Tips For a Healthy Diet

healthy diet

A healthy diet means choosing a wide range of foods from each of the 5 food groups, in the amounts recommended, to help promote health and prevent disease. It is important to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables as these are a good source of vitamins, minerals and fibre. It is also essential to eat a variety of protein, calcium and fat-containing foods to ensure you get the nutrients your body needs to stay healthy and strong.

Fill half your plate with vegetables and fruit at every meal and snack. These are rich in fibre and have a low calorie count to help you feel fuller for longer. Include a variety of colourful fruits and vegetables such as carrots, celery, beetroots, broccoli, beans, spinach, peaches, sweet potatoes and yams.

Vegetables and fruits are also an excellent source of antioxidants that can help protect against diseases such as heart disease, cancer and cataracts. They can also help keep you regular by regulating blood sugar levels and preventing cravings for sweet, fatty or savoury foods.

Limit your intake of saturated fats (fatty foods containing more than a moderate amount of fat) to keep blood cholesterol levels in check and reduce the risk of developing heart disease and other cardiovascular conditions. Saturated fats are usually found in red meat, hot dogs, poultry and processed meats such as burgers and pizzas, and also in full-fat dairy products such as cheese and butter.

Be sure to eat a moderate amount of protein-rich foods such as fish, shellfish, eggs, lean meats including wild game, lower fat milk, low fat yogurts, and reduced sodium cheeses. These foods provide protein to help build and maintain muscles, bones and skin.

Cut back on fried foods, which are high in saturated fats and sodium. Instead, use healthier methods of cooking such as grilling, roasting and steaming to reduce the amount of fat in your meals.

Choose lower fat versions of dairy foods such as semi-skimmed 1% or skimmed milk, low fat hard cheeses and low fat, low sugar yoghurt to provide your body with the necessary vitamins and minerals to stay healthy. Avoid flavoured yoghurts as they can be high in sugar, and opt for natural or Greek varieties.

Getting adequate physical activity is another component of a healthy lifestyle, helping to maintain or achieve a healthy weight, promote muscle development and improve bone health. It is recommended that adults engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity each day.

Encourage children to eat a range of fruits and vegetables. Make it fun to eat healthy by teaching them how to cook and serve their food, making recipes that appeal to their tastes, and sharing meals together.

Offer healthy snacks like fresh fruit, whole-grain crackers, low-fat yogurt and peanut butter. Stocking healthy drinks, such as water and herbal tea, can help children avoid the temptation of unhealthy snacks.

Eating a healthy diet isn’t about counting calories or macronutrients; it’s about eating well to be healthier and feel your best. If you find it challenging to create a balanced diet, contact your dietitian who can help guide you towards a healthy lifestyle and reduce your risk of disease.