The key to a healthy diet is not denying yourself any foods, but rather learning to make wise choices that nourish your body. A healthy diet can help you feel better, prevent disease, and maintain a healthy weight.
Eat Whole Grain Foods
Choose whole grain bread and pasta instead of white or refined grains, and eat a handful of nuts every day for their healthy fats, fiber, protein, and vitamins. You can also add a variety of vegetables and fruits to your meals, and serve lean cuts of meat, fish, or poultry instead of red meat.
Fill Half Your Plate With Fruits and Vegetables
Aim to have a healthy mix of fruits, vegetables, grains, and proteins at each meal or snack. Try to incorporate at least three servings of fruits per day, and fill half your plate with veggies – dark green leafy vegetables like kale, mustard greens, broccoli, and cabbage are good sources of iron, potassium, and calcium.
Veggies and fruit are also an excellent source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Many fruits also contain antioxidants that are helpful in reducing the risk of disease.
Try to avoid foods that are high in sugar and salt – these can raise blood pressure, cause inflammation and increase the risk of heart disease. Limit sugar-sweetened beverages and desserts, and stick with naturally occurring sugars found in fresh fruit and milk.
Give Kids a Chance to Try New Things
It’s important to let children experience different foods, especially healthy ones. It may take time for them to develop a taste for a vegetable, for example. But it’s worth the effort to get them to eat more fruits, veggies, and whole grains.
Be a role model and encourage them to eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Start by incorporating veggies into their favorite dishes, and then gradually expand to other foods, such as beans, legumes, and nuts.
Offer vegetables in multiple ways, such as mashed up with pasta or roasted with beef stew. Ensure they have plenty of opportunities to try new foods and be patient when they aren’t a fan.
Use the “MyPlate” as a guide for portion sizes, and focus on filling up half their plates with fruits and vegetables. Adding whole grains to meals can also boost their intake of fibre and help them stay fuller longer.
Have a Light Snack Between Meals
When it comes to snacks, it’s best to have small portions at regular intervals throughout the day. This will keep you feeling full until your next meal and stop you from overeating later on in the day.
Snacks are especially important between meals, and a light mid-morning or afternoon snack can also help you maintain a healthy weight. A healthy snack can include a piece of fruit or a serving of low-fat yogurt, or a piece of cheese and crackers.
You can also opt for a light dinner, and try to avoid eating out as much as possible. This will help you to eat more fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains while limiting junk food.