1. Eat varied
We need more than 40 different nutrients for good health, and no one food provides them all. It’s not about a meal in isolation, but about making balanced food choices on an ongoing basis. This will make a difference!
-You can have a lunch with a high fat content if it is accompanied by a low fat dinner.
– If you have a large portion of meat for dinner, fish may be the best option for the next day.
2. Eat lots of carbohydrate-rich foods as the basis of your diet
About half of the calories in your diet should come from foods rich in carbohydrates, such as cereals, rice, pasta, potatoes and bread. It is a good idea to include at least one of these items at every meal. Whole foods, for example in the form of bread, pasta and cereals, will increase your fiber intake.
3. Replace saturated fat with unsaturated fat
Fats are important for good health and proper body function. However, its excessive consumption can negatively affect weight and cardiovascular health. There are different types of fats, and each of them has different effects on your health. Some tips to maintain the proper balance are:
– It is advisable to restrict the consumption of saturated fats – often from foods of animal origin -, to avoid trans fats completely and to limit the total intake of fats. Check labels for origin information.
– Consuming fish two or three times a week, with at least one serving of oily fish, will help ensure adequate intake of unsaturated fats.
– When cooking, it is advisable to boil, steam or bake food, instead of frying it, in addition to removing the greasy part of the meat and using vegetable oils.
4. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are some of the most important foods for their sufficient supply of vitamins, minerals and fiber. We should try to consume at least five servings a day. For example, a glass of natural fruit juice for breakfast, perhaps an apple or a slice of watermelon between meals, and a good portion of different vegetables at each meal.
5. Reduce your intake of salt and sugar
High salt intake can increase blood pressure and the risk of coronary heart disease. You can reduce salt in your diet in several ways:
– When buying, choose products with lower sodium content.
– When cooking, substitute spices for salt, thus increasing the variety of aromas and flavors.
– When eating, avoid putting salt on the table, or at least not adding salt until you have tasted the food.
Sugar adds sweetness and an attractive flavor, but sugary foods and drinks are very caloric and moderate consumption is recommended as an occasional treat. Instead, we could use fruit, even to sweeten food and drink.
6. Eat regularly and watch portion sizes
The best formula for a healthy diet is to eat a variety of foods, regularly and in the correct amounts.
Skipping meals, especially breakfast, can lead to a feeling of uncontrolled hunger that often leads inevitably to overeating. Eating between meals can help control hunger, but these snacks should not replace main meals. As a snack, we can have a yogurt, a handful of fresh or dried fruits or vegetables – such as carrot sticks -, unsalted nuts or perhaps some bread and cheese.
If we pay attention to the size of the portions, we will avoid consuming too many calories and we will be able to eat all the foods we like, without having to do without any.
– By cooking the correct amount, it is easier not to overeat.
– Some reasonable serving sizes are 100g of meat, half a piece of fruit and half a cup of raw pasta.
– If smaller plates are used, it will be easier to eat smaller portions.
– Packaged foods with labels that show the number of calories may help control servings.
– When eating out, you can share a portion with a friend.
7. Drink lots of fluids
Adults have to drink at least 1.5 liters of liquid a day! Or more, if it is very hot or they do a lot of physical activity. Clearly, water is the best source of liquid, and it can be tap or mineral, sparkling or still, plain water, or flavored water. Fruit juices, tea, non-alcoholic drinks, milk, and other beverages may be fine, once in a while.
8. Maintain a healthy body weight
The appropriate weight for each person depends on factors such as gender, height, age and genetics. Being overweight increases your risk for a wide variety of diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
Excess body fat is the consequence of eating more than necessary. Additional calories can come from any caloric nutrient, namely protein, fat, carbohydrate or alcohol, but fat is the most concentrated source of energy. Physical activity helps us burn calories and makes us feel good. The message is reasonable and simple: if we are gaining weight, we need to eat less and be more active!
9. Get going, and make it a habit!
Physical activity is important to people, regardless of their weight and health. It helps us burn excess calories, is good for the circulatory system and heart, maintains or increases our muscle mass, helps us focus, and improves our overall well-being and health. You don’t have to be a professional athlete to get going! 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week is recommended, and you can easily integrate it into your daily routine. We could all:
– use the stairs instead of the elevator,
– take a walk on the lunch break (and stretch at the office during working hours),
– dedicate time to a family activity during the weekend.
10. Get started now! And it changes little by little.
It is easier to maintain gradual lifestyle changes than large, simultaneous changes. If we write down all the food and drinks we have throughout the day for three days and write down the amount of movement made, it will not be difficult to see what we can improve:
– Did we skip breakfast? A small bowl of muesli, a piece of bread or a piece of fruit could help us to gradually incorporate it into our routine.
– Few fruits and vegetables? To begin with, we can introduce an additional portion per day.
– Preference for foods rich in fat? If we eliminate them at once, it could take its toll on us and send us back to the old ways. Instead, we can opt for low-fat alternatives, eat them less often and in less quantity.
– Very little activity? An excellent starting point would be to take the stairs every day.