Righty-O. If you have been following us for a while, you will realise that sometimes we publish articles that go right back to basics. We do this for good reason – because we need the constant reminders. Think of it as refresher training to keep your “skills” current. As such, this is one of them. Before I proceed, here is a reminder that we wrote a whole book on it called the Strategic Nutrition Guide, which you should totally get!
Now, eating healthy is something we all would like to do although it can be hard. In order to eat healthy, you must first make the right food choices. Eating healthy is all about what you eat, which makes the choices very crucial to the result you are after. Of course, I’d estimate that about half of our readers are after “weight loss” as their measurable result. So here is a break down for each food group:
Being a vegetarian, this is the one I naturally start with. If possible, eat a wide variety of vegetables. The reason for this is because you will be hard pressed to find any specific vegetable that will give you all the vitamins and minerals that you need. In total, you should eat 2.5 cups of them each day. Mix them up with dry beans such as peas, pinto beans, and even kidney beans.
When people think of vegetables, they think about fruits as well. Personally, I’m not really a big fan, though I’m not a hater either. Current guidelines, which mention that fruits are very important, recommend the equivalent of two cups each day. Focus on eating a variety, such as fresh, frozen, canned, or even dried fruit. You can drink fruit juices as well, although you should do this in moderation as they are often high in artificial sugars.
Meat and Beans:
This is what people think about as it is the main sources of protein. Of course, as a vegetarian, I focus more on the latter. Eating five ounces a day is the ideal goal, preferably of the lean variety. When eating meat, always try to bake, grill, or broil it, as this reduces the amount of fat calories from cooking oils. You should vary your protein as well with more fish, beans, peas, and nuts.
This is what I call staples in the Strategic Nutrition Guide. It is a highly controversial one, as different “diets” advocate different amounts. As a general rule, you should consume six ounces of grains per day. To do this, you can eat three ounces of whole grain cereals, breads, rice, crackers, or pasta. You can get an ounce of grains in a single slice of bread too! You don’t need to have it perfect and can guess-timate if you need to.
Milk, in particular, is your calcium rich friend. For adults, three cups is the ideal goal per day. For kids, it will be less. When choosing milk products or yogurt, you should go for fat-free or low-fat if possible. I know that most people have an issue with the taste of skim milk, and that’s okay. Those of you who don’t like milk or can’t have it should go for lactose-free products or other sources of calcium such as fortified foods and beverages.
To reiterate the early points, try to limit fats such as butter, margarine, shortening, and lard while cooking. These may add flavour to your dishes, but also contain a whole lot of calories that may be deposited in parts of your body which you don’t want them to be. To help keep your saturated fat, trans-fats and sodium low, check the nutrition facts label on the food package.
By picking your foods wisely and watching what you eat, you’ll help control your lifestyle. Remember also that good nutrition should be paired with a healthy lifestyle with some physical activity. This is what our blog is about. No matter how old you are, eating healthily and keeping an active lifestyle will help your health in the long run.
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