Most people think that in order to stay healthy and fit, you should focus on what you are eating. Some diet fads have you counting calories and eating bland and tasteless foods. The truth is, healthy eating is more than the foods you are eating and not eating. Healthy eating is also about how you eat and how you think about food.
Here is the good news. Healthy eating habits can be learned. Your food choices can help prevent diseases such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes from developing. On the other hand, eating habits can boost your energy, promote better digestion and sharpen your memory. Here are some examples of the foods you should eat and the different healthy ways of eating.
Which food groups should you eat?
You have to start thinking that food is nourishment for your body and that you need a balance of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, fiber, vitamins and minerals.
- Eat healthy servings of fruits and vegetables, at least 5 servings a day. Fruits and vegetables are packed with fiber and rich in vitamins and minerals needed by your body. When you start to eat more fruits and vegetables, you are decreasing your intake of sugar and salt. Sugar gives your body empty calories while salt increases your risk for hypertension and cholesterol levels.
- Whole grains promote better digestion and regularity of movement due to their high fiber content. Proteins from lean meat provide you the energy and the amino acids required for growth with less of the free radicals associated with fattier cuts of meat. Beans and nuts are healthy sources of protein, without the “bad fats”. Lack of protein can weaken the respiratory system and the immune system.
- Fats are needed by your body for a variety of functions, including giving warmth, nourishing hair, skin and nails. The good fats, the unsaturated acids and the omega-fats can reduce cardio-vascular diseases, improve cholesterol profile and even improve your mood. Stay away from the bad fats (generally found in fatty cuts of meat, butter and margarine, shortening and commercially baked goods) and eat healthy servings of the good fats.
- Argan oil is an example of a good fat source. It contains a high percentage of mono-unsaturated and essential fatty acids. This oil is also packed with Vitamin E and antioxidants, providing healthy benefits, indeed. Herring, salmon and sardines are rich in omega-3, an essential fatty acid that can bring down body weight and reduce risk of heart diseases.
How do you eat healthily?
When you start to think of eating as something you have to do to stay alive, then you should think again. Healthy eating is more than the food on your plate. Healthy eating is also how you think about food and how you eat the food on your plate.
- Eat with your family whenever possible. Or eat with friends. Eating with others presents social and emotional benefits such as being a role model of healthy eating for the children. You get to avoid over-eating as well, when you eat with other people.
- Eating at home can be healthy and fun, too. It does not have to be in restaurants all the time.
- Avoid eating in front of the TV or your pc as this often leads to mindless eating since you don’t monitor what you eat and how much you have eaten.
- Eat breakfast. Having breakfast enables your body to start metabolism especially after the long night’s fast.
- Avoid snacking and eating in between meals. When you feel the urge to snack, ask yourself if you are really hungry.
- Chew your food slowly and savor every morsel you put in your mouth. Rushing through your meal makes you forget to taste and enjoy your food. Eating slowly also helps you digest your food better and movement will also be easier.
- Listen to your stomach. Is it asking for more or are your eyes telling your brain you want to eat more? Drink a glass of water and try to sense if you are already full.
Cook at home whenever you can. Most of the foods that are served in restaurant and fast foods contain ingredients that may not be healthy. When you shop for and cook your own meals, you have a bigger say in your family’s health.