A healthy diet can help you avoid a number of chronic diseases. It can also help you maintain a healthy weight and feel better. A healthy diet includes a wide variety of foods from all the food groups and should be balanced to ensure that you get all the nutrients your body needs to stay healthy.
The best way to achieve a healthy diet is to make simple changes that can be sustained over time. The key is to eat smaller meals throughout the day with snacks between each meal to keep blood sugar levels stable and prevent cravings for unhealthy foods.
Fill your plate with lots of fruit, vegetables, legumes and whole grains to provide your body with all the nutrients it needs. Add protein to this group by eating meat, fish or poultry at least twice a week.
Cut out saturated fat by limiting your intake of butter, lard and other sources of high-fat dairy. You should also eat more unsaturated fats and oils, such as vegetable oils and avocados.
Count your calories by keeping track of the portion sizes you eat in each of your meals and snacks. If you need to eat more to reach your daily calorie limit, make sure to choose smaller servings of healthy foods and drink more water than you would normally.
Be aware of added sugars in your diet, including those found in sweetened drinks, cereals, snacks and processed foods such as cakes and cookies. Be sure to read the ingredient list for the best information about the food you are buying and choose products with less sugar or no added sugar at all.
Vegetables and fruits are a good source of vitamins, minerals and fibre. They contain important compounds called phytochemicals, which are known to promote a healthy immune system and help to prevent cancer and heart disease.
Try to eat more vegetables with every meal and snack. Use a lot of different colors to make your plate more interesting, from colorful broccoli and cauliflower to red and green bell peppers, yams, carrots and winter squash.
Mix up your veggies by trying new ways to cook them, such as grilling, boiling, sautéing or roasting. You may be surprised by how much you like these healthy alternatives.
Veggies are an excellent source of fiber, which can help to keep you feeling full and prevent overeating at meals. It can also help to lower cholesterol, control blood sugar and aid in weight loss.
Vegetables are also a good source of minerals and vitamins, including potassium, calcium and iron. You should aim to eat at least five servings of vegetables a day, and add more if possible.
Beans, chickpeas and lentils are all great sources of protein. They can be eaten alone, or incorporated into soups and grain dishes such as rice, quinoa and couscous.
Legumes are another good source of protein, especially when they are cooked or roasted. They can be used as a substitute for meat in many recipes and can add flavour to your meals.