Devising a healthy food diet first and foremost needs to recognise that eating anything to excess is a bad idea; moderation is a key starting point.
The ideal diet should address 4 major components - Fat, Sugar, Salt and Calories.
Let us consider the above in more detail:
Fat: Fried foods, pastries, burgers, cakes, cream, butter, full fat cheese
There are two types of fat; saturated (unhealthy in excess) and unsaturated (healthy). Foods containing a high proportion of saturated fats include meats such as lamb, pork and beef. Dairy products such as cream, full fat milk, butter, cheese. Certain vegetable oils including coconut oil, palm kernel oil.
Unsaturated (good fats) include olive oil, avocado, nuts.
Eating foods rich in these fats will help to lower cholesterol levels in the
Health issues: raised cholesterol increasing risk of heart disease and diabetes.
Sugar: sweets, sugary drinks, sweet desserts, biscuits.
Health issues: poor teeth and gums, obesity, hyperactivity (especially
Salt: Most processed foods contain too much salt. As we eat these foods every day we become used to the taste. Some foods contain a lot of salt to preserve them; bacon, butter, cheese, fish, such as anchovies, pickles, cold meats such as salami. Other products use salt to enhance flavour such as gravy granules, stock cubes, soy sauce, yeast extract, crisps, and salted nuts.
Health issues: Raised blood pressure increasing risk of heart disease or stroke.
Calories: A calorie is a unit of energy, derived from food or drinks, our bodies need every day to survive. However problems can arise if we consume too many of them.
The average number of calories required per day for men is 2500 and for women it is 2000. However it is estimated 60% of us consume 10% more than we need which means we become overweight.
Foods high in calories often fall under the heading of junk
food (high in calories and of low nutritional value). Junk food is ok once in
awhile but not on a regular basis. Avoid sugary drinks such as coke and
lemonade, alcohol, fried foods, starchy foods such as potatoes, rich sauces,
cheese dishes, cakes.
Health issues: increased risk of type 2 diabetes, heart
disease, stroke and some cancers.
For a healthy food diet then moderation is the key and we must be wary of certain food types. So let us look at healthy options for all the above points.
Healthy Food Diet Fats: Unsaturated fats are good for us and can be found in
- Oily fish such as salmon, sardines and mackerel. These all contain omega-3 essential fatty acids.
- Olive and sunflower oils
- Nuts and seeds - especially flaxseeds which are high in omega-3oils
Healthy Food Diet Sugar: Natural sugars can be found in
- Fruit, particularly bananas and some vegetables such as sweet potatoes. Use these instead of refined sugars on cereals, in drinks and in cooking.
- Honey is also good as it contains beneficial lactobacillus bacteria which aid digestion. It also contains natural antioxidants that can help fight free radicals which are harmful to the body.
Healthy Food Diet Salt: The best tip is to replace salt with other flavourings. You can cut down drastically on salt by preparing your own meals and make more use of
- Herbs such as basil or oregano with tomatoes; thyme with pasta, fennel with fish
- Spices and other flavourings. Cumin is good in meat dishes such as cottage pie; turmeric in rice dishes; chillies in seafood. Don’t be afraid to experiment – this is what chefs are doing all the time, trying new combinations of flavours and textures. Why should they have all the fun? So stock up on a good range of herbs and spices to wean you off the taste of too much salt.
Like this spicy vegetable dish (see below) that I cooked while on a camping holiday
Healthy Food Diet Calories: the best way to cut the calories is to
- Eat less; try sharing a dish when eating out with a friend – you end up eating half as much.
- Try the Healthy Food Diet Fast which is almost guaranteed to shed weight
Exercise at least an hour a day; burn off the excess
calories by walking for at least an hour or running for 30 minutes, cycling
for 1 ½ hours or swimming for 30 minutes. Make exercise an important part of
your day and put aside time for it. It is really as important as eating.
If you have any questions on the above please contact us.