Steps to Healthier Food Choices and What is best for you to achieve Optimal Health can be simple, the rise in popular “diets” and dieting trends has caused confusion. It has been scientifically proven that to eat a diet of fresh whole foods will provide you with numerous health benefits, such as reducing your risk of several chronic diseases and keeping your body functioning at optimal performance.
However, making major changes to your diet can sometimes seem very overwhelming. Instead of making big changes, it may be better to start with a few smaller ones. The goal plan is to choose foods that will provide you with essential vitamins, minerals, to provide energy and to support your body with its everyday functions and activities.
The Best Foods to provide your body with all of these needs are fresh, wholesome foods with as little to no processing as possible. Free from chemically derived ingredients and additives.
Beginning with –
- Reducing your intake of animal foods beginning with red meat, replacing this with lean chicken, fish, nuts, beans, and legumes. see it.
- Add more plant foods to your meal. Such as sweet potato, parsnips, cauliflower, carrots, zucchini, pumpkin, beans, peas, broccoli, kale. Also, foods such as Quinoa, Brown rice, Black rice these are great sources of nutrients, fibre, and protein. See below for further suggestions and health benefits.
Nuts are a great source of nutrition, protein, and fibre. They also aid healthy digestion. These include either roasted or raw unsalted – Cashews, Almonds, Pine Nuts, Walnuts etc.
Steps toward becoming a Vegetarian if that is your choice
It is important to remember here that the first important reason for this should always be about the food you are eating is providing a positive attribute to your health. As I have seen many vegetarians who do not make healthy choices. Eating fried foods, packaged and still heavily processed foods that are not part of a Healthy diet.
- Gradually move away from chicken or fish. If you do choose to go totally vegetarian then you could say go alternate days to begin with, including either fish or chicken in your meal. Whilst decreasing the portion size. Then you may work toward just having one or two of these meals per week, to fortnightly, monthly until you feel quite happy to eliminate them altogether.
- Eating out can be somewhat of a challenge even though many restaurants are beginning to cater for vegetarians and vegans. The menu selection for these meals still leaves a lot to be desired. Don’t be afraid to ask if you see a meal that you like but don’t want the meat part of it, then ask for the meal without the chicken or beef. This will depend a great deal as to how strict you want to become, because quite often a red meat meal will be cooked with the vegetables or rice. But you can check on this and ask.
- Be Prepared stock your fridge with plenty of vegetables and plant-based foods. Your pantry with nuts, seeds, wholegrain rice, quinoa, rice noodles and spelt pasta. This helps you to stay on track.
- You will find many of your non-dairy and vegetarian health food choices in your local health food shop and even at your local Fruit and Vegetable outlet.
- Keep processed food to a minimum because no matter how healthy it says it is!!! Still has added salt and often sugar. It is not fresh, so the nutritional value of the food has been compromised.
Find some simple, yet yummy recipes that you like and use flavours such as basil, bay leaves, thyme, mint, garlic, fennel, onion, caraway seeds, dill and many more.
Simple Suggestions to make Eating Healthy a Life plan
- Eat Slowly – how hungry you are and how much you eat is controlled by your hormones. By eating slowly this allows your hormone receptors to work efficiently recognizing when you have eaten enough. It is beneficial is preventing you from overeating. Therefore, assisting with healthy weight management. Eat slowly and chew your food thoroughly for optimal health benefits.
- Choose wholegrain foods and not refined, overly processed foods.
- Avoid baked and deep-fried foods overly processed, deep fried foods, fast foods, packaged foods are a major cause of chronic disease and obesity.
- Add Greek yoghurt or Coconut yoghurt to your diet every day. This helps with healthy digestion by improving your gut flora.
- Always go shopping with a list and a set budget – This is important and to stick to the list. It stops you buying unhealthy foods, making sure that the list only has healthy choices on it. Sticking to a budget is also a great way to keep you on track.
- Eat eggs – Eggs are a great start to the day, giving you essential protein, great energy boost. Studies have found that by having eggs for breakfast that people felt less hungry throughout the day.
- Increase your Plant Protein intake – with foods such as Kale, Sweet potato, lentil, beans, Quinoa, pumpkin seeds, roasted almonds, broccoli, spinach, goji berries and beets.
- Drink Filtered Water – 2 – 2 1/2 litres per day. It is essential for healthy kidneys, liver, brain function, nutrient transport, and detoxification.
- Bake or Roast Foods – instead of deep frying or even limit your casserole, stew forms of cooking as a great deal of nutrition is lost in these types of cooking.
- Avoid Fast Food Outlets – Fast food has become a number one culprit to obesity and disease. Outlets such as McDonalds, Hungry Jacks, KFC any deep-fried choices are going to have detrimental effects on your health. If you want a night off, choose a healthy restaurant that does take away pick-ups and meals. Examples include Chinese, Indian still avoid deep fried choices.
- Each day include: 1 – 2 pieces of fruit: 4 – 5 different vegetables: I – 2 servings of yogurt: 1 – 2 servings of green vegetables: 1 – 2 handfuls of roasted almonds and seeds.
Why Eating Whole Foods is Important
For Optimal Health aim to consume whole foods at least 80-90% of the time.
The term “whole foods” generally describes natural, unprocessed foods containing only one ingredient. These include Vegetables, lean meat, chicken, and fish that is free from harmful chemicals and purchased fresh from the supermarket or individual supplier.
When a product has been manufactured in a factory additives and chemicals are used in the manufacturing process that have been found to have harmful effects on your health.
Whole foods are what is known as nutrient-dense that provides your body with natural essential nutrients that is easier and more readily absorbed by your body for energy and repair. The calories in these foods are utilized by the body and therefore will not tend to cause a weight problem.
Most processed foods have little nutritional value and are often referred to as “empty” calories. Eating them in large amounts is linked to obesity and other diseases.