Ancient tribes believed in the fact that nothing is truly poisonous but the excess of even something good can be poisonous. Natural and unprocessed food is good enough to ensure our good health and wellbeing.
You should eat natural, unprocessed foods that humans are genetically adapted to eating. Research shows that such foods are great for health. For healthy people who exercise and do not need to lose weight, there is absolutely no proven reason to avoid tubers like potatoes and sweet potatoes, or healthier non-gluten grains like oats and rice.
Sourced from: http://authoritynutrition.com/how-to-eat-healthy/
It is important to note that eating healthy does not only work with an individual who wants to lose weight; it can work with people who just want to live a healthy lifestyle. The following are some pointers that all healthy lifestyle enthusiasts should consider;
1.Eat In Moderation
For many of us, moderation also means eating less than we do now. But it does not mean eliminating the foods you love. Eating bacon for breakfast once a week, for example, could be considered moderation if you follow it with a healthy lunch and dinner—but not if you follow it with a box of donuts and a sausage pizza. If you eat 100 calories of chocolate one afternoon, balance it out by deducting 100 calories from your evening meal. If you are still hungry, fill up with extra vegetables.
- Try not to think of certain foods as “off-limits.” When you ban certain foods or food groups, it is natural to want those foods more, and then feel like a failure if you give in to temptation. Start by reducing portion sizes of unhealthy foods and not eating them as often. As you reduce your intake of unhealthy foods, you may find yourself craving them less or thinking of them as only occasional indulgences.
- Think smaller portions. Serving sizes have ballooned recently. When dining out, choose a starter instead of an entree, split a dish with a friend, and do not order supersized anything. At home, visual cues can help with portion sizes–you are serving of meat, fish, or chicken should be the size of a deck of cards and half a cup of mashed potato, rice, or pasta is about the size of a traditional light bulb. If you do not feel satisfied at the end of a meal, add more leafy green vegetables or round off the meal with fruit.
- Take your time. Stop eating before you feel full. It actually takes a few minutes for your brain to tell your body that it has had enough food, so eat slowly.
- Eat with others whenever possible. As well as the emotional benefits, this allows you to model healthy eating habits for your kids. Eating in front of the TV or computer often leads to mindless overeating.
2.Cut Down on your Sugar
Aside from portion size, perhaps the single biggest problem with the modern Western diet is the amount of added sugar in our food. As well as creating weight problems, too much sugar causes energy spikes and has been linked to diabetes, depression, and even an increase in suicidal behaviors in young people. Reducing the amount of candy and desserts you eat is only part of the solution as sugar is also hidden in foods such as bread, cereals, canned soups and vegetables, pasta sauce, margarine, instant mashed potatoes, frozen dinners, low-fat meals, fast food, and ketchup. Your body gets all it needs from sugar naturally occurring in food so all this added sugar just means a lot of empty calories.
- Tips for cutting down on sugar
- Slowly reduce the sugar in your diet a little at a time to give your taste buds time to adjust and wean yourself off the craving.
- Avoid sugary drinks. Try drinking sparkling water with a splash of fruit juice instead.
- Do not replace saturated fat with sugar. Many of us make the mistake of replacing healthy sources of saturated fat, such as whole milk dairy, with refined carbs or sugary foods, thinking we are making a healthier choice. Low fat does not necessarily mean healthy, especially when the fat has been replaced by added sugar to make up for loss of taste.
- Avoid processed or packaged foods like canned soups, frozen dinners, or low-fat meals that often contain hidden sugar that quickly surpasses the recommended limit.
- Be careful when eating out. Most gravy, dressings and sauces are also packed with salt and sugar, so ask for it to be served on the side.
- Eat healthier snacks. Cut down on sweet snacks such as candy, chocolate, and cakes. Instead, eat naturally sweet food such as fruit, peppers, or natural peanut butter to satisfy your sweet tooth.
- Check labels and choose low-sugar products.
3.Eat plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are low in calories and nutrient dense, which means they are packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. Focus on eating the recommended daily minimum of five servings of fruit and vegetables and it will naturally fill you up and help you cut back on unhealthy foods. A serving is half a cup of raw fruit or veg or a small apple or banana, for example. Most of us need to double the amount we currently eat.
Try to eat a rainbow of fruits and vegetables every day as deeply colored fruits and vegetables contain higher concentrations of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Add berries to breakfast cereals, eat fruit for dessert, and snack on vegetables such as carrots, snow peas, or cherry tomatoes instead of processed snack foods.
- Greens. Branch out beyond lettuce. Kale, mustard greens, broccoli, and Chinese cabbage are all packed with calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, zinc, and vitamins A, C, E, and K.
- Sweet vegetables. Naturally, sweet vegetables—such as corn, carrots, beets, sweet potatoes, yams, onions, and squash—add healthy sweetness to your meals and reduce your cravings for added sugars.
- Fruit. Fruit is a tasty, satisfying way to fill up on fiber, vitamins, and antioxidants. Berries are cancer fighting, apples provide fiber, oranges and mangos offer vitamin C, and so on.
4.Bulk up on fiber
Eating foods high in dietary fiber can help you stay regular, lower your risk for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, and help you lose weight. Depending on your age and gender, nutrition experts recommend you eat at least 21 to 38 grams of fiber per day for optimal health. Many of us are not eating half that amount.
- In general, the more natural and unprocessed the food, the higher it is in fiber.
- Good sources of fiber include whole grains, wheat cereals, barley, oatmeal, beans, and nuts, vegetables such as carrots, celery, and tomatoes, and fruits such as apples, berries, citrus fruits, and pears.
- There is no fiber in meat, dairy, or sugar. Refined or “white” foods, such as white bread, white rice, and pastries, have had all or most of their fiber removed.
- An easy way to add more fiber to your diet is to start your day with a whole grain cereal or add unprocessed wheat bran to your favorite cereal.
5.Eat More Healthy Carbs and Whole Grains
Choose healthy carbohydrates and fiber sources, especially whole grains, for long-lasting energy. Whole grains are rich in phytochemicals and antioxidants, which help to protect against coronary heart disease, certain cancers, and diabetes.
Healthy carbs (or good carbs) include whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables. Healthy carbs are digested slowly, helping you feel full longer and keeping blood sugar and insulin levels stable.
Unhealthy carbs (or bad carbs) are foods such as white flour, refined sugar, and white rice that have been stripped of all bran, fiber, and nutrients. They digest quickly and cause spikes in blood sugar levels and energy.
Tips for eating more healthy carbs
- Include a variety of whole grains in your healthy diet, including whole wheat, brown rice, millet, quinoa, and barley.
- Make sure you are really getting whole grains. Check for the Whole Grain Stamps that distinguish between partial whole grain and 100% whole grain.
- Try mixing grains as a first step to switching to whole grains. If whole grains like brown rice and whole-wheat pasta do not sound good at first, start by mixing what you normally use with the whole grains. You can gradually increase the whole grain to 100%.