Healthy eating is not about depriving yourself of the foods you love or imposing strict dietary limitations. Instead, it is about having more energy, feeling great, stabilizing your mood, and improving your health.
Eating healthy meals does not have to be too complicated. Although some foods offer a beneficial effect on your mood, it is your overall dietary pattern that is important. Replacing processed food with real food is the cornerstone of a healthy diet.
Aim to eat foods that are as close as possible to how nature made them; this can make a big difference in the way you look, feel, and think.
Here, reputable food service companies share key steps for eating healthier at home.
1. Eat More Fruits and Veggies
Research shows that eating different fruits and vegetables will provide lots of benefits which include protection against heart disease, cancer and the effects of aging. These benefits can’t be obtained by eating great amounts of meat.Research shows that eating different fruits and vegetables will provide lots of benefits which include protection against heart disease, cancer and the effects of aging. These benefits can’t be obtained by eating great amounts of meat.
The food pyramid suggests eating a total of nine servings of fruit and vegetables. But if that seems overwhelming, you can just have one kind of fruit or vegetable with every meal.
For instance, you can add a banana to your breakfast cereal or put lettuce and tomato on the sandwich you eat for lunch. This is an easier way to get your greens without having a tally sheet.
You can also practice the 50% rule, which states that half of your plate should be covered in vegetables. This will not just help you get the right amount of nutrients, but will also help you lose some weight.
Every bite of vegetable has about 3-4 times fewer calories as opposed to a bite of some other food on your plate.
2. Eat Your Greens
These vegetables are packed with essential nutrients like zinc, iron, and magnesium that will strengthen your immune system, increase your energy levels, and clear up your skin.
3. Limit Liquid Calories
Soda is sugar water with lots of calories. Diet soda also has zero nutritional value. Fruit juice and smoothies are healthier options than soda, but have the same number of calories. Whenever you’re craving fruit juice, eat whole fruits instead.
Whole foods are high in minerals, vitamins, water, and dietary fiber, which means these will keep you full, energized, beautiful and healthy.
Go with water as your main drink since this is the healthiest choice. Health professionals recommend drinking eight glasses of water each day. However, if you’re not into drinking plain water, opt for flavored water. Unsweetened coffee and tea are excellent runners-up.
4. Choose Natural Foods
Processed foods will increase your anxiety levels, mess up your digestion, and make you gain weight. They contain artificial additives, vegetable oils, refined sugars, and artificial sweeteners that are bad for your health.
So instead of consuming processed foods, choose natural foods. This means you will be eating foods that were grown without harmful chemicals that are toxic to the human body, since pesticides are linked to cancer.
Switching to organic apples instead of the conventional ones, or whole wheat bread over white bread, can make a huge nutritional difference.
5. Try superfoods
The most perfect dish of super foods you can try is guacamole. This contains immune-boosting beta-carotene and cancer-fighting lycopene. Other super foods to include in your diet are broccoli, walnuts, blueberries, salmon and dark chocolate.
All these pack a nutritional punch, and the benefits can be enhanced further if you pair certain components together.
6. Choose Healthy Fats
Not all fats are bad for your health. The monounsaturated fat found in olive oil, avocados and walnuts is the healthiest kind of fat.
In comparison to saturated fats that clog your arteries, monounsaturated fats will help you metabolize fat. Moreover, they reduce bad cholesterol (LDL) while increasing the good kind (HDL cholesterol).
7. Snack Smart
An excellent way to tide yourself over until your next meal is to have a snack, but make sure to prepare smart choices, such as a granola bar, a whole fruit, or a small yogurt. These high-quality food products have high fiber, antioxidant, and calcium content.
Now is the time to become more mindful of what you are putting in your body. Equip yourself with basic nutritional knowledge so you can make healthier choices, from eating more fruits and vegetables to limiting your intake of processed foods.
If you are unsure about where to start, get help from food experts. They can provide you with a guide to eating healthier even with minimal effort.
Hisham Aljamil (Managing Director,Bidfood Middle East)
Hisham’s corporate career started in the UAE in late 1988; he worked for firms such as R.J. Reynolds, Danone Group, and Richemont Group across several countries in the GCC. He climbed up the ladder in roles and responsibilities to manage regions and businesses in the Middle East. In 2003, after 15 years of business experience, he took a leap of faith towards starting up something on his own. At almost 10 years in, the business has grown to cover 3 major markets with a turnover exceeding US$60 million. Hisham’s vision is to continue his regional expansion to the rest of the Middle East markets.