How to Start Healthy Eating: My Top 5 Tips
According to World Health Organization, well-balanced, nutritious diet can support your immune system, healthy development, and decrease your risk of obesity and diseases.
The foods we eat have effects on your health and quality of our lives. Good health is really about the hundreds of small decisions we make every day, so why don’t we start by taking responsibility of our actions towards our health.
It is a lot to cover, but if you’re interested in the healthier diet, and want to do changes right now then try these Top 5 Tips.
How to Start Healthy Eating: My Top 5 Tips
1. Drink water
One of the most important ingredients is water. Keeping hydrated is crucial for health and well-being. Around 60 percent of the body is made up of water. The brain and heart are composed of 73% water, and the lungs are about 83% water. Therefore, each day humans must consume a certain amount of water to survive. Of course, this varies according to age and gender, and also by where someone lives.
So why don’t we start our day with a cup of warm water. Drinking water first thing in the morning can help flush the digestive system and rehydrate the body.
2. Eat a variety of foods
Studies show that people who eat a variety of food live longer, are healthier, and have a reduced risk of health diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
Food variety means eating foods such as vegetables, fruit, meat, fish, seafood, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.
You can achieve a healthier, nutritious eating pattern with many combinations of foods, therefore eating a variety of foods allows you to get essential nutrients and other beneficial substances that your body needs.
3. Include more vegetables and fruits
Vegetables and fruits are an important part of a healthy diet, and variety is as important as quality.
There is compelling evidence that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables can lower the risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes. On top of that, fruit and vegetables contain indigestible fiber, which absorbs water and expands as it passes through the digestive system. This can calm symptoms of an irritable bowel and, by triggering regular bowel movements, can relieve or prevent constipation.
Eat vegetables at every meal, making each plate as colourful as possible, so that you are taking in abroad range of beneficial nutrients and phytonutrients. Some of these should be raw every day- in the form of salads, green juices and smoothies, vegetable crudités and / or marinated vegetables, for example.
Vegetable should comprise a half to two-thirds of your plate at lunch and dinner, with the remaining third protein. Starches (grains and potatoes) are optional- if you want to include them, use small portions only.
Include variety of fruit every day as well, in order to get all necessary nutrients and antioxidants.
4. Include more healthy fats
For years we’ve been told that eating fat will add inches to your waistline, raise cholesterol, and cause health problems. But now we know that not all fat is the same. While “bad” fats can wreck your diet and increase your risk of certain diseases, “good” fats such as omegas, can protect your brain and heart, balance hormones, helps absorb essential vitamins and minerals, improves mood and well-being.
The power of Omega-3
Omega-3 is called an essential fatty acid for a reason – it’s essential for your body to function, but it has some surprising hidden health benefits too.
Your body doesn’t produce omega-3s on its own, which means they are “essential fatty acids” — you have to consume them.
The best sources of Omega-3 (high in EPA and DHA)
Vegetarian sources of Omega-3 (high in ALA)
- Algae such as seaweed (high in EPA and DHA)
- Eggs (small amounts of DHA)
- Flaxseeds and flaxseed oil
- Chia seeds
- Canola and soyabean oil
- Beans (refried, kidney, etc.)
- Brussels sprouts
Since fat is an important part of a healthy diet, rather than adopting a low-fat diet, it’s more important to focus on eating more beneficial “good” fats and limiting harmful “bad” fats.
Instead of obsessively counting fat grams, aim for a diet rich in a variety of vegetables, fruit, nuts, and beans, with two or more weekly servings of fatty fish, small amounts of red meat, and only occasional fried or processed meals.
This might mean replacing fried chicken with grilled chicken, swapping out some of the red meat you eat with other sources of protein such as fish, chicken, or beans, or using olive oil rather than butter.
Would be beneficial too if you include healthy fats such as raw nuts, seeds, avocados, nut or seed butters and cold-pressed seed oils or olives daily.
5. Control portions
Controlling your portions doesn’t mean you need to eat tiny amounts or measure out precisely the number of peas on your plate. However, if we’re eating too much, then we may need to retrain our brains to see a smaller-than-normal portion as satisfying enough.
Here are some additional tricks to try:
- Pay attention to what, when, and why you eat. Keeping a food diary helps people control what they eat.
- Use a smaller plate. A standard-sized portion will look small on a larger plate, making you feel dissatisfied. Use a smaller plate to prevent overloading.
- Don’t double your carbohydrates. If you already have some starchy carbohydrate with your meal, do you need bread, naan or chapatis as well? You could be doubling your portion, so if you like to have some bread on the side, you’ll need to cut down the amount of starchy carbohydrate on your plate accordingly.
- 20-minute rule. Think you haven’t had enough? Wait for about 20 minutes before reaching for a second helping. It can take a little while for you to feel full after you have eaten. So, avoid the temptation to keep eating and see if you get that feeling.
- Discern between hunger and thirst – you might think you are hungry when you are really thirsty. Have a glass or two of water first and see if you are still hungry.
- Try to avoid eating standing up, watching TV, talking or playing with phone, or driving.
- Eat slowly and chew. You will get more “food experience” from fewer calories.
- Eat smaller, more frequent meals (every three to four hours). Skipping meals or waiting too long before eating causes excessive hunger and may lead to eating larger portions at the next meal.
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- Harvard T.H. Chan, (2019). The Nutrition Source. Vegetables and Fruits. [Online]. Acceded: 20 June 2019
- Link, R. MS, RD (2017). Essential Fatty Acids: What Makes These Healthy Fats So Essential? [Online]. Acceded: 20 June 2019
- Segal R. M. A., Robinson, L., (2019). Choosing Healthy Fats. [Online]. Acceded: 20 June 2019
- University of Minnesota, (2019). Heart Disease. [Online]. Acceded: 20 June 2019
- University of Minnesota, (2019). Cancer. [Online]. Acceded: 20 June 2019
- University of Minnesota, (2019). Diabetes. [Online]. Acceded: 20 June 2019
- Water Science School, (2010). The Water in You: Water and the Human Body. [Online]. Acceded: 20 June 2019.
- World Health Organization, (2019). Diet, nutrition and the prevention of chronic diseases. Report of the joint WHO/FAO expert consultation. [Online]. Acceded: 20 June 2019