The key to a healthy diet is to eat the appropriate number of calories for your level of activity, so that you balance the energy you take with the energy you expend. If you consume more calories than your body requires, you will gain weight because the energy you do not use is stored as fat. You will lose weight if you eat and drink too little. You should also consume a variety of meals to ensure a well-balanced diet and that your body receives all of the nutrients it requires. It is suggested that males consume around 2,500 calories each day (10,500 kilojoules). Women should consume around 2,000 calories each day (8,400 kilojoules).
- Watch what you eat and how you eat it.
Starchy carbohydrates should make up just over a third of the food you eat. They include potatoes, bread, rice, pasta and cereals. Try to include at least 1 starchy food with each main meal. Some people think starchy foods are fattening, but gram for gram the carbohydrate they contain provides fewer than half the calories of fat.
Every day, it is advised that you consume at least 5 servings of a variety of fruits and vegetables. Fresh, frozen, canned, dry, or juiced are all options. It’s easier than it sounds to get your 5 a day. Why not shave a banana over your cereal for breakfast, or replace your mid-morning snack with a piece of fresh fruit? 80g is one serving of fresh, tinned, or frozen fruit and vegetables. 30g is a serving of dried fruit (which should be limited to mealtimes). A 150ml glass of fruit juice, vegetable juice, or smoothie also counts as one serving, but restrict your intake to no more than one glass per day because these beverages are high in sugar and can harm your teeth.
Fish is high in protein and includes a variety of vitamins and minerals. Aim for at least two servings of fish every week, including at least one serving of fatty fish. Omega-3 fats found in oily seafood may help reduce heart disease. Fresh, frozen, and canned fish are all options, but keep in mind that canned and smoked fish can be rich in salt. Most individuals should consume more fish, although certain species of fish have advised limitations.
You need some fat in your diet, but you should be mindful of the amount and kind of fat you consume. It is also necessary to keep track of your sugar and salt intake. They must be within the allowed amounts per day per person. This does not mean that one cannot have any cheat days at all.
- You are what you drink
You must drink enough of water to avoid being dehydrated. The government advises 6 to 8 glasses of water each day. This is in addition to the fluid obtained from the food you consume. All non-alcoholic beverages count, although water, low-fat milk, and low-sugar beverages, such as tea and coffee, are better options. Sugary soft and fizzy beverages are rich in calories and should be avoided. They’re also harmful to your teeth. Even unsweetened fruit juice and smoothies have a high free sugar content. Your daily total of beverages from fruit juice, vegetable juice, and smoothies should not exceed 150ml, or one small glass.
- Change your perspective on food.
There are several fallacies regarding healthy eating. Don’t base your dietary decisions on erroneous assumptions. Here are a few ideas:
- Don’t believe that your diet must be “all or nothing.” Eating properly does not need you to be concerned with eating healthily all of the time. A healthy diet allows for occasional indulgences.
- When the prices of junk foods are compared to the pricing of better food alternatives, it is clear that ‘healthy’ does not have to equal ‘expensive.’
- Experiment with various meals and dishes. A meal made from fresh ingredients is preferable than a limp burger or soggy fries.
- When dining out, look for kilojoule labelling on menus and double-check before ordering. A single high-energy meal may represent the majority of an adult’s daily kilojoule consumption, and beverages can also be high in kilojoules.
- Don’t completely give up your favourite foods! Consider new ways to prepare healthy meals. For example, instead of deep frying, you might make dishes lower in fat by altering the cooking technique – grill, stir-fry, bake, boil, or microwave.
- Instead of giving up completely, reduce the amount of your meal or food. More is not always better.
- If you’re concerned about losing out on socialising, instead of meeting pals for dinner, go for a stroll.