A healthy eating plan tends to look complicated if you don’t know the basics. It is important to understand how to maintain equilibrium in your diet and understand the fundamentals of good eating in order to chalk out a customized plan that is truly healthy.
Most people have a very foggy understanding about which are healthy foods to eat, which is not really that surprising. There are too many people saying too many things and following too many different diet ideas.
What’s funny is that most of them contradict each other and leave the reader confused and discouraged.
That’s exactly why I don’t really lay out any specific guidelines and diet plans. I just feel that as long as you follow the basics, you can easily make your own healthy eating plan - one which will work for you.
Children have different dietary needs as their bodies are growing. Older people and those suffering from medical conditions will have to stick to certain food specifics. Those trying to lose weight will have to pay more attention to calories. It is best to check with your doctor or nutritionist before you start off on any food plan.
Whatever you decide, it’s important to start your healthy eating plan as soon as possible, don’t delay. For example eating too much fatty food will raise your cholesterol levels.
This can build up over time in your arteries leaving them too narrow for a healthy blood flow. The result is high blood pressure and an increased risk of heart disease and strokes.
These food groups should be included in your diet for optimum health benefits. Remember, the key to good health is to maintain variety in your diet and also have a few delicious and healthy food recipes that you can fall back on.
If you settle for bland and insipid food, chances are that you will give up on your healthy diet plan even before it can get off on its feet.
Fruits & Vegetables- Try to get in a minimum of 5 portions of fresh healthy vegetables and fruits into your diet every single day. Pulses, lentils and baked beans are all included in this group.
Apart from the fact they will be less nutritious than fresh
foods; the manufacturers may well have added undesirable ingredients
such as sugar, salt and other chemicals. This goes for all processed
foods so check the ingredients before you buy.
NB Food manufacturers are motivated primarily by their profit line rather than your good health. Adding ingredients like salt and sugar will help sell more of their products.
Bread, Potatoes and Cereals- 5 is the magic number here as well. You should try to include 5 portions in diet through the day. This group includes oats and other breakfast cereals, potatoes, whole grain and multi grain breads, whole wheat pasta and brown rice. The idea is to include any one food from this specific group at every meal so you get the optimum benefits for the day.
Milk & Dairy Foods- Consume milk, cheese and yoghurt in moderation. When you add them to your meal, ensure that you settle for low fat products. While indulging in cream and butter once in a while is okay, try to avoid consuming these fat laden foods every day as the calories can soon mount up.
Meats, Fish & Alternatives- Add at least 2-3 servings of these to your everyday plan. Some of these foods can have high fat content. This group includes meat, fish, poultry and eggs.
Eggs are full of protein and are an important component of your healthy eating plan but should be eaten in moderation. It is best to stay away from the yolk. Egg whites are what you should ideally be eating. Opt for low fat versions of these products, especially if weight loss is your goal.
Trim all the visible fat from poultry and meats. Tofu, nuts, kidney beans, mycoprotein and textured vegetable protein are the non-meat versions of protein.
Fish is an important element in a healthy diet, especially oily fish such as salmon, sardines, herring and mackerel which are rich in beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. Try to eat these types of fish at least twice a week.
Fat and Sugar- Fat and sugar are necessary but should be consumed in very small quantities. If you are trying to lose weight, you should stay away from them completely. These foods are high in sugar and/or fat. Butter, oil, margarine, crisps, cream and fried foods are part of this group. Chocolates, pastries, biscuits and ice-creams are the other food items that you should be consuming very carefully, if at all. It is important to include a little bit of fat in your daily diet but you must be smart with choosing where it will come from. Opt for unsaturated fats like corn, sunflower and olive oil and use spreads which are made from these products.
Always remember that living healthy is a choice and a conscientious decision. You can follow the healthy eating plan that I have discussed with you or anything that suits your lifestyle and eating habits.
The basics of good eating stay the same. Eat all foods in moderation, make your food tasty, shun rich foods and opt for health, because at the end of the day, it is this that will last you a lifetime.
Establishing a plan is not about saying “No” to all the foods you like but rather discovering all the healthy foods (and ways of preparing them) you never knew existed. With a little research and planning this can be an exciting and liberating journey.
You may also find these healthy eating recipes helpful. Let me know if you are looking for more info and please contact me if you have any questions. Alternatively please do visit our other pages below on: