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Food deserts are areas of low food availability, and inadequate access to healthy, affordable foods. The term food desert is used to describe the lack of grocery stores serving all portions of the community, and to indicate those communities that have limited access to fresh fruits and vegetables, and other healthful foods. Microwave popcorn, candy bars, and fast foods are everyday items encountered in food deserts.
How To Eat Healthy In A Food Desert?
A food desert is an area with limited options for healthy, affordable, and convenient food. There are many places where the availability of food choices is a significant issue that leads to poor nutrition and health outcomes for many people. This can happen in any area or community with low access to fresh fruits and vegetables or the inability to get essential nutrients from their diet like vitamins A, B12, C, and D.
Food deserts also exist in areas where there are limited or not grocery stores that provide healthy food. Instead, access is often to the local corner store or fast food restaurants. These areas traditionally do not have the selection of healthy foods available.
10 Steps that will help you make the right choices:
Eating healthy when you live in a food desert is not easy, but here are ten steps that will help you make the right choices.
1. Shop outside of the grocery store:
Buy fresh fruits and vegetables at farmers markets or roadside stands. But when you go to a regular store, buy your product before getting any other food products. That way, you can put them in your cart where they will be less likely to be contaminated by other items that are high in salt and sugar.
2. Eat lean meats:
Eat lean meats like chicken, turkey, and beef (no pork) most days of the week. If you are a vegetarian, substitute soy or other meat substitutes that are low in fat.
3. Eat more whole grains:
Whole grains like brown rice and whole wheat bread as well as whole wheat pasta, are good for you. They will also help to keep your digestion regular and prevent constipation.
4. Get some fat:
The body needs some fat, so try to eat things that have monounsaturated fats, like nuts and seeds instead of saturated fats (animal fats).
5. Avoid sugar:
Sugar is terrible for your body, so try to avoid sugar-sweetened drinks and choose whole fruits instead. Stay away from foods that have added sugar such as sweetened yogurt, pastries, and condiments.
6. Increase fiber:
Fiber helps keep things moving along in the digestive tract so if you struggle with constipation then increasing your fiber intake will help a lot.
7. Be sure that your meat is fresh:
Meat should be eaten every day. Avoid processed meats like sausage, salami, and bacon.
Choose lean protein sources such as fish, chicken, turkey, tofu, and beans.
9. Try to drink more water:
Maintaining healthy body weight is essential for good health. Water intake helps the body stay alert and energized, so try to drink more water when you are consuming meals that are high in carbohydrates, like pasta or cereal.
10. Avoid soft drinks:
Studies show that regular soft drink drinkers are prone to weight gain, so try to stay away from them.
How do you eat healthily if you live in a food desert?
Eating healthy is not something that comes naturally to everyone. If you live in a food desert, it is more important than ever to take specific steps to ensure that you are consuming the different foods that your body needs for optimum health.
What you will find, however, is that it will be easier for you to maintain a healthy weight if you make conscious choices about what you are eating. Choosing fresh fruits and vegetables instead of processed foods is a good start, but you will want to make sure that you are getting adequate protein as well to feel satisfied. These are simple things to do if you know how, so don’t be afraid to take the first step.
What do people eat in a food desert?
Some people eat cereal, but not all types. Wholegrain cereals like rice and oatmeal are a good source of fiber and protein. Fruit is also a healthy option, as long as it isn’t processed in any way. There’s also the option of adding nuts or butter to your cereal or toast for extra protein and healthy fats.
Starchy foods like potatoes are always available, but you don’t have to rely on them. Boiled or baked potatoes can offer a source of carbs, but the same calories can be found in a banana or small apple.
Food deserts aren’t the only thing that causes obesity; it’s also about getting into bad habits. If you have no idea how to eat healthy because you’re used to eating fast food most days of the week, then it will take some practice and discipline to make healthier choices.
How do people deal with food deserts?
Customers often struggle to find healthy options in food deserts. The solution lies in being aware of what food is available and creating a list of your favorite healthy alternatives, including fruits or vegetables, lean proteins like chicken, turkey, tofu or beans, or whole grains.
If you are stuck in a rut with what you can eat because it’s all processed junk and not worth the caloric cost per gram, then create your list of healthy meals that you would like to try cooking at home and make sure the prep time is low so they will be quick and easy to whip up when hunger hits!
What happens when you live in a food desert?
Many things happen when you live in a food desert. One of the main concerns is that people may be struggling with weight gain which is not just caused by eating unhealthy foods, but also by not being aware of healthy alternatives within their region. Making conscious choices about what you are eating is also important, so make a list of your favorite healthy foods and include some recipes to try cooking at home.
How could living in food insecurity affect your mental health?
Living in food insecurity can cause mental health issues. For example, a Stanford University study found that when people who are often times on the brink of hunger, they experience an increase in depression and anxiety. In addition to that, food insecurity can also cause chronic stress.
What do food deserts look like?
Food deserts are regions and areas in which the residents suffer from a lack of fresh food. This includes the availability to healthy foods, such as fruit and vegetables, in which they can purchase. This leads to an increased reliance on processed foods that may not offer all the benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Additionally, because it is difficult to find healthy food options in these regions, people may turn to fast food where there is more processed ingredients being consumed with less nutritional content. Hopefully one day these food deserts will no longer exist due to an increase of fresh produce markets around the world and more attention given towards healthy eating habits.
Food deserts are regions and areas where residents suffer from a lack of fresh food. This includes the availability to healthy foods, such as fruit and vegetables, in which they can purchase.
In turn, this leads to an increased reliance on processed foods that may not offer all the benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables. Additionally, because it is difficult to find healthy food options in these regions, people may turn to fast food, where there is more processed ingredients being consumed with less nutritional content.