When it comes to healthy eating, myths and misconceptions abound. But the basics of eating right really don’t change. This is why it is of cardinal importance to know the 10 golden rules to healthy eating and living.
- Load your plate with vegetables
On one side of the plate, put crunchy vegetables like broccoli, green beans, kale, cucumbers or carrots. On the other side of the plate, put whole grains in one quarter and a portion of healthy protein in the other.
- Know which fluids to consume
We all know the importance of drinking plenty of fluids to stop us getting dehydrated. As a general rule, it is recommended for an adult to drink at least 6-8 glasses a day.Try to avoid sugary soft and fizzy drinks that are high in added sugars and calories. Even unsweetened fruit juice and smoothies are high in free sugar. Water is the healthiest drink on the planet, period.If you want to have a flavoured drink, make lemonade using fresh lemons, or drink tea, or water flavoured with fresh fruit and vegetables.
- Forget salt and sugar
One of the reasons why some foods are so unhealthy for you is because of the excess salt and sugar.Putting down the salt shaker and skipping sugar in your coffee is a step in the right direction. If you can’t live without salt and sugar, at least try to season your food with salt and sugar yourself so that you can control the amount.You will find that you spend less time worrying about food, and will enjoy what you are eating more too.
- Don’t just focus on the calories
It is worth noting that not all calories are created equal. Eat the right amount of calories for how active you are, so that you balance the energy you consume with the energy you use.Focus on healthy, nutrient-dense foods that are naturally low in calories and rich in essential vitamins, minerals and fiber.It is recommended that men have around 2,500 calories a day while women should have around 2,000 calories a day.
- Know when to go out shopping for food
You know it’s a bad idea to go to the store when you’re hungry, but that’s not the only key to smarter shopping. The biggest mistake you are probably making without even realizing is browsing the aisles for inspiration, especially when you don’t know what you are looking for. Instead, always go to the grocery store with a shopping list well prepared in advance.
- Cook more than eating out
One of the best ways to eat healthier is to cook your own food as you will have full control on what goes into your food. As previously discussed, you will be able to season your food with salt and sugar yourself so that you can control the amount. All in all, you will not be using chemicals, bad food and other unhealthy additives.
- Buy organic food whenever possible
Deciding whether to buy organic food can be a dilemma mainly because it is frequently more expensive than standard versions, and not everyone can afford to buy it all the time. If you are unsure of what fruits and vegetables contain the highest amount of pesticide residue, then consider the following rule: if you are about to eat the skin of the fruit or vegetable, then purchase organic. If you are going to peel or remove the skin of the vegetable or fruit, then purchase non-organic. When it comes to meat, try to always buy organic. Purchase organic chicken and eggs. This means that the chickens will be fed a natural, organic and GM free diet.
- Eat more fish
Fish is a good source of protein and contains many vitamins and minerals which are ideal for a healthy eating and living. If you regularly eat a lot of fish, try to choose as wide a variety as possible – salmon, trout, sardines or pilchards.
- Say goodbye to junk food
If you have to eat junk food, buy all the ingredients in their natural form and prepare it at home. You need to forget everything else.
- Enjoy your food
Eating healthy does not mean you are on a strict diet. Instead, work toward a lifestyle built on healthy choices that are going to work for the long-term. Food should be something you relish and that nourishes you!