I had a great question from one of my readers recently, and wanted to share the answer with everyone:
How to eat a healthy diet
One of the most important things you can do, when trying to eat healthier, is to make small changes, which you can stick with. So, rather than trying to change everything at once, take it step by step, accomplishing one or two goals at a time.
Something you may want to try is Goal Setting, as this is an excellent way to focus your mind on what you want to achieve. To get started try using my Goal Setting Chart, to record a few goals which are important to you right now.
Guidelines for daily healthy eating:
- Plenty of fruit and vegetables (aim for 1-2 portions of fruit, and 3-4 portions of vegetables)
- Plenty of bread, rice, potatoes, pasta and other starchy foods – choose wholegrain varieties whenever you can (5 portions)
- Some milk and dairy foods (2-3 portions)
- Some meat, fish, eggs, beans and other non-dairy sources of protein (2-3 portions)
- Just a small amount of foods and drinks high in fat and/or sugar (0-3 portions)
To find out more, check out my Series on Balanced Nutrition.
What to do if you dislike fruits and vegetables
For those who dislike most fruits and vegetables, unfortunately there is no magic pill which can take their place. Eating a variety of different coloured fruits and vegetables is essential when it comes to achieving optimum health. Without adequate intake we put our bodies at risk for certain diseases, illnesses, and possibly even vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
1) Go with what you have initially
If you already enjoy eating particular fruits and vegetables, this a good starting point. My advice would be to regularly serve the vegetables and fruits which you enjoy, and then try to increase the variety of your intake little by little. It’s important to try out new varieties as often as you can – there really are so many to choose from, you’re sure to find something you enjoy!
2) Try out new methods:
Remember, that some vegetables can be disguised in meals -
- Grate carrots or zuccini into curries or stews.
- Mash white beans into minced beef.
- Blend vegetables and add to pasta sauce.
Experiment with different styles of cooking -
- BBQ, or roasted vegetables taste very different to boiled, or steamed vegetables.
- Try eating your vegetables raw for extra variety, and crunch.
- For quick cooking options, vegetables can be microwaved in a little water.
If fresh fruits and vegetables are too expensive -
- Opt for those that are in season, as they tend to be cheaper.
- Have a selection of frozen and canned (choose low salt/sugar versions) vegetable options, as these are also acceptable.
- Keep a supply of frozen and canned (in natural juices) fruit for quick and easy desserts, or snacks.
- For lunch always try to have a salad with, or in, your sandwich, for example dark green lettuce, peppers, tomatoes, onion, cucumbers, and grated carrot etc.
- Take care with sauces, dressings, and other condiments etc as they tend to be either high in fat, sugar, and salt, or a combination of all three. Try flavouring your foods with herbs, spices, olive oil, lemon juice etc.
- For dinner try adding some mixed vegetables (fresh or frozen) to noodles/potatoes/pasta/rice dishes, and serve along with lean meat, beans, or egg dishes etc.
- Ultimately the responsibility lies with you as to what you put into your body. Therefore, if unhealthy foods are served, choose for example to eat chicken and vegetables, and opt not to have the French fries. If you still feel hungry have a slice of wholegrain bread, and a piece of fruit afterwards.
- Check out my article, A Visual View of Serving Sizes Using Everyday Items, to learn about portion sizing.
Eat well at work to help you reach your fruit and veggie portions:
- Have a piece of fruit, or fruit salad, on hand for an easy mid-morning snack
- Prepare sliced raw vegetables, as a mid-afternoon snack.
Click the next page to read more great advice if you don’t like fruit and vegetables and want to lose weight…
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