Eating healthy might sound boring but in fact, it might get appetizing and fun if you know where to start. Here’s an easy guide for those who don’t know where to start but would like to learn how to improve their health by eating healthy.
Have a Balance in Your Plate
The notion that a single food is very healthy and you need to eat it all the time is wrong. Eating healthy starts with integrating balance into your nutrition. When we mention balance, we mean the balance of the macronutrients: proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.
To create a balance with the macronutrients, first, you need to understand the basic features and benefits of protein, carbohydrates, and fat.
Protein is a macronutrient that is essential to build muscle mass. Consuming protein after exercise helps the muscles to heal and prevents the loss of lean mass. Lean mass contributes to a muscular and toned appearance.
The recommended daily intake of protein is 0.8 grams per kilogram of your body weight. For example, a person who weighs 75 kilograms, should consume 60 grams of protein every day. This amount can vary if you have a very active lifestyle or doing bodybuilding.
Animal products that are rich in proteins are:
- Red meat
- Fish and seafood
- Dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt, kefir…)
You should also add some plant-based proteins to your diet to prepare balanced meals such as:
- Green peas
Carbohydrates are macronutrients that help the body to recharge and restore its fuel supply. The main purpose of carbohydrates in the diet is to provide energy. Most of them get broken down or transformed into glucose, which can be used as energy. That’s why there should be enough carbohydrates are also important macros as both pre and post-workout meals.
Mayo Clinic suggests that a person’s daily carbohydrate need is about 200-300 calories if you eat 2000 calories a day. This means that 45-65% of your daily calories should come from carbohydrates.
You should start taking notes here: The difference between whole and refined carbs is significant. In other terms, there are good carbs and not-so-good carbs.
The ones you should consume are whole carbs and they include:
- Some vegetables (sweet potatoes, corn, beetroot…)
- Fruits (bananas, apples, mangos…)
- Legumes (kidney beans, lentils…)
- Whole grains (quinoa, brown rice, oats…)
On the other hand, refined carbs that you should avoid include sugar-sweetened sodas, white bread, pasta, white rice, bakery products, candies, sugary cereals, foods and drinks with high fructose corn syrup.
Dietary fats are essential to give your body energy and support cell growth. They also help protect your organs and help keep your body warm. Fats help your body absorb some nutrients and produce important hormones, too.
For so many years, fat is cursed and banished from healthy diet plans. But today we know that “balance” is key. We definitely need some fat in our diets too. We just have to know which fat to consume.
The worst type of dietary fats that you should avoid in your diet are trans fats. Processed foods like chips, commercial cakes and cookies, microwave popcorn, frozen pizza, fried food, and margarine contain trans fats.
Instead, you can consume healthy fat coming from nuts, seeds, and fish. Healthy fats are liquid at room temperature, like olive oil or coconut oil.
Adopt a Sustainable Diet
Whether for staying fit and healthy or for losing weight, counting calories and following strict diets are never healthy and will never give you the results you want.
Instead of doing frustrating calculations, adopting a sustainable nutrition system like intermittent fasting that you can do anywhere in the world is a wise choice. Simply choose a fasting plan like 14/10, 16/8, 20/4 or other schedules. Eat according to your taste without counting calories on your eating window and fast for the rest of the time.
As intermittent fasting is not built on following diet lists, you can do it whether you’re following a vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, keto, gluten-free, paleo or any other type of diet.
Cook Your Meals At Home
Cooking your own meals brings along a ton of positive impacts on your health. You have full control over the ingredients and the portions of the meals. Eating fresh and clean food will create a great difference on your general health and weight control.
Plus, as you get used to it, cooking at home becomes more creative, fun, and relaxing, and it also helps you save a lot of money.
To make home cooking easier, doing your grocery shopping wisely gains more importance.
How to do healthy grocery shopping
- Plan what you’ll cook for the week ahead.
- Check the status of the current ingredients in your fridge and identify the shortcomings.
- Depending on how many people will eat the food you will cook, make a list of how much of each ingredient you need to buy.
- Look up the seasonal fruits and vegetables of your region and try to buy more of them. Preferably buy local products.
- Don’t go grocery shopping on an empty stomach and try to stick with your shopping list.
- Read the nutrition facts labels of the products and try to avoid ingredients like high-fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, partially hydrogenated oil, food colorings, potassium bromate, trans fats, and monosodium glutamate, etc.)
Drink Plenty of Water
Since about 70 percent of the body is made up of water, it is vital to drink plenty of it every day in order to maintain the fluid balance of the body.
Drinking water can help decrease the hunger you feel before meals. It may also increase feelings of fullness following a meal and promote weight loss. It stretches the stomach enough to send signals of fullness to the brain.
Now that you understand how vital water is, how much water you need becomes the main concern. It depends on a lot of things and varies from person to person. For adults, the general recommendation from “The U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine” is about: 11.5 cups (2.7 liters) a day for women, 15.5 cups (3.7 liters) a day for men.
You can increase your water intake with our tips, use Fasting Kompanion‘s water tracker feature to count how much water you have drunk and should drink.
To sum up
Bear in mind that switching to healthier eating choices is a process and it may take some time to adapt to it. Don’t be too hard on yourself and don’t stress it out. Always remember that stress is the primary contributor to diseases.
Implementing these steps gradually into your lifestyle will make a lasting effect on your personal health journey.