Tips For a Healthy Diet

healthy diet

A healthy diet provides the right amount of energy (in the form of calories) for your body to function properly. It includes food from all the main groups and aims to reduce levels of salt, saturated fats and industrially-produced trans-fats. It also aims to provide a range of vitamins and minerals.

Foods rich in nutrients can help protect against chronic non-communicable diseases, such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Eating a variety of foods and reducing the amounts of fat, salt and sugars in your diet are important parts of a healthy eating pattern.

Make sure you eat plenty of vegetables (3 or more servings a day) and fruits (2 or more servings). Choose dark green, red and orange varieties, and add legumes (beans, peas and lentils), low-fat milk, and whole-grain breads and cereals to your meals.

Avoid salty or sugary snacks and drinks, such as cakes, cookies and sweets. These are high in both fat and sugar. Aim to have a good supply of omega-3 fatty acids, found in oily fish and some plant oils (like olive and canola) that contain unsaturated fats. These can contribute to improved brain function and lower blood pressure.

Include lean meat, poultry and seafood in your diet. Look for cuts that are labeled as being 90% or higher lean and limit processed meats like sausages, ham and bacon. Eggs, beans and nuts are excellent sources of protein. Choose low-fat dairy products (low-fat or skim milk, yogurt, and cheese) and limit full fat versions.

Try to avoid foods containing solid fats (butter, ghee or lard) and opt for vegetable oils (like olive, canola and peanut) instead. Keep sodium intake to less than 1,500 mg per day, preferably lower.

Prepare meals at home as much as possible. It’s easier to control the amount of salt, sugar and fat in your food when you cook at home. A meal prepared at home is also likely to be lower in kilojoules than one you buy from a restaurant or takeaway store.

Try to have easy, ready-to-eat snacks and a couple of healthy meals in your freezer or fridge so that you are less likely to grab a fast-food option. Keeping things like cut-up fruit and vegetables, frozen dinners and a tin of tuna in the fridge can help. When eating out, choose grilled or baked meals and limit foods with added butter or oil. Keep in mind that children’s portions are often larger than adult ones, so you may end up eating more if your child orders the same meal as you. Also ask for low-fat or reduced-fat options on menus when ordering restaurant food. This can save you a few extra kilojoules without sacrificing taste or enjoyment.