Several factors must be taken into account while planning a healthy diet. Fruits and vegetables are best sources of vitamins and minerals, while whole grains and legumes contain dietary fibre and protein. In addition, these types of foods will keep you full longer than refined grains. Legumes are also a good source of protein, making them a suitable meat substitute. These include baked beans, lentils, chickpeas, soy products, and kidney beans. Eating plenty of these types of foods will help protect you from chronic diseases.
Carbohydrates are the body’s preferred source of energy. They are found in most foods, and provide energy throughout the day. Carbohydrates come in many forms, from dried or canned to whole grain. These foods are also high in fibre and are often juiced. You can find various types of carbs in different forms, depending on their glycaemic index. A high-glycaemic index means that they are readily available and have minimal impact on your blood sugar level.
While eating, keep portions small and frequent. Eating too much can lead to overeating. To avoid a binge, choose a starter rather than an entree and share the same dish with a friend. To avoid overeating, try to eat small meals several times a day and hydrate regularly. Having easy-to-grab snacks on hand can prevent you from overeating. If you still feel hungry after eating, add some fruit or leafy vegetables to your plate.
Avoid saturated and trans fats. These fats are often found in baked goods and fried foods, but you should limit them to less than 10% of your energy intake. Industrially produced trans-fats have no nutritional value and should be avoided. Eat foods that contain unsaturated fats instead, such as olive oil and avocado. Eat foods that have lower calories and less visible fat. It’s not necessary to be overweight to eat foods rich in fat, but it’s important to make sure you are eating healthy.
Whole grains provide multiple benefits for your body. Eating whole grains adds 4 grams of fiber to your daily diet. Fiber also helps keep your bowel movements regular, preventing diseases such as diverticulitis and bowel cancer. Another bonus of whole grains is that they are lower in calories than processed foods. For calorie-conscious individuals, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans are a good starting point for determining calorie needs. If you are trying to lose weight, look for a diet that’s supported by research.
Once you’ve identified the unhealthy foods in your diet, you need to replace them with healthy choices. In addition to eating the right amounts of carbohydrates and protein, you should also replace animal fats with healthier fats. Switching animal fats with refined carbohydrates will not lower your risk of heart disease, nor will it improve your mood. Instead, look for foods that are rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids. Also, avoid packaged food. Many of these products contain high levels of sugar and fat.