Developing better eating habits is essential to good health. Ensuring we have the right nutrients helps our bodies repair and grow, as well as lowering our risks of chronic diseases, and improving our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. Here are some handy tips on how to improve your diet...
Over the decades, not only has the amount of processed foods we consume increased, but so have our meal sizes. Take notice of the size of the portions on your plate. Also, aim to cover your plate