Healthy food choices matter if you want to live a healthy life. Paying attention to your diet can help you in many ways. Just by a careful choice of food, we can prevent many diseases, keep fit and lose weight. We need proper nutrition to be active, alert and function at optimum levels. Every person’s body is different and every person has a different calorie intake depending on their level of fitness. But there are a few basic food choices which are common to all. Read on to find out how to make healthier food choices:
Find out your nutrition needs
You can find out your particular nutrition needs based on gender, age, weight, height and activity levels from calorie tracker sites on the net, which would let you know the beverages and foods you need and track your progress. You can even ask your physician for a diet list which would be beneficial for you.
Eat food from all the food groups
You should choose food which has whole grains as the main ingredient. For example, whole wheat breads and flour are a better choice than refined white breads, croissants and biscuits. Whole grains consist of complex carbohydrates, and are high in fiber and low in fat, help in feeling full and prevent you from overeating.
Avoid instant cereals, sweets, muffins, rolls, doughnuts which are full of fat. Try eating bagels and English muffins. Wild and brown rice is better than white rice.
Vegetables and fruits are low fat and contain fiber, minerals and vitamins. Instead of fattening margarine, mayonnaise, butter and sour cream, you can choose healthy oils, yogurt and spices to season.
Avoid cream cheese and garnish with pepper, olive oil and salt.
If you like red meats, choose the lean cuts, which can be recognised by the words “loin”, “leg”, or “round” in the names. Trim the fats before cooking, and grilling, roasting, broiling, baking are healthier ways to cook these meats.
Chicken is healthier than goose and duck, as these birds have a high fat content. Chicken breasts are the healthiest as they are highest in protein and least in fats. Removing the skin and fat before cooking is more beneficial.
Fish is high in healthy fats, especially wild salmon and trout. Poach, steam, broil, bake or grill fish, instead of frying.
Lentils, peas, dry beans have protein and fiber without cholesterol and fats. These foods offer a good source of protein for vegans and vegetarians.
Choose almond, skim or soy milk and low fat cheeses and yogurt. Low fat cottage cheese and string cheese are rich in calcium and can be used in place of high fat ones. Instead of sour cream, you can use non-fat yogurt and Greek yogurt. Avoid ice-cream and try sherbets and frozen yogurts to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Fats and Oils
Many foods which are high in fats can cause diseases like heart disease, some cancers, diabetes and so on. Instead of trans fats and saturated fats, opt for oils like olive oil which can reduce cholesterol and help prevent many diseases.
Choose unprocessed foods
Foods which are close to the original form are much healthier than food which has been processed. Whole fruits are much better than processed fruit juices, chicken, meats and fish are best cooked at home than buying ready to cook meals which are packed with preservatives.
Make it easy
The way to eat healthy food is making it easily available, whether they are meals or snacks. You can take some time out in a week and make healthy broths, salads and sauces which can be frozen and used during the week.
Try new flavours
Try new vegetables and fruits or try to cook your favourite foods in new ways to get you to eat more at home.
Drink more water
Drink water instead of high calorie drinks to help you stay hydrated in a healthy way. Making a habit of keeping a bottle of water at your desk will keep you away from colas and sweetened juices.
Making healthier food choices is easy when you pay attention to what you eat. Combining that with exercise, quitting smoking and limiting alcohol would help you lead a healthy lifestyle.