The key principles of healthy nutrition and eating habits do not revolve around an extremely rigid diet. It does not involve blandness and deprivation. It is actually based on forming good habits and making them a vital part of your life. Once you developed the habit of eating a balanced and healthy diet, it is easier for you to maintain a healthy weight and have plenty of energy.
Your daily diet should consist of the correct number of calories. The problem is that it takes a lot of hard work to stick to a balanced and healthy diet. To make it easier and less challenging for you, let us go through the basics and the key principles of good and healthy nutrition.
Plenty of Fruits and Vegetables
One vital dietary habit that you should not neglect is consuming lots of fruits and vegetables. It is because fruits, veggies, and other plant-based food sources have high nutrition content. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, phytochemicals, and antioxidants. In fact, you may need at least 2-3 cups of vegetables every day plus a serving or two of fruits. It would be difficult for you to envision a healthy diet and nutrition if you do not take in plenty of fruits and vegetables.
With the proven importance of plant-based foods, especially fruits and veggies, to a person’s diet, it is no longer surprising to see a lot of people going the vegetarian route. Now here’s the question. Is vegetarianism really the healthiest route towards achieving the pink of health? The answer to this is actually dependent on your present health condition, daily nutritional needs, preference, and lifestyle.
Note that vegetarians decide to go this route due to several factors, like their religious convictions, health conditions, animal welfare concerns, and their preference to eat in a manner that prevents them from excessively using environmental resources. One good thing about converting into vegetarianism is that it allows you to follow a vital principle of healthy nutrition and diet, which is to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.
You can also maximize its benefits by ensuring that there is a variety in the plant-based foods that you include in your diet, like whole fruits and veggies, whole grains, nuts, and legumes. It is also crucial to lessen your intake of sugar-sweetened beverages, refined grains, and fruit juices. If you have a hard time creating a good and reliable vegetarian plan that is suitable for you then you can always seek the aid of a registered dietitian. Still, take note that whether or not the vegetarian diet works for you will depend on how you strictly follow the guidelines of the plan.
Reduced Meat Intake
Another vital principle of nutrition is reduced meat intake, which is also somewhat related to vegetarianism since it means significantly reducing your consumption of meat or fully eliminating it from your diet. A healthy diet needs to have nuts, seeds, grains, and non-starchy fruits and veggies as its mainstays. Whole grains, like brown rice and oatmeal, are essential because they can supply your body with enough fiber. This allows you to feel fuller faster while also helping your digestive system function well.
Whole grains are also rich in B-vitamins known to elevate your energy and increase your metabolism. Seeds and nuts should also form part of your daily diet because these are rich in vital nutrients, like Vitamin E. Legumes, like lentils, peanuts, soybeans, and beans, also need to be consumed regularly because of their rich fiber content. They also supply your body with high amounts of folate, iron, protein, and other essential nutrients. You may also want to replace meat with legumes if you are looking for a good source of protein as such foods can reduce your intake of saturated fat.
Lower Fat Intake
One thing that you have to constantly remind yourself of if you want to improve your health and overall nutrition is that fat contains a higher amount of calories than protein or carbs per gram. This means that if you wish to lose or maintain your weight then it is also necessary to limit your fat consumption.
However, you can’t consider all fats as negative because some of them, like the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, are actually categorized as good fats. Among the best sources of these good fats are vegetable oils, nuts, and oily fish, like herring, trout, and salmon.
What is great about these fats is that they do not elevate your blood cholesterol level. They can even lower your risk of developing cardiovascular problems. With that in mind, you should not forget to lower your fat intake if you want to stay healthy because this is actually one important basis for proper nutrition.
You can also stick to proper nutrition by watching your portions. Note that even if your diet plan only includes highly nutritious foods, it is still necessary to monitor the total amount of foods consumed. It is advisable to apply the portion eating principle if you do not want to end up consuming more than what you actually need.
The problem is when you are eating in restaurants because most of the time, the portions in this establishment are huge and rich in sodium and fat. This is the main reason why you should commit to applying the similar strategies you implement at home when you decide to eat out. Avoid viewing the dining out experience as a birthday celebration.
Look at it as a Wednesday night when you no longer have enough time to cook. Your goal is to eat healthy meals while still watching your portions to lower your risk of overeating.
Aside from the mentioned principles of proper nutrition, it is also necessary to start limiting your intake of packaged and processed foods. Shop for fresh foods, like fruits and veggies, and stay away from highly processed ones often displayed in boxes at the supermarket’s center aisles. You have to avoid processed foods and focus more on eating whole and fresh foods that are good for your health.