1. Eat a variety of foods
For good health we need over 40 different nutrients and no food can supply them all. It’s not a single meal, it’s a balanced choice of food over time that will make the difference!
A high-fat lunch can be followed by a low-fat dinner.
After a big serving of meat for dinner, maybe fish should be your choice the next day?
2. Base your diet on many foods that are rich in carbohydrates
About half of the calories in our diet should come from foods high in carbohydrates, such as grains, rice, pasta, potatoes and bread. It is a good idea to include at least one for each meal. Whole grain foods, such as whole grain breads, pastas and cereals, increase our fiber intake.
3. Replace saturated fat with unsaturated fat
Fat is important for good health and proper functioning of the body. However, too much can negatively affect our weight and cardiovascular health. Different types of fats have different effects on your health, and some of these tips can help us maintain the right balance:
It is necessary to limit the consumption of total and saturated fats (which often come from foods of animal origin) and to completely avoid trans fats; reading labels helps identify sources.
Eating fish 2-3 times a week along with at least one serving of fatty fish will contribute to our proper intake of unsaturated fats.
When cooking, it is necessary to cook, steam or bake in the oven, instead of frying, remove the fatty part of the meat, use vegetable oils.
4. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are among the most important foods to provide enough vitamins, minerals and fiber. We should try to eat at least 5 servings a day. For example, a glass of fresh juice for breakfast, maybe an apple and a piece of watermelon for snacks and a good serving of different vegetables for each meal.
5. Reduce your salt and sugar intake
High salt intake can cause high blood pressure and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease. There are different ways to reduce salt in your diet:
When buying, we could choose products with a low sodium content.
When cooking, salt can replace spices, increasing the range of flavors and tastes.
At meals, it is helpful not to have salt on the table or at least not to add salt before tasting.
Sugar provides sweetness and an appealing taste, but sugary foods and beverages contain a lot of energy and are best enjoyed in moderation as an occasional treat. Instead, we could use fruit, even to sweeten our food and drink.
6. Eat regularly, see the portions
Eating a variety of foods regularly and in the right amounts is the best way to eat healthy.
Skipping meals, especially breakfast, can lead to uncontrolled hunger, which often leads to overeating without being able to do anything. Snacks between meals can help control hunger, but snacks should not replace good meals. For snacks, we could opt for yogurt, a handful of fresh or dried fruits or vegetables (like carrot sticks), unsalted nuts or maybe cheese bread.
Being aware of portion sizes helps us not to consume too many calories and it will allow us to eat all the foods we enjoy without having to cut out.
Cooking the right amount helps you not to overeat.
Some reasonable portions are: 100 g of meat; a piece of medium fruit; half a cup of raw pasta.
Using smaller plates helps with smaller portions.
Packaged foods with calorie values on the package can help with portion control.
If you go out to eat, we can share a portion with a friend.
7. Drink plenty of fluids
Adults should drink at least 1.5 liters of fluid a day! Or more if it is very hot or if they are physically active. Water is of course the best source and we can use tap water or mineral water with or without gas, plain or flavored. Fruit juices, teas, sodas, milk and other beverages can be fine from time to time.
8. Maintain a healthy body weight
The right weight for each of us depends on factors like our gender, height, age and genes. Being affected by obesity and being overweight increases your risk of a wide range of diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
Excess body fat comes from eating more than what we need. The extra calories can come from any calorie content: protein, fat, carbohydrate or alcohol, but fat is the most concentrated source of energy. Physical activity helps us burn energy and feel good. The message is pretty simple: if we are gaining weight, we need to eat less and be more active!
9. Get moving, make it a habit!
Physical activity is important for people with all weights and health conditions. It helps us burn extra calories, is good for the heart and circulation, maintains or increases our muscle mass, helps us focus and improves overall health. We do not have to be the best athletes to move! 150 minutes a week of moderate physical activity is recommended, which can easily become part of our daily routine. We could all:
take the stairs instead of the elevator,
take a walk during the lunch breaks (and stretch out between our offices)
take time for a family activity on the weekends
At the top of the page
10. Start now! And that is gradually changing.
Gradual changes in our lifestyle are easier to maintain than major changes made at once. For three days, we could write down the foods and beverages we eat throughout the day and record the amount of movement we performed. It will not be difficult to discover where we could improve:
Skip breakfast? A small bowl of muesli, a piece of bread or a piece of fruit, could help introduce it gradually into our routine.
Too few fruits and vegetables? To begin with, we can introduce an extra coin a day.
Favorite food with a high fat content? If you abruptly remove them, it can re-ignite the fire and bring us back to old habits. Instead, we can choose low-fat options, eating them less frequently and in smaller portions.
Too little activity? Taking the stairs every day can be a great first step.