Healthy eating is not about being rail thin, eating only rabbit food or ridiculous nutritional philosophies, likewise planning a healthy diet especially for women.
It’s about feeling great in yourself, feeling more energy boosted, being in a good mood and as healthy as possible, this can all be achieved by learning some basics of nutrition and using those basics in a way that works for you.
Instead of one giant change, you need to bring in changes gradually, small manageable ones will help set you up for success.
Instead of being overly concerned with your portion size or how many calories you have consumed, think of a diet in terms of color, variety and freshness, this will make it easier for you to make healthier choices. Focus on finding foods you enjoy and easy recipes you can bring in to your life with fresh ingredients, you will gradually see your diet become much healthier.
It is not really the best idea to suddenly change things overnight, it can lead to cheating on your diet or giving up eventually. Start out small such as changing butter to olive oil when cooking. As each small change you add becomes commonplace start adding further changes to your diet.
Every change you make will gradually improve your diet, every choice you make counts, you don’t have to eliminate all the good foods to succeed, you are aiming for a healthier long term diet that will boost your energy and make you feel better.
Many people mistakenly think of dieting as an all or nothing idea, but the real key is moderation.
You are probably wondering what a good level of moderation is? That all really depends on your eating habits. Try to think of moderation as keeping things balanced as you are trying to incorporate a diet you can keep for life not just when you have achieved your ideal weight.
A lot of diets out there would have you believe you need to cut down on this or that but the fact is we all need a good balance of protein, carbs, fat, fiber, vitamins and minerals to be healthy.
Moderation for most of it is massively cut down on the unhealthy stuff like processed sugars and eating more of the good stuff like fruit and veg. This does not mean that you shouldn’t have bacon for breakfast, but it is all about moderation so you could have that and then have a healthy lunch and dinner.
If you eat 100 calories of chocolate for a snack one afternoon, just knock that off your evening meal, if your still peckish, fill up on a few more veggies.
Don’t think of yourself as a failure just because you have indulged on the odd bar of chocolate, it is natural to want these bad foods, start by reducing portion sizes and gradually not having it as often, you will not be craving as much as time goes on.
Start also thinking on smaller portions, when out and about dining, have a starter instead of a main course, share a main dish with a friend.
Keep serving sizes realistic at home, if your still hungry after a meal eat some more leafy vegetables or introduce a portion of fruit to end the meal off.
Healthy eating is also about how you think of food, you should slow down and stop thinking of food as something to gulp down between a meeting or picking up a friend, think of it more as nutrition.
Eating in front of the tv or computer often leads to mindless overeating, so eating with other people has many positive aspects, particularly for children, allowing you to model healthy habits.
We tend to rush out foods forgetting to taste the flavors, take time and eat slowly.
When eating a meal, take a pause before you get full and see if you are not already so, it takes a few mins for your brain to process that you have had enough.
A good hearty breakfast will kick start your day and your metabolism, eating more smaller meals throughout the day gives your energy a good boost and keeps your metabolism going.
Avoid eating at night, try fasting for 14-16 hours before breakfast the next day giving your digestive system a good break.
Fruits and veggies are the foundation to any healthy diet out there, packed with calories and nutrient dense, they also contain vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants and fiber.
Aim for a variety of 5 different ones each day to maximize your diet, simply supplementing fruits and veggies for supplement tablets is not good enough as these only target a singular health benefit, where as proper fruit and veg have many of the things your body needs.
Choosing healthy carbs and wholegrains for an energy source will give you much more long-lasting energy,
as well as being tasty and being a good energy source, whole grains are rich in antioxidants and phyto-chemicals which help protect against certain cancers, heart disease and diabetes.
Healthy carbs are things like whole grains, fruits and vegetables as these are digested slowly keeping you fuller for longer.
Bad carbs are things like white flour and refined sugar that has been stripped of nearly all natural goodness, these bad carbs digest quickly and cause blood sugar spikes and can give you energy downers.
Include a wide variety of whole grains in your diet like brown rice and millet etc. Experiment with different grains to find the one you like best.
Make sure you are getting whole grains as some foods can be deceptive and contain little to no whole grains at all, always read the ingredients label to make sure, the ingredients should be at the beginning.
Good sources of fat help nourish your brain, cells and heart. As well as your hair, skin and nails.
Eliminate mono and trans saturated fats from your diet found in things like cooking oils and dairy products and replace them with mono and poly unsaturated fats which can be found in: peanut oil, olive oil, seeds, nuts, salmon, herring, mackerel and some cold fish supplements.
Protein is essential in our diets and gives us the energy to accomplish many tasks and get going. Protein found in food is broken down by the body into 20 amino acids and used to help maintain cells, tissue and organs, if you go to the gym a lot or workout at home, protein helps your body repair any damaged muscle tissue as well, It is particularly important for kids who are constantly growing.
Even if you are a vegetarian, try focusing on alternative protein sources such as beans, nuts, peas, tofu and soy products etc.
Many people eat too much protein, try to focus on equal servings of protein, whole grains and vegetables and also make sure you eat quality sources of protein such as chicken, fresh fish, tofu , eggs, beans and nuts. try to stay away from GM products that contain unhealthy chemicals.
Calcium serves a very important purpose in humans that helps you lead a long and healthy life as well as bone health.
Try to get between 1000mg and 1200mg of calcium a day and use only low dosage supplements to make up any shortfall.
Good sources of calcium are obviously dairy products like milk, but you can also gain a lot from veggies and greens, especially of the leafy variety.
Pretty self explanatory really but felt I should write it here, if you have got the rest of your diet right with good sources of protein, fruits and veggies etc. then it makes sense to restrict any bad foods that get in the way of your healthy diet.
Sugar causes many energy spikes up and down which present problems itself but it also leads to health and weight problems, just cutting down on the no. of cakes and candies etc. is only a part of the problem.
You probably never even realised on the amount of sugar you take in each day, large amounts of sugar can be hidden in everyday foods like bread, canned soups, sauces, fast food, frozen food etc.
It is best to sweeten food yourself, buy unsweetened foods such as unsweetened iced tea, natural yogurt and so on and sweeten yourself with fruit or other form of healthy sweetener.
Another problem is our salt intake, it’s just too high. Eating too much salt can cause high blood pressure, health problems and can make you bloated believe it or not, a lot of excess salt in our bodies can cause your body to retain more water than normal.
Try to limit yourself to the equivalent of one teaspoon of salt per day.
The key to cutting down your salt intake is to try and avoid ready meals as these often contain an obscene amount of salt to give them flavor, obviously cut back on the salty snacks like crisps, roasted nuts etc. choose low sodium/salt products and finally gradually reduce the salt in your diet to give your taste buds time to adjust.
Sorry this has been a lot of info to read, I don’t normally make articles this long as a rule but I thought I should cover all the bases on this one, especially when it comes to people’s success in producing a decent healthy diet.
Please feel free to comment below.
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