Catch the fitness bug: Eat right – Part 1
Who isn’t trying to eat healthy these days? Everyone seems to have caught the health and wellness bug. More and more people are giving up unhealthy lifestyle habits. Eating healthy can be easy, tasty and inexpensive if you stick to some simple guidelines. After all, it can help reduce your risk of heart disease, stroke and lots of other things you’d rather avoid. The good news is, eating right doesn’t have to be hard or require you to give up things you love. It’s all about making smart choices to build an overall healthy dietary pattern. Here are some simple ways you and your family can eat healthier:
Fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds, fish (preferably oily fish with lots of omega-3 fatty acids), skinless poultry, and plant-based alternatives, low-fat and fat-free dairy products, healthier fats and non-tropical oils
Sweets and added sugars (especially sugary drinks), sodium and salt, saturated fat, fatty or processed meats – if you choose to eat meat, select leaner cuts
Anything with trans fat and partially hydrogenated oils
Tips to imbibe
Eat the rainbow
Green, orange, red, purple, yellow…you get the picture? Eating the rainbow will supply your body with a range of disease-fighting phytonutrients, and will naturally fill you up to help you cut back on unhealthy foods.
Choose carefully, even with healthier foods
Some may think because it is healthy then binging is acceptable, this is very wrong. Healthy foods still contain calories, though ingredients and nutrient content can vary a lot. For example, avocados are very healthy, however, avocados are high in dietary fat. Fat provides nine (9) calories per gram compared with four (4) calories per gram in protein and carbs. Eating too much avocado can pack on the pounds. One avocado provides almost 30 grams of dietary fat and 322 calories. The good news is that the majority of the fat in avocados is healthy, unsaturated fat. However, even healthy fats can cause unwanted weight gain if you consume them in excess.
Always have a plan
With the number of events we get invited to, it’s easy to get sucked in. Someone we know is getting married every other weekend, a friend’s having a birthday dinner, your cousin’s child is turning one… Chances are, you plan to arrive hungry then eat or drink every single thing handed to you. Here is where your plan is very important: It is best to eat a healthy meal before leaving home so that you’re not as hungry because then, you’re less likely to binge. Stay away from processed foods. Reach for meals that are high in protein and have lots of vegetables.
Compare nutrition information on package labels and select products with the lowest amounts of sodium, added sugars, saturated fat and trans fat, and no partially hydrogenated oils. You can help your family eat better and balance their energy by learning to choose lower calorie, lower fat alternatives to some of their favourite foods. Use the Nutrition Facts label found on food packages to make smarter food choices.
Watch your calories
To maintain a healthy weight, eat only as many calories as you use up through physical activity. If you want to lose weight, take in fewer calories or burn more calories. Eat reasonable portions. Often this is less than you are served, especially when eating out. Don’t dismiss entire food groups. Eat a wide variety of foods to get all the nutrients your body needs. Cook and eat at home. You’ll have more control over ingredients and preparation methods.
Drop the food guilt
The moment you fall off the wagon, it’s important to pick yourself back up. Remaining in guilt about your food choices can sabotage your journey. Remember not to self-sabotage and always make healthier food choices – at home, work, grocery store, restaurants or events.
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