Fueling your health with food: A guide to eating for optimal well-being

By Dr. Wendy Henrichs

Board Certified Chiropractic Pediatrician, Nutrition Counselor

In our fast-paced world, it is easy to overlook the importance of nutrition in maintaining good health.


Remember that what you eat contributes to eighty percent of your body composition. It also plays a crucial role in how you look, how you feel, and your overall health and well-being.

By making conscious choices and adopting healthy eating habits, you can fuel your body with the nutrients it needs to thrive. A way to improve your diet and promote healthier eating habits is by embracing the concept of eating foods with five ingredients or less. By focusing on whole, unprocessed foods that are minimally altered, you can nourish your body while enjoying the benefits of simplicity in your meals.

The benefit of simplicity

Eating foods with fewer ingredients offers several advantages for your health. It encourages you to choose whole foods that are closer to their natural state.

Whole foods tend to be more nutrient-dense and provide essential vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and antioxidants. When you limit what you eat to five ingredients or less, your exposure to artificial additives, preservatives, added sugars, or unhealthy fats that are commonly found in highly processed products is greatly reduced.

Meal prep made easy

Adopting a five-ingredient approach simplifies your meal prep by reducing the number of components you need to prepare ahead of time while still ensuring balanced nutrition throughout the week.

 Plan out simple recipes that utilize common pantry staples, such as legumes, canned tomatoes or lentils; fresh organic produce; organic or grass-fed beef, wild game, free range organic chicken, wild caught fish, eggs or tofu for protein; and good fats from olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil or grass fed butter.

You can create satisfying meals even on busy days when you keep it simple, and always include fresh or frozen vegetables.

Mindful eating

Eating foods with fewer ingredients encourages a more mindful approach to eating.

By focusing on the quality and simplicity of your meals, you become more attuned to your body’s hunger and fullness cues. This can foster a healthier relationship with food.

You are also more easily cued into what foods make you “feel” good (not bloated or gassy) or cause your energy to drop, versus ones that don’t.

Seasoning is your friend

While limiting yourself to foods with five or less ingredients may seem restrictive when it comes to flavor profiles, there are numerous ways to enhance taste without compromising simplicity.

Seasoning with herbs that are fresh or dried add a lot of flavor along with basic seasoning from salt, pepper, onion, and garlic.

Putting it all together

Here is your formula to create a meal using foods with five or less ingredients: start with three to six ounces of a protein of your choice, along with one to three tablespoons of good fats, which both create a feeling of satiety; two to five cups of different vegetables, such as green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, or a salad; a half cup of sweet potatoes, rice, lentils, or legumes; salt and pepper to taste; and unlimited herbs, garlic, and onion. You could also make a soup or stew using fresh vegetables, a protein, olive oil, herbs, etc.

The idea is to choose foods with five or less ingredients. Read labels if you are using something from a package or a can. The easiest way to accomplish this is to create meals and snacks using fresh or frozen whole foods from the perimeter of your grocery store.

 If you want to feel more energized, improve your memory, your sleep, how you feel and look, or just improve your eating habits, then do this diet and health reset. Commit to the five-ingredient-or-less challenge for 10 days. If you want to completely clean up your diet, do this for 30 days. If you want to continue this after your challenge, do this for five out of seven days each week. Your future self will thank you.

Remember, it is never too late to make a Shift in Health. Dr. Wendy Henrichs is a board certified chiropractor and nutrition counselor at Timber Land Chiropractic in Rhinelander. For a complimentary chiropractic, nutrition or lifestyle counseling consultation, visit www.TimberlandChiropractic.com, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, or call 715-362-4852.

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