Why Eat Healthy Food?

Why Eat Healthy Food?

At Appetite for Health, we write a lot about what healthy food is, how it may benefit your health, and where to find it.  But perhaps the most important question is why to eat healthy food?

For some people the answer is obvious.  I know many people for whom eating whole, less processed, fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean protein, healthy fats, etc., is the only way to eat.  Often, though not always, these folks were raised this way.  It’s very easy to follow a healthful eating pattern if you’ve been introduced to this way of eating from an early age.

A great reason to eat healthy food is, of course, taste.  Fresh, wholesome ingredients taste amazing when prepared right.  But let’s face it, there are lots of not-so-healthful choices that also taste good: a cheeseburger and fries, molten chocolate cake, ice cream…. I think you get the point.

Healthy SaladHealth, obviously, is another important reason to make smart choices when it comes to what you put into your body.  Everyone wants to be healthy, but when it comes to choosing what’s best for our health, sometimes there’s a disconnect.  Don’t believe me? Try convincing a 5 year old that it’s important to eat fruits and vegetables to reduce the risk of heart disease or age-related macular degeneration.  Oh… and it’s not just kids who have trouble buying the ‘health’ reasoning… I know lots of adults who know that some foods are better than others when it comes to improving health outcomes, but they regularly make poor food choices.

When I was pursuing my master’s degree in nutrition, I took a fantastic course in nutrition counseling.  What I learned from this class is that knowledge does not necessarily lead to behavior change. 

Lots of people know what healthy food is, where to find it, how to prepare it, and how it may benefit their health.  Yet too many of us, despite this knowledge, opt for foods that have no business being on our plates.

But I also learned that the key to instilling behavior change is finding the right motivators for each individual. With the right motivation… change is possible.  And there are almost as many motivators as there are people.  I’ve counseled morbidly obese patients who fully understood that continuing with their poor food choices could lead to diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and even an early death.  But those things, in many instances, just didn’t lead to a change in eating habits.  So my job was to uncover something that would trigger real, lasting change.  Sometimes what really got people to change was the idea of fitting into “skinny jeans”, looking fabulous at a wedding or college reunion, or living longer to watch a grandchild grow up.

If you are struggling to make healthy choices when it comes to food, don’t beat yourself up.  First take a look at why making healthful changes is important to you.  Uncovering your real motivation(s) is often the first step toward making permanent changes.  And don’t worry if your reasons seem vain or superficial… it’s often the idea of looking better, wanting to feel sexy, or impress that boy from high school you’re about to see after 10 years that can get you moving.

If you’ve made a change for the better, please share (in the comments section below) what prompted YOU to change.  You may be an inspiration for others!


— Katherine




  1. Serena Rebechini says

    I did it not only for myself but to be an example to my own children. I’ve always enjoyed eating healthy foods and even asked for Grape Nuts and broccoli as a kid but I realized as an adult with limited time and the additional stress of kids, work and everything else it was easier to run through the drive through. It wasn’t until about 8 months ago that I made a very conscious effort to buy organic, prepare my own meals ahead of time and get my butt to the gym a minimum of 3 times a week. I see a huge difference in how I feel physically and emotionally, my children now fight over who gets the last Kohlrabi slice and ask when we are going to the gym next! That really excites me. Next on the list are the boyfriend and his kids. Merging households with someone who doesn’t cook but likes healthy food and has done exactly what so many parents have done and gotten his children used to eating fast food, fried, salty fatty chicken strips, tatter tots and just about anything but that isn’t green. This will be a huge challenge when households merge this summer!

  2. Beth Mickens says

    There are several reasons why I changed the way I and my family eats. First, I want to make sure that I remin a role model to my daughter and to my family. I want my daughter to grow up learning how to eat properly and how to make the right food choices. Same goes for my immediate family. I constantly “preach” about eating healthier foods, so I have to practice what I preach and it’s a motivator for them when they see me having carrots and hummus as my side dish as opposed to chips at a cookout. Another reason is because my family as well as my husbands family have a history of health issues ranging from minor to severe. I want to do my best to avoid any possible health issues for us in the future and try to prevent and possibly even “cure” the ones that my family currently is dealing with. And of course, a nicer, leaner body that I can feel more comfortable in is always a huge motivator to sticking to healthier eating habits and a consistent exercise routine.

  3. Maggie says

    Family history of Type II Diabetes, mother and some siblings have it. I was raised eating healthy fresh foods from our garden. Also worked in the garden as a child. Those habits have stayed with me. My biggest motivator is not wanting diabetes. I want to age healthy and do not want to rely on medications for health problems brought on by being overweight. I am also a fitness fanatic and its easier to perform circuit training, hiking, biking being within a healthy weight range.

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