National Nutrition Month: Simple Tips for a Healthy Diet
It’s always the right time to pay attention to what we’re eating. With March being National Nutrition Month, though, there’s no better time to consider some simple tips that we can all take to maintain a healthy diet. For many people, eating healthy seems like too big of a change to make. The key to success is to make small, incremental changes. In this article, we present a range of healthy habits and nutrition tips that you can build into your eating plan.
- Healthy Diet Plan
- Healthy Fats
- Green Foods
- Prioritize Protein
- Cooking By Steam
- Get Out of the Snacking Habit
Healthy Diet Plan
There are seven essential nutrients that sustain human life: water, protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. A healthy diet should include a balanced intake of all of these. Both excesses and deficiencies can be harmful to the body’s health and efficiency. For example, not eating enough fruit and vegetables can lead to a possible deficiency of some vitamins and minerals.
Water is the body’s most basic nutrient. It is needed for nearly every function. Without it you will die in just a few days. It is important not to ignore thirst. Some people try to lose weight by reducing fluid intake, but this can be dangerous.
As a general guide, you should drink eight glasses of water daily. The body also gets water from food such as milk, eggs, meat, vegetables, and fruit.
Fat is stored in the body as potential energy and is used as insulation for the body’s organs. Fat also helps the body to release hormones and to absorb some vitamins.
Fat should represent about 30 percent of the diet, but most people eat much more. There are two main types of fats: saturated (such as butter) and unsaturated (such as vegetable oil). Foods very high in fat, such as fast foods, fried foods, and some snacks should be limited.
Focus on consuming such healthy fats as nuts, avocado, fatty fish, and such vegetable oils as canola, olive, sunflower, and soy.
Fiber is a form of carbohydrate that is important for general health. There are two types: soluble and insoluble. Insoluble fiber helps the digestive process; it can help prevent hemorrhoids and constipation and may also help to protect against cancer of the lower bowel.
Good sources of insoluble fiber include wheat, rice, bran, wholegrain cereals, nuts, and prunes.
Soluble fiber is believed to help reduce cholesterol, and thus help prevent heart and arterial disease. It is found in oats, peas, beans, root vegetables, and citrus fruits.
Healthy carbohydrates, mainly in the form of green foods and other vegetables and fruits, provide fuel to meet your energy needs. By eating a wide range of vegetables of all colors you will be getting a variety of minerals. Minerals are vital to a huge range of bodily processes, including the production of energy and the maintenance of organs, muscles, and bones. They are also involved in bodily reflexes and reactions.
Make it your goal to eat 3 or more servings of vegetables per day, including those that are dark green, red, and orange. You should also eat 2 or more servings of fruit per day.
Bananas are a healthy choice if you crave something sweet. Although they are higher in calories than other fruits, they are also high in starchy carbs and fiber, This makes them more filling. Bananas also provide important vitamins and minerals including potassium, zinc, folic acid, and calcium.
Protein is formed from amino acids. It is essential for the growth and maintenance of body tissue, blood cells, hormones, and enzymes. Protein is found in meat, poultry, fish, milk, cheese eggs, and vegetables such as legumes, grains, seeds, and nuts.
As well as helping you to maintain and build muscle, protein can also help you to lose weight. It is the most satiating of the three macronutrients, meaning that it fills you up the most. It also has the highest thermic rate so it takes more energy in the form of calories to digest than fats or carbohydrates.
Protein is especially important for growing children. Between the ages of one and three, they need more than twice the amount of protein in relation to their size as an adult does. The amount needed decreases as the child gets older, but children between seven and ten still need a third more total intake of protein in relation to their size than an adult.
Build your meals around protein, with a fist sized serving of protein at each meal. You should consume between 0.7 and 1.0 grams of protein per pound of body weight, depending on whether you want to maintain or gain muscular bodyweight.
Cooking By Steam
One of the best healthy eating tips I received was to steam my vegetables rather than boiling them. Steaming vegetables ensures that more vitamins are retained. Spread the raw vegetables out in the steamer to allow them to cook evenly. Be careful not to oversteam them or they will become soggy and unappetizing.
Get Out of the Snacking Habit
If you tend to be obsessed with food and find it hard to stick to three meals per day without snacking, apply these tips …
- Don’t eat on the move or while watching TV. Always sit down to eat, and try to relax when you do so.
- Serve your meal on a medium sized plate, not a large one. This will make the portion look larger.
- Immediately after serving yourself, wrap up leftovers and put them in the refrigerator.
- Include unplanned healthy snacks in your diet – a piece of fruit, a low fat yogurt or a milk drink.
- Eat your meals at the same time each day. You’ll find your body quickly adjusts to more regular eating habits and you will feel less inclined to eat between meals.
With March being National Nutrition month, now is the time to start making the changes that you need to to clean up your diet to make it healthier. By making small incremental changes you will be able to profoundly improve your overall healthy and well-being.
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