Healthy eating is important for all of us. It makes us feel good, stay at a healthy weight and look our best. Healthy eating affects our general well-being.
Our immune system is strengthened by healthy foods thereby reducing the risk of illness.
But to achieve the healthy eating lifestyle, you have to combine different healthy foods in the right amount.
This will ensure your body gets the necessary nutrients and maintain a healthy weight.
On a healthy eating lifestyle, there are some major factors to give attention to in order to ensure success.
More Water! More Water!
Yes, I said that twice on purpose.
So you pay attention to it because it is very vital to healthy eating but often gets ignored. And why?
Because there are so many liquids that looks and tastes better than water. But what could really look and taste better than a sparkling and refreshing glass of good old WATER?
Well, the truth is, some persons have gotten so attached to Soda and flavored drinks that water is hardly ever thought of as essential.
But Soda can never really step in for water. Think of the benefits of drinking enough water, they are numerous.
I have always tried to drink more water and reduce Soda to the barest minimum. But at my recent job, I was almost breaking my habit and resolve.
Most of my colleagues are total soda addicts, I mean they literally take it as water. So it started robbing off on me. Then without even knowing it, my son came to the rescue.
He started a 30-day no soda challenge. And I am the very person advocating the healthy eating lifestyle, so I joined. And boy did it help? Like hell it did.
By the end of it I was even better than I was before. And I was Healthier. Well drinking water may not sound as much fun until you start loving it. And, Yes, you can love it.
I had some help from this post on Tips to help you drink more water. You will love it. I promise. Check it out.
Healthy Cooking Methods;
First, it is important to note that on a healthy eating lifestyle, cooking more homemade foods is vital.
However, the method of cooking food goes a long way in determining how healthy it gets. So it is best you stick to healthier cooking methods like grilling, baking, steaming.
Shallow frying with very little amount of healthy vegetable oil is also a healthy method.
In most cases when you use this method on meat. Just brown the meat with little vegetable oil on a pan.
Avoid deep frying food and cooking red meat with high temperature.
Vegetable Oils for Cooking and Baking
Vegetable oils can provide a healthy balance of essential fatty acids. Use them in food preparation, frying, salad dressings, and spreads.
Healthy Vegetable oils for cooking are extra virgin Olive oil, Sunflower oil, Safflower or Rapeseed oil. But use them sparingly.
You can use standard Margarine with a more saturate one when baking. But don’t forget that it contains same amount of fats and calories.
Eat Less Salt
You should consider using more of Spices, pepper, Spices and Herbs to flavor your food as against salt.
Add these to your food and taste before adding salt. You will find that you will likely use less salt eventually to make your food taste nice.
Even without adding much salt to your food, you may still be eating too much salt if you use processed packaged food.
Make sure you check labels to ensure your salt per 100g of whatever you use is 1.5g or less. You could also rinse before use to reduce salt contents.
Adults and children above 10 shouldn’t eat more than 6g of salt daily.
Iodized salt is healthier and best for food preparation at all times. It reduces the chances of Goiter in places where it is common.
Though it may be more expensive, it is best for your family health.
Choose some Milk and Dairy Foods
Milk or dairy products such as milk, yogurt and cheese are great sources of protein, calcium and vitamin D. Make sure to add them to your diet except of course you are on a no-dairy diet.
In that case, you should make special effort to add more calcium-rich foods or supplement.
However, lower fat or semi-skimmed milk and dairy foods are healthier choices.
Tips to get your Dairy;
You may need to make the transition from full-fat dairy to low fat or fat free milk.
This can be done slowly by switching from whole fat to 2% milk (reduced fat). Later 1% fat (low fat) or skimmed (fat free).
Keep dairy food in your shopping list like low fat milk or yogurt and check for coupons to save more on dairy.
Use low fat plain yogurt for toppings and sauces. Add Low fat or fat free milk to your coffee instead of cream.
Such foods as cream, cream cheese, sour cream and butter are not part of the dairy food group. They contain too much solid fat and have little or no calcium.
If you have trouble taking milk, try fortified soy milk as a good alternative.
Add lower fat cheeses to meals like part-skim mozzarella or reduced-fat swiss or cheddar. Serve with foods like sliced cucumbers, apples or 100% whole grain crackers.
Show kids that dairy is important by eating and drinking more dairy food daily as against chocolate milk, flavored yogurt or frozen yogurt and pudding.
Eat more Fish for Protein
Fish is another good source of protein and contains numerous vitamins and minerals.
