthy eating makes you think of all the foods you can’t have, the chances are you probably just need to reframe your way of thinking.  Instead of thinking “I can’t have x or y,” try focusing on all the new foods you can eat (this is also a helpful tip for people who are thinking of trying some different vegetarian meals each week).  Healthy eating doesn’t have to be difficult or stressful, and it shouldn’t be.  There are plenty of tools at your disposal to make healthy eating easier for you.

Note: Budget Earth & its writers did not receive compensation or products from said company for this post and it's completely the opinion of the writer.


Demelza Young is an alumni of Northern Kentucky University. She currently enjoys volunteering her time in her local community, reviewing online content with her cat, and sharing quality recipes.

20 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Jennifer Comet Wagner January 5, 2013 at 1:56 pm - Reply

    I keep telling myself to eat healthier, but the foods are crave are usually not the healthiest.

    • Susan Bewley January 6, 2013 at 7:58 am - Reply

      Sometimes food cravings are also a sign of a nutritional deficiency and sometimes mental. The best thing I was ever told was to have a small portion of what you are craving and then eat some fresh fruit, veggies, or nuts 🙂

  2. Dawn January 5, 2013 at 2:41 pm - Reply

    My daughter is a vegetarian, but she has not tried tofu. Perhaps we will get some this weekend and I will try it with her. 🙂


    • Susan Bewley January 6, 2013 at 7:57 am - Reply

      Demelza lived with us for years and introduce me to tofu – now I am hooked! My only problem is that I have to eat it in moderation since I would eat the whole bar x_X

  3. Norma January 5, 2013 at 5:54 pm - Reply

    Loved your article. I’m planning on changing my diet soon and will definitely remember this.

  4. Kelly R January 5, 2013 at 7:40 pm - Reply

    Wonderful Post. Thank you for the tips.

  5. Victoria January 6, 2013 at 4:15 am - Reply

    I do feel healthier when I eat something I love in moderation. I don’t believe in depriving myself of anything that I truly want. Life it too short for that. However, life will be even shorter if you overindulge and that is where balance comes in.

    • Susan Bewley January 6, 2013 at 7:54 am - Reply

      I agree with you. I believe in moderation. I’m losing weight probably slower than I could but it leaves me feeling happy and mentally healthier.

  6. Jacqui Odell January 6, 2013 at 1:53 pm - Reply

    This is actually one of my goals for the year. One thing helps me is not having any of the junk food in my house.

  7. Amanda @ Survival Guide by The Working Mom January 6, 2013 at 3:22 pm - Reply

    Great post! I am in favor of every article that educate us on the importance of healthy living!!!

  8. Monique January 6, 2013 at 3:31 pm - Reply

    We changed our diet last year to a more healthy one and have not been happier! We still allow ourselves some junky convenience foods when we’re in the mood, but it has been cut back A LOT since then.

  9. jasonsmith January 10, 2013 at 6:02 am - Reply

    Diet -to-go looks really amazing and I am thinking to try this out. Even the diet plan shown in this post looks very helpful and I would definitely take  some tips from this diet plan.

  10. Rinkesh January 23, 2013 at 12:38 am - Reply

    Nice post. One need to avoid junk food to remain healthy and fit. I’m planning on changing my diet soon.

  11. Robert Villal March 26, 2013 at 7:18 pm - Reply

    It is not difficult to do healthy eating, what we can at least do is to adjust and adapt to the situation. If we don't like a certain food, no need to worry, there are many alternative to it which we can also consider. It is not necessary to stick to certain diet which at first we are not capable on following all of it. Being comfortable really matters, being healthy is very important.

  12. Cami April 16, 2013 at 5:07 pm - Reply

    I found the more I stayed away from I healthy foods the less I craved them 

  13. krystel June 20, 2013 at 8:24 pm - Reply

    i agree with this post if you eat healthier you becmone more healthier and it helps your body alot !

  14. Ria A. July 16, 2013 at 5:42 pm - Reply

    Yes! Been trying to avoid processed foods as much as I can 🙂

  15. Eunice Chong July 22, 2013 at 6:34 am - Reply

    Thank you so much for the advice. Shall change my mind-set on food now~ ^^

  16. md kennedy August 6, 2013 at 6:33 am - Reply

    My definition of a healthy diet is similar to your definition of healthy eating: plant-based, as little animal protein as possible (including miniimizing eggs and dairy), and no processed food.

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