What Is Healthy Eating?
Healthy eating encourages the consumption of healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products. It includes eating protein sources such as lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts. Overall, it focuses on eating foods that are low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt, and added sugars. Most of all, healthy eating promotes an eating habit that allows you to stay within your daily calorie needs.
It may seem that healthy eating is all about strict diet limitations and deprivation of tasty foods. But on the contrary, it’s actually about making better food choices, getting more energy for your body, uplifting your mood, and improving your overall health. There is a lot of information out there on how to eat healthy, but don’t be overwhelmed and confused by all of these suggestions. It all comes down to these 8 simple tips that will show you how to create healthy, varied, and delicious meals that will keep your body happy and healthy.
Tips on Healthy Eating
1) Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are great for your health because they are packed with nutrients and low in calories. A minimum of 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day is recommended by nutritionists. One serving is typically half a cup or either a small apple or banana. The right amount of fruits and vegetables will naturally fill you up and help you cut back on unhealthy foods, hence resulting in a healthy eating habit.
2) Base your meals on foods rich in carbohydrates
It is usually recommended to make starchy foods about 1/3 of your meal. Some examples of these foods include rice, pasta, bread, cereals, and potatoes. These foods fall under the healthy carb category which means they are digested slowly, making you feel full longer. They also help keep your blood sugar and insulin levels stable. Whole grain varieties are the best choice since they contain more fiber. So if you’re going to consume bread for example, choose whole wheat over white bread. For rice, choose brown rice over white rice.
3) Drink lots of fluids
An adult needs to consume about 1.5 to 2 liters of fluid every day to prevent dehydration, and this is on top of the fluid we get from the foods we eat. All drinks count, but water and low fat milk are obviously the healthier choices. Avoid sugary drinks like soda or energy drinks as they are one of the major sources of added calories in your diet.
4) Maintain a healthy body weight
Eating right with a balanced diet is essential to maintaining a healthy weight. Aside from this, physical activity can also help burn off those extra calories and make you feel good. Getting physically active is good for the heart, circulatory system, and overall health. It may reduce your risk of getting diseases such as type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, and cardiovascular disease. Remember that being active doesn’t necessarily mean spending time in the gym. There are tons of different ways to get your body moving like walking, running, biking, or being involved in sports.
5) Eat less salt
Sodium is one ingredient that is often added to food to improve its taste. Your body needs only less than one gram of sodium a day (about half teaspoon of table salt) but what you don’t realize is that about 75% of the salt you eat is already in the foods you buy. Eating too much salt may result in high blood pressure and increase the risk of stroke, heart disease, kidney disease, memory loss, and erectile dysfunction. As a healthier alternative to salt, healthy eating promotes the use of herbs and spices to add flavor to your meals. You can instead use garlic, curry powder, cayenne, or black pepper which contains more nutritional value. When buying food, read the nutritional label to determine sodium content and manage your intake. Remember that adults should only eat a maximum of about 6g of salt per day, children even less.
6) Cut back on bad fats
Saturated fat (good fat) comes mainly from animal sources such as red meat, poultry, and full-fat dairy products. Trans fat (bad fat) on the other hand is found in processed foods, vegetable shortenings, margarine, crackers, candies, cookies, snack foods, fried foods, baked goods, or anything with partially hydrogenated oil in the ingredients. Too much bad fat may increase the cholesterol levels in the body and cause cardiovascular disease or type 2 diabetes. The good news is that not all fats are bad. Good fats such as omega-3 fats found in salmon, sardines, flaxseed, and walnuts may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, improve mood, and help prevent dementia.
7) Choose lean protein foods
Protein is important in giving us energy to keep going throughout the day. It is recommended that adults eat at least 0.8g of high quality protein per kilogram of body weight each day. This is best divided equally among meals. Some good sources of protein are fish, chicken, beans, nuts, and soy. If you’re eating pork or beef, make sure to choose the leaner (healthier) cuts like the loin.
The key to a healthy diet is to eat in moderation. It’s about eating the right balance of protein, fat, fiber, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. At the end of a meal, you should feel satisfied without feeling stuffed. If you eat in reasonable portions, it’s easier to eat all the foods you enjoy without having to eliminate any. Try not to think of certain foods as off limits. Instead, consume smaller portions of unhealthy foods to satisfy your cravings. In time, you may find yourself craving and thinking of them less until you eventually get them out of your system entirely. It’s also advisable to eat small servings of food frequently rather than a big meal in one sitting. It can keep your energy up throughout the day, reduce your tendency to over-eat, and help your body with proper digestion.