Healthy eating is all about eating plenty of fresh and minimum processed foods. It must be eaten in a way that it fits your dietary requirements, lifestyle and budget. One should be motivated to encourage their loved ones to eat well to maintain their health.
Eating healthy is a pattern or forming a habit. It is how you eat over a period of time… days, weeks and even months. The simple steps in this routine is to eat a diet that’s naturally low in sugar, salt and saturated and trans fats.
Vegetables and legumes are one of the best food groups to reduce weight gain and heart disease. They are wonderful way of getting good minerals, nutrients and much fibre. It is recommended to eat at least five serves per day from this food group. One serve equates to half a cup of cooked vegetables, half cup of legumes, one cup of raw vegetables, half a medium starchy vegetable and one medium tomato.
It is also important to eat your rainbow of vegetables to be sure to that you are getting the most nutritional benefit. You should be eating vegetables by their types to ensure you get as much variety as possible. The vegetable types are dark green such as spinach, broccoli; root vegetables like carrots, taro, legumes and beans like red kidney beans, chickpeas; as well as other variants such as eggplant, pumpkin.
Fruit, vegetables and wholegrain foods are high in fibre, vitamins and minerals. Eating plenty of this group of foods consistently helps people with having healthier hearts. Research shows there is a link between eating fruit, vegetables and wholegrain and having a lower risk of heart disease.
The easy way to stay healthy is to eat plenty of fruit, vegetables and wholegrains. Less than 10% of Australians eat the recommended amount of fruit and vegetables and less than a third of us eat the recommended serve of wholegrain.
Fruit and vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and contain lots of fibre. A diet full of a variety of fruits and vegetables can help protect against heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers.
Healthy eating includes a variety of healthy protein sources, especially seafood, fish, nuts, seeds and legumes. Small quantity of eggs and lean poultry may be included in your healthy eating pattern. If you are choosing red meat, ensure the meat is lean and limit it to 1 to 3 meals a week.
Protein foods are good sources of macro and micronutrients such as iron, zinc, vitamins especially the vitamin B group. It’s made up of amino acids and plays a vital role in repairing and building bones and muscles in our bodies. Eating a diverse range of healthy proteins gives your body other important nutrients.
Unflavoured milk, yoghurt, and cheese are important sources of calcium, protein and other vitamins and minerals. Therefore, these foods should be part of your healthy eating pattern. However, people with high blood cholesterol should choose reduced fat varieties.
Unflavoured milk yoghurt and cheese are healthy snack choices in preference to discretionary foods. They can contribute to healthy meals when eaten with fruit, vegetables and wholegrains.
Using nuts, avocados, olives, seeds and their oils for cooking may reduce health risks. Unsalted nuts and seeds contribute unsaturated fats such as omega-3 and omega-6 to our diets. These include nuts, linseed, chia and avocados.
The same goes for cooking oils made from plants or seeds like olive, canola, peanut, sunflower, soybean, rice bran, sesame and safflower.
These types of fats help to reduce ‘bad’ cholesterol (LDL) and increase ‘good’ cholesterol (HDL), reducing the risk of heart disease.
Choose herbs and spices to flavour foods rather than adding salt when cooking. Salt consumption in Australia is approximately nine grams per day on average. The recommended to consume is less than five grams a day. A diet high in salt increases your risk of hypertension and heart disease. A healthy eating pattern, based on the previous four principles, will be naturally lower in salt.
Drink water every day. Water is the best drink to choose. It’s economical, quenches your thirst and has no kilojoules.