We all know we should eat well to maintain good health, but often in the day to day, and week to week hubris of our lives, we actual forget to do this. It’s also very easy to forget why – and how – we should maintain a balanced diet. What with a rushed coffee and toast for breakfast, a sandwich on the go at work or the take-away bought on the way home for dinner – sometimes we need to take a step back and “reset” our relationship with the food we eat.
So if you’re feeling the need for a more balanced diet or realise your diet isn’t great but you don’t know where to start, keep on reading.
Back to basics
To begin, let’s review why we should try to eat a well balanced diet.
Firstly your energy levels will be enhanced, you’ll feel healthier and stronger, you will throw off those “coughs and sniffles” more easily, you’ll think more clearly, cope with stress better and have less chance of developing diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Keeping it in balance
It’s all about quality and finding a happy balance between the ease of the fast food fix and a diet containing a wide variety of mostly healthy foods. Being a Non-obsessive eater I do eat junk food because I like it, but I also balance this out with good quality greens and meats. This is the Mindful eating part of my lifestyle.
There’s a big difference between eating well and becoming obsessive about calories, portion size and ‘clean eating’. Remember that being healthy isn’t just about the way you look or how much you weigh.
All in all there are no off limit foods – except peas for me, as I cannot stand the little green balls! – but for the rest of the population, maintaining a healthy diet is often a case of how often you eat healthily and how much of this that you eat. Bottom line is not to over think it, and certainly don’t feel guilty eating that piece of cake or extra portion of cheesecake occasionally. Moderation and portion control is the key.
What is advised?
The Australian Dietary Guidelines suggest that we should enjoy a wide variety of nutritious foods from the five food groups – Grains, Vegetables and legumes, Lean and white meats, Milk products, and Fruit.
Add to this the drinking of plenty of water. Whenever you are thirsty choose water first. Treat soft drinks, energy drinks and even juices as an occasional treat. When resetting your system, you will also find that if you drink water when feeling hungry, you will often lose the feeling for a snack too.
Eat fat. Choose healthy fats found in avocados, nuts and olive oil. I also personally follow the view that saturated fats are not bad for you but this is something many are still coming to terms with. These fats are found in animal fat products such as cream, cheese, butter, full milk products and fatty meats. Certain vegetable products also have high saturated fat content, such as coconut oil and palm kernel oil
Remove the sugar from your diet. This I believe is one of the most important changes you can make. As a rough guide, the World Health Organization made the recommendation of fewer than ten teaspoons of sugar per day. Just one can of soft drink may contain this amount of sugar, so it is an important change to make.
Changing your eating habits
The important aspect of changing your eating habits is in having the right attitude and approach to eating well. To start with have a look at the overview of becoming a Mindful eater. Here are a few other tips as well from Reachout.com:
- Don’t try to change your eating habits completely right away. Make it a gradual process.
- Start with achievable goals, like having one piece of fruit every day, or adding salad or veggies to a meal.
- Experiment with various healthy foods and see which ones you like. The world’s greatest chefs know that ‘healthy’ food doesn’t mean ‘flavourless’ food.
- Allow yourself occasional treats. You’re more likely to stick with eating well if you don’t feel deprived.
Inspired to write by reading: