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What is healthy eating and how can we achieve this?

Updated: Aug 11, 2023

Healthy eating is not just a diet; it's a lifestyle that promotes overall well-being and vitality. In a world filled with a multitude of dietary trends and conflicting information, it's important to understand the fundamental principles of healthy eating and how to incorporate these into your daily life. We will explore what healthy eating truly means and provide look at how we can achieve a balanced and nourishing diet.

  1. Embrace Whole Foods: Healthy eating revolves around consuming whole, unprocessed foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. Choose fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, nuts and seeds. These foods are rich in essential nutrients and fibre, which are all vital for overall health.

  2. Prioritise Variety: Aim to include a variety of foods from all food groups to ensure you receive a wide range of nutrients. Different foods offer different vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other bioactive compounds that contribute to your overall health. Think of having a rainbow of colours.

  3. Practise Portion Control: As previously explored, even nutrient-dense foods can contribute to weight gain if consumed in excessive amounts. Pay attention to portion sizes to avoid overeating. Using smaller plates and listening to your body's hunger and fullness cues can help with portion control.

  4. Include Lean Proteins: Proteins are essential for building and repairing tissues, supporting immune function, and maintaining muscle mass. Incorporate lean sources of protein such as poultry, fish, beans, lentils, tofu and low-fat dairy into your meals.

  5. Choose Healthy Fats: Not all fats are created equal. Choose sources of healthy fats like avocados, nuts, seeds, olive oil and fatty fish. These fats support heart health and aid in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins.

  6. Limit Added Sugars and Salt: Excess added sugars and high sodium intake have been linked to various health issues. Be mindful of hidden sugars in processed foods and go for whole, unsweetened options. Use herbs and spices to flavour your meals instead of excessive salt.

  7. Focus on Fibre: Fibre is essential for digestive health and can help you feel fuller for longer, reducing the likelihood of overeating. Whole grains, fruits, vegetables and nuts are excellent sources of dietary fibre.

  8. Keep Hydrated: Water is essential for overall health and helps with digestion, temperature regulation and nutrient transport. Choose water as your primary beverage and limit sugary drinks and excessive caffeine.

  9. Practise Mindful Eating: Pay attention to your eating habits, eat slowly and savor each bite. Mindful eating helps you recognise true hunger and fullness cues, preventing overeating.

  10. Plan and Prepare Meals: Planning your meals and snacks ahead of time can help you make healthier choices and avoid reaching for convenient, unhealthy options when hungry. Prepare meals at home whenever possible to have better control over ingredients and portions. Also this minimises the hidden added sugar and salt which ready-meals often contain.

  11. Listen to Your Body: Your body is your best guide. Pay attention to how different foods make you feel. If a particular food makes you feel energised and satisfied, include it more often. If something doesn't agree with you, consider reducing its consumption.

Healthy eating is about creating a positive and sustainable relationship with food. It's not about strict diets or deprivation but rather making informed choices that support your well-being. By incorporating whole, nutrient-dense foods, practising portion control and listening to your body, you can achieve a balanced and fulfilling approach to eating. Remember that small, gradual changes are more likely to lead to long-lasting success.

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