Most people know that a healthy diet should consist of a variety of nutritious foods and adequate water, but the challenge is sometimes knowing how to incorporate these things into your daily life. The choices you make each day when you eat and drink can have a big impact on maintaining and improving your overall health. Work on developing healthy eating habits by keeping our six top tips in mind.
1) It is not just what you eat, but how you eat
- Take time to chew your food and enjoy mealtimes. It takes 20 minutes for our brain to get the message that our stomach is full. Take breaks from eating and put your fork down between bites.
- Minimize the temptation of second and third helpings. Serve food on individual plates, instead of putting the serving dishes on the table.
- Listen to your body. During a meal, stop eating before you feel full.
- Eat breakfast daily, and eat smaller meals throughout the day. A healthy breakfast can jumpstart your metabolism.
2) Rehydrate throughout the day
- It’s recommended to have 1.5 to 2 liters of fluids per day. This includes water, sparkling water, sugar-free herbal tea, black tea or coffee.
- Be creative: add fresh slices of cucumber, mint lives and lemon to flavor your water.
- Avoid regular sodas and having more than one glass of juice (with no added sugar) per day.
3) Eat more healthy carbohydrates and whole grains
- Healthy carbohydrates include whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables. They are digested slowly, helping you feel full longer.
- Include a variety of whole grains in your healthy diet. Examples include wholegrain breads and cereals, whole wheat pasta, brown rice and couscous.
4) Bulk up on fiber
- Fiber is the part of plants that our bodies cannot digest. Foods such as vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains contain fiber. A healthy diet should include 25-35 grams of fiber per day.
- Lower blood cholesterol
- Control blood glucose (sugar) levels
- Keep bowels regular
- Control your weight (by making you feel full faster)
- Protect against colon cancer
Tips to increase fibre:
- Choose healthy carbohydrates and whole grains as recommended in healthy eating tip 3
- Eat the skins and seeds of vegetables and fruits
- Add beans and lentils to soups and salads or in place of meat a few times every week
- Add ground flax seeds to yoghurt, cereal or homemade baked goods.
5) Enjoy healthy fats and avoid unhealthy fats
- Try to replace unhealthy fats (animal fat, coconut oil, palm oil, butter, ghee, cream) with healthier fats, found in olive oil, canola oil, avocados, peanuts and tree nuts.
- Even “good” fats should be eaten in moderation because all types of fat contain more than twice the calories of proteins or carbohydrates.
- Have 5-7 portions per day
- 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil, margarine, mayonnaise, pesto, tahini, sugar-free nut butter
- 2 teaspoons of light margarine
- ¼ avocado
- 2 teaspoons of cashew nuts, peanuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, pecan nuts
- 1 teaspoon sunflower, pumpkin or linseeds
6) Have protein present at every meal
- Protein provides the body’s basic buildings blocks for growth and energy. Some examples include pulses like chickpeas, lentils or beans, lean animal protein like skinless chicken, fish, trimmed meat or low fat dairy products (yogurt, laban and cheese) and low fat milk.