Aim for at least two portions per week especially of more oily fish because they are high in Omega-3 fats which is heart friendly.
Other Sources of Protein
Meat, chicken, egg, soybeans (tofu), Legumes (beans) are all good sources of protein you can incorporate into your diet.
Base your Meals on Soluble and Fibrous Starchy Foods
Choose whole grain varieties of starchy foods when possible because they are higher in fiber. They can also keep you fuller for longer.
Fibrous foods also enhance your digestive system and cleanse your bowels.
Eat lots of Vegetables
It is recommended that you eat five portions of different types of fruits and vegetables per day.
They provide minerals, vitamins and fiber. Some vegetables like Potatoes provides carbohydrates and some vegetable protein.
Tips to get your Vegetables
Choose fresh Vegetables when in season or grow your own. When you purchase vegetables in season they usually cost less and they are at their best in flavor and taste.
Set the pace by making half your plate at meals vegetables and fruits. Serve veggies as part of your kid’s meal. And encourage snacking on veggies by offering cucumber slices and carrot sticks as snacks.
Spice up your vegetables with herbs and seasoning.
Generally, people don’t like eating vegetables because they taste boring and bland or even bad. But this can be helped by adding spices and herbs.
Cook vegetables like sliced Zucchini, Carrots and Onions with your favorite herbs and seasoning.
Serve Vegetables in ways that your family will enjoy.
Try Baked sweet Potatoes and roasted Squash. Mix Broccoli and Carrot with brown rice for a side dish. Place slices of Tomatoes and Lettuce in Sandwiches.
Have Vegetable slices handy in fridge for quick meals. Place sliced Bell Pepper, Cauliflower, Carrots and Celery in airtight container in the fridge for easy meals. This comes in handy for stir-fries, baked or roasted vegetables meals.
Fruits contains a good amount of minerals, vitamins and fiber needed for proper functioning of the body.
Several fruits are low in fat, sodium and calories, so you don’t need to worry about adding too much calories.
They also provide sugar for quick and healthy energy boost when needed. A serving of fruits is equivalent to a half or quarter cup of juice (120ml to 180ml).
It is recommended to that you eat more of whole fruits than juice because you get more of the benefits.
Tips to get your fruits
Put different kinds of fruits on your shopping list. Look for fresh, frozen canned and dried fruits at the store since fresh ones may not be readily available all year round.
Focus on fruits at mealtime. Try adding slices of fresh fruits like Apple, Banana, Orange and Berries to breakfast cereals, Peanut butter sandwich for lunch and to salads at dinner.
Canned Peaches in 100% juice, dried fruits like Raisins, Cranberries and Prunes, or 100% Orange or Grapefruit juice.
Buy fruits in season.This is something I have almost always known and lived by. There is a reason these fruits have their seasons.
And though we are happy when we get some of our favorite fruits long after the season, they cost less and taste fresher and better when in season.
Make fruits easy to see and snack on. This is especially helpful in training kids to snack on fruits. If there is always a bowl or plate of nicely sliced fruits on kitchen counters or visible in the fridge, it will be easy to get everyone to snack more on them than scarce cookies.
Fill half your plate during meals with fruits and vegetables. It helps you eat more.
Try new fruits with your kids to see which could be added to your regular favorites. Let them see you enjoy new tastes and flavors. It’s a good and fun adventure.
Grains provide mostly carbohydrates as starches. They also provide some proteins that needs to be combined with legumes (beans), nuts, seeds, dairy or meat to be complete.
It is best to make at least half of your grain whole grain because they include the entire kernel of the grain unlike refined grain where part of the grain is removed.
Whole grains often have more fiber which helps to keep your body more balanced.
Tips for eating more whole grain;
Use whole grain bread in sandwiches, mix brown rice with vegetables, use whole grain wheat pasta in dishes like spaghetti.
Also, you can choose whole wheat cereal, oatmeal or whole grain waffles for breakfast.
For snacks, try whole grain cereals such as shredded wheat or toasted oats. Snacking on popcorn is a very healthy way to snack. Just make sure to use less salt and if possible, no butter.
However, taking cookies, cakes pies and doughnuts as snacks should be avoided at best. This is due to too much solid fats and added sugar.
To sum it up, you really don’t need too much stress to achieve the healthy eating lifestyle. Just some little additions and variations to your daily routine will do.
And building good habits takes time, Yes, take it from someone who has been there. But in the long run if you keep at it, You’ll smile.