Your decision to create a healthier eating pattern than before can be life-changing. It is because making some changes on your unwanted dietary habits can lead to a healthier lifestyle, lower risk of diseases, and proper weight management. But the question is, how should you start? You might want to begin your journey towards developing a good eating pattern by keeping in mind these key healthy eating principles:
- Focus on fruits and veggies – Your daily diet should consist largely of fruits and vegetables to reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, cancer, obesity and cardiovascular diseases (stroke and heart disease). One advantage of fruit and vegetables is that most varieties are low in calories. Unlike foods high in calories, fat and sugar, such as those processed industrially, fruits and vegetables can prevent overweight and obesity. These foods increase the feeling of satiety at a relatively low number of calories. Regular consumption can also reduce the risk of insulin resistance and diabetes due to the high fibre and nutrient content.
- Stay away from processed foods – An important step towards a healthier diet is the omission of processed foods. Meat products, for example, are not good for you, because some ingredients promote the development of colon cancer or other cancers. Excessive consumption of processed foods can lead to obesity, as you consume many calories until saturation with only a small amount of nutrients. Processed foods you should avoid include sausage, ham, corned beef, hotdogs, canned meat, canned dishes and meat-based preparations. Fresh fruit and vegetables offer an enormous variety of recipes, so you won’t miss convenience meals after a while.
- Reduce sugar intake – Many people consume too much sugar every day. The constant intake of sugary foods can lead to serious health problems and cause diabetes or obesity. You should reduce your daily consumption of sugar by avoiding the most common sources of unhealthy sugar. These include sodas, sports and energy drinks, sweets, milk desserts, fruit drinks, cakes and biscuits. You can still enjoy these products occasionally, but make sure you do it in moderation.
- Conscious portion eating – Another important principle that supports good eating behaviour is eating in portions. Eat slowly and in smaller portions, both at home and in your free time. Avoid ordering oversized meals in restaurants and enjoy your meals. This will get you used to getting satisfied from smaller portions and fewer calories. It will do your body, your stomach and your metabolism good! A useful strategy is also to visualize the maximum portion size of food. If possible, each serving of chicken, fish or meat should be exactly the same size as a deck of cards. If you eat pasta, rice or mashed potatoes, only take about half a cup. Serve your meals in small plates or bowls to avoid overfilling your plate.
- Stick to your eating schedule – Avoid skipping or postponing your meals. Make sure you eat your meals and snacks according to a fixed schedule. Keeping a regular meal plan is a big help in ensuring that your digestive system stays in top shape. Irregular eating can cause your stomach to become overwhelmed. This can lead to indigestion and flatulence. In addition, there is an increased risk of overeating or eating unhealthy snacks. It is best to eat every three to five hours to allow your stomach to digest the food properly. This is healthier in the long run and reduces the risk of weight gain.
- Drink enough water – The right supply of water is just as important as healthy food. Water is important for hydration. It contains no calories and at the same time has many health benefits. In addition, drinking a glass of water about thirty minutes before a meal can help you get full faster. This reduces the likelihood of overeating and over-calorie intake. Another advantage of correct hydration is that you are less tired and more efficient because the entire metabolism works better. In addition, sufficient hydration promotes health and well-being in general and can prevent the formation of kidney stones.
Contrary to what many people believe, it is not so difficult to develop healthy eating habits. Internalize the above aspects and adapt your diet to your personal and cultural preferences. This will increase your chances that a healthy life will be fun – and tasty – for a long time to come.