What is Healthy Eating?
We have been inundated with information on how we should eat and what we should eat. One day carrots are good for you and the next they are bad. We follow fad diets telling us to eliminate carbohydrates and eat mainly protein, and then learn this is not a healthy practise. So what is healthy eating exactly?
It Doesn’t Have To Be Complicated
Sometimes the simplest things are the ones we forget. If you want to follow a healthy lifestyle go back to the basics. Your healthy diet should include:
- Lots of Fruits and Vegetables
- High Fibre Carbohydrates
- Milk and Dairy Products
- Good fats
Again keep it simple! Vegetables should make up the majority of your diet. For example, they should fill one half of your plate. Start with the ones you love, but remember to limit starchy vegetables like corn, peas or potatoes. It doesn’t mean you can’t eat them just put starchy vegetables in the carbohydrates category. You can include frozen, fresh and canned (as long as they are packed in water and not oil or juice) varieties. Many grocery stores even sell pre-cut salads and mixes for you to choose from. Try to eat five portions of fruits and vegetables each day.
Eat high fibre carbohydrates like multi-grain or whole wheat breads and cereals. Brown rice and whole grain pastas are also great. Limit the carbohydrates to one quarter of your plate. Healthy carbohydrates (the good carbs) include whole grain, beans, fruits and vegetables. The good carbs e normally digested slowly allowing you to feel full faster and longer while keeping your insulin and blood sugar levels more stable. The unhealthy carbohydrates (bad carbs) include white flour, sugar, white rice and processed foods which have been stripped of their nutrients. These absorb into your bloodstream faster raising your blood sugar and insulin levels quickly.
Be sure to include 2-3 servings of milk and dairy products in your day. Dairy products are a good source of calcium and include cheese, yogurt and milk. Watch their fat contents and try skim or light versions as much as possible
On the last quarter of your plate place your protein. Try to choose leaner cuts or meat, fish and poultry and trim off any excess fat before you prepare them. You should be eating a minimum of two servings of protein a day.
Lastly of course are the fats and sugars. You can’t eliminate them but try to limit them as much as possible. These foods tend to have higher fat and calories, so eating them sparingly and focusing on your healthy items above will be your best bet.
Eat a variety of different foods so you don’t get bored. Plan ahead and prepare healthy snacks to keep on hand when you get a mild craving for something and to pack in your lunch and take with you when you are on the go. Limit processed snacks and foods. Limit fried foods.
Listen to your body not your mind. It often knows what you need. Are you really hungry or just thirsty? On average a person only needs 3 meals including a healthy breakfast and 2 snacks to be satisfied. Know the difference between a rumbling hungry stomach and an emotional need like chocolate and chips.
On the flip side, it takes 20 minutes for your brain to tell the body it feels full. Relax, sit down and enjoy the taste of your meal. Let your body absorb the nutrients. When you feel full – stop!
Simple right? Use common sense and you will see the difference in no time. Don’t stress, don’t be hard on yourself. Small changes over time will get you to a natural, healthy eating lifestyle that you dream about.