Want to create a healthy diet that promotes good health and helps lose weight? These tips will help you do so.
A healthy diet is something we all want. It has numerous benefits: improved health and energy levels, losing weight, prolonged life span, and more. Continue reading to know how you can make healthier food choices and create a healthy diet plan.
A Healthy Diet
Let’s start with determining what we are looking for. The phrase “making healthy food choices” means creating a healthy diet that’s balanced and has all the nutritional elements in sufficient amounts. It’s not about losing weight or staying thin. Nor does it refer to eating whatever you want without thinking.
This is where most people get confused or face difficulties deciding what to do. It’s not that complicated, even if you are a picky eater. You just need to be mindful of what and how much you eat. Food shouldn’t just be something to fill you up; it should provide all the nutrition your body needs. This is not something you can achieve in one day. The best way is to take small steps at a time.
If you succeed, you will notice significant changes in how you look and feel. A healthy diet plan should boost your energy levels, lift up your mood, and improve your overall performance. Be sure to consider if what you are adding is whey protein dairy as an option as well.
To make things easier for you, we have listed what you should look for and what you should avoid in each category.
Many people tend to shy away from grains. The reason is often a fear of carbs. There is a misconception that carbs are bad for you and eating them will make you gain weight. This is not the complete truth. Carbs are not bad for you. In fact, they are essential for our bodies. Carbs should be the main source of energy in a balanced diet.
Carbs break down into glucose in the digestion process. Glucose is a form of simple sugar. It dissolves into the blood and gives instant energy. Glucose is the only form of food that our brain absorbs. That’s exactly why it is suggested that your diet consists of about thirty percent grains. There are a few things you should keep in mind while choosing your carbs or grains.
Before buying a product, check the ingredient list. Always choose products that have whole grains listed as the top ingredient. For instance, whole wheat flour, whole grain cereals, whole wheat biscuits, etc. tend to keep you full for longer and prevent overeating. This is because they are rich in fiber and contain complex carbohydrates. However, they are low in fat.
Try to avoid products that are refined. Refined grains or flour tend to lose most of their nutrients. So make sure to read the list carefully.
Protein is said to be the king of nutrients. It can be sourced from animals and vegetables. People who depend more on animal-sourced proteins tend to have more health problems. These problems can even lead to fatal illnesses and early deaths. That’s why it is suggested that you eat less meat and source most of your protein from plant-based proteins. If you do get meat, go for lean cuts.
Always make sure to look for low-fat and lean cut options when you are shopping. If you are not sure how to identify them, just read the label. Lean meats will have “loin” or “round” in their name. Even if you get these cuts, they might have some fat around them sometimes. In that case, trimming is the best option. Just use a sharp knife to cut away the outside fat. Anything that is on the outside surface of the cut is separable.
Chicken is a great option here. Chicken breasts especially. Chicken breasts tend to be very low in fat but high in protein. That’s exactly what we want. However, it is essential that you remove all the skin and visible fat. This negates the low-fat benefits. Chicken skin and fat are fairly easy to remove.
As for cooking, grilling, baking, broiling, and roasting are the best options for both red meat and poultry. They are the healthiest methods since they do not add extra fat. You can even pan broil or stir fry occasionally. But avoiding butter or margarine is a must. You can use a nonstick pan and cooking spray instead. This will make sure the meat doesn’t stick to the pan and cooks perfectly.
Fish is a great source of protein too. It is not something many people are comfortable with, though it contains a lot of nutrients, including protein. Along with that, it is rich in healthy fats, fatty acids, and omega 3 and 6. It’s hard to find so many essential nutrients in one food. You might even call it a superfood.
Fish is also known for improving eyesight. Fatty fish is especially healthy, so try to incorporate it into your diet at least two times a week. Getting fresh fish is important as well. Otherwise, you won’t get the full taste, nor will the nutrients be the same. A good way to identify fresh fish is to touch it. It should have firm and springy flesh and an almost clear appearance. The smell says a lot about freshness as well.
Getting your hands on fresh fish is not easy in many parts of the world. If that is the case where you live, look for good quality frozen fish. Ones that are sourced naturally and processed immediately are the best ones to get. Again for cooking, there are many ways you can do it. Grilling, baking, broiling, steaming, and poaching are the best options. Try to stick to these. You can pan-fry it occasionally but be sure to use cooking spray instead of butter.
Sourcing protein is not just limited to animals. If you are vegan or vegetarian, you can still fulfill your protein needs through plant-based protein sources. Protein is present in most vegetables though in smaller quantities. However, grains, beans, nuts, and seeds have a decent amount of protein in them.
Lentils, chickpeas, almonds, spirulina, peanuts, quinoa, oats, and tofu are the best options. They are rich in protein and low in fat. Because they are plant-based proteins, they offer many good nutrients along with protein, such as fibers, omega 3 and 6, and fatty acids. The fibers keep our digestive system clean and help us lose weight.
Another good thing about plant-based proteins is that they are free of cholesterol, which can be very harmful. Especially low-density lipids, a form of cholesterol, can cause high blood pressure and coronary disease. Even though red meat is high in protein, it has a lot of cholesterol in it too. That’s not the case with plant-based proteins.
Even if you are not vegetarian or vegan, you should still try to balance between plant-based and animal-based proteins. Don’t just rely on animal-based ones. It’s not hard to incorporate plant-based proteins into your diet. You can have nuts like peanuts, almonds, cashews, walnuts, or a mix as your mid-day snack. For chicken or meat, you can swap it with tofu or soya-based meat in your curries or grills.
Fats and Oils
Fats and oils used to be considered enemies by health-conscious people around the world. Many people still live in this misconception and try to abstain from fats for fear of gaining weight. This is only half of the truth. Consuming saturated fats is harmful; however, good fats are essential for health.
Fats are an important part of a balanced diet. They keep our bodies healthy and energetic. In fact, there is no way we can do without them. Some vitamins like vitamin A, D, and E are oil-soluble vitamins. This means even if you consume these vitamins, your body won’t be able to absorb them unless you consume enough fats and oil.
It is essential that you include enough good fats and oils in your diet. Good fat refers to those that are plant-derived such as fruit or seed oils like sunflower oil, canola oil, olive oil, rice bran oil, peanut oil, almond oil corn oil, and soy oil. Most fruits and vegetables have a very small amount of fat in them too. Fatty fish is a good source of fat as well as fulfilling your need for protein.
You will want to avoid saturated and refined fats and some animal fats as much as possible. It’s best if you cut them out completely since they can cause coronary diseases, high blood pressure, cancer, and diabetes. They are also a contributing factor in stroke and early deaths. Animal diverted fats are known for increasing cholesterol. So make sure to check the ingredients thoroughly. Stay away from products that contain saturated fats.
To Sum Up
Converting to a healthy lifestyle is not something you can achieve in a short span of time. It is about choosing the healthiest options every single day. It takes time and patience, but it’s worth the effort because it will safeguard you from diseases like obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and many other health issues.