Tips For a Healthy Diet

A healthy diet consists of a balanced selection of foods that provide the energy and nutrients needed for good health. This includes a wide variety of foods from each food group such as fruit, vegetables, milk and yogurt, cheese, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds, fish, lean meat and poultry, eggs and healthy fats and oils. A healthy diet also helps to control blood sugar and sodium intake, reduce saturated and trans fats and promotes weight loss or maintenance. A diet low in sugar, salt and saturated fats can help prevent heart disease, high blood pressure and some cancers. Reducing the amount of salt and saturated fats consumed is especially important for older people who may already have heart problems or for those with high blood cholesterol. Added sugars should also be limited, as they contribute to obesity and can lead to tooth decay and chronic diseases such as diabetes. Eat a minimum of 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day (fresh, frozen, canned or dried). Choose unprocessed foods where possible. Limit salty processed foods, such as breads, pizza and deli meats, and eat them less often. Choose lean meats and skinless poultry, as well as fish, beans and eggs. Choose healthier fats, such as vegetable and olive oil and spreads instead of butter, lard and ghee. Try to drink water or unsweetened iced tea and coffee with or without a slice of lime, lemon or cucumber for flavour. Use natural sweeteners such as stevia or xylitol instead of sugar and avoid fizzy drinks. Choose milks and yogurts that are low in fat, such as skim or reduced fat yoghurt and look for those fortified with calcium. Read the Nutrition Facts label on packaged foods to find out how many calories and servings are in a product. Aim for fewer than 300 grams per day of total fat, including saturated and trans fats. Choose unsaturated fats such as those in vegetable oils, canola oil and avocados to increase the quantity of these in your diet. Adding vegetables to meals can make them more filling and satisfying, as they contain a lot of fibre. Steamed, grilled or stir-fried vegetables are better than fried. Add herbs and spices to dishes, rather than salt. Eat slowly and savour your food. It takes time for your brain to tell you that you are full, so take the time to eat each bite and enjoy your meal. Try to eat with others whenever possible, as eating alone tends to cause overeating. Choose the smallest portion sizes when buying foods to avoid over-eating. Avoid eating snacks and meals on the go, as they are often higher in calories. Try to do some physical activity most days of the week, as this will boost your mood and help keep you at a healthy weight.