Margaret Mead, an American cultural anthropologist, had rightly said, “It is easier to change a man’s religion than to change his diet.” Considering our sedentary and busy lifestyles, changing unhealthy eating habits seems like a Herculean task.
Besides, there are some misconceptions associated with healthy eating such as:
- Consuming only bland food for several months
- Unrealistic fitness goals (v-cut abs and thigh gap)
- Contradictory food studies
- Unsustainable fad diets
Now, take some time off from these myths. We are going to show you how healthy eating can be varied and delicious. Studies have shown that the more stimulated your palate is, the more likely you will end up eating nutritious food.
Easy Tips for Healthy Eating
Plan your meals with higher fibre starchy carbohydrates
Starchy carbohydrates should be included in over a third of the food you eat.
Choose higher fibre or whole grain varieties, such as brown rice, wholewheat pasta, or potatoes with their skins on. They have more fiber than refined starchy carbohydrates and can keep you feeling full for longer.
Your main meal should include at least one starchy food. Some people believe the myth that starchy foods are fattening, but they have less than half the calories of fat.
Be aware of the fats you add when you’re cooking these types of foods because that’s what increases the calorie content. For example, serving oil on chips or butter on bread increases the overall fat content.
Reduce saturated fat and sugar
You don’t have to cut down 100% of the fat in your diet, but pay attention to the amount and type of fat you’re eating.
Excess of saturated fat increases the amount of cholesterol in the blood, which increases your risk of developing heart disease.
On average, men should not have more than 30g of saturated fat a day whereas women should restrict to 20g of saturated fat a day.
Saturated fat is found in many foods, such as fatty cuts of meat, sausages, butter, hard cheese, and other bakery products.
Foods containing unsaturated fats include vegetable oils and spreads, oily fish and avocados.
All types of fat have higher calories, so consume them in small amounts only.
Regularly consuming foods and drinks with high sugar content increases your risk of obesity and tooth decay.
Sugary foods and drinks are often high in calories, and consuming them in excess can lead to weight gain. They can also be responsible for tooth decay.
You should mostly cut down on free sugars rather than the natural sugars found in fruit and milk.
22.5g or more total sugars per 100g means the food has a high sugar content, while 5g of total sugars or less per 100g means the food has low sugar levels.
Food labels can help you to pick the correct product. Check how much sugary foods contain before buying them.
Portion Control Helps in Healthy Eating
Your calorie intake is a deciding factor that determines whether you’re eating healthy or not.
Portion control helps you to avoid consuming too many calories in one go.
Most of us think that it’s harder to overeat whole foods. But, they can still be eaten in excess.
Obese people should monitor their portion size very closely.
You can use many simple strategies to control your portion size.
You can use smaller plates and take a smaller first serving, then return for more after waiting for around 20 minutes.
Another good practice is to measure the portion size with your hand. Some standard estimations are 1–2 palms of protein, 1 fist-sized portion of carbs, and 1–2 thumb-sized portions of healthy fats.
Portion size becomes more important when consuming calorie-dense foods such as cheese, nuts and fatty meats.
Stay Away from Dehydration
Drinking 6 to 8 glasses of water every day is the recommended idea to prevent dehydration. This is in addition to the fluid you get from your daily food intake.
Remember, don’t try to replace water with sugary soft drinks, as they’re high in calories. Even unsweetened fruit juice and smoothies are not an exception.
Limit your combined total intake of fruit juice, vegetable juice, and smoothies to 150ml a day, which is a small glass.
Besides, drink more fluids during hot weather or while exercising.
Never skip breakfast
There are two common reasons why most of us might skip breakfast: we think it will help us lose weight and we are in so much of a hurry to have breakfast.
But having a fibre-rich breakfast can help you get the nutrients you need to stay healthy. In addition, it should be low in fat, sugar, and salt.
An example of such breakfast is a wholegrain low-sugar cereal topped with semi-skimmed milk and fruits. You can try other variations as well.
Understand different micronutrients
No, I’m not telling you to revisit your biology textbooks. Just knowing the basics can help when trying to maintain a healthy diet.
Here are some of the most common micronutrients you should know about:
- All vitamins: The vitamins, fat-soluble and water-soluble, play important roles in every organ and cell in your body.
- Magnesium: It plays a crucial role in over 600 cellular processes, including energy production, muscle contraction, and nervous system function.
- Potassium: This mineral keeps your blood pressure and fluid balance in check and also oversees the function of your muscles and nerves.
- Iron: It acts as an oxygen carrier in the blood, and also has many other benefits related to immune and brain function.
- Calcium: It’s an important structural component of bones and teeth, and also a key mineral for your muscles, heart, and nervous system.
All of the vitamins and minerals are considered as “essential” nutrients, meaning that you must obtain them from the diet.
Set Sustainable Goals for Healthy Eating
Eating healthy is a very broad topic and it’s impossible to cover everything in a layman’s guide. You can consider this article as the starting point for your health goals. Set small goals and work towards them rather than setting big, unachievable goals. Check out some healthy life motivational speech videos online to lead a healthy life.
I have been working closely with Dr. Bharat Sangani for quite some time. I have been mostly managing the Health wing of Dr. Sangani’s Health, Wealth, and Wisdom University. As a team, I am enthusiastic to dissipate the importance of a healthy life to all the individuals who wish to be part of Dr. Sangani’s university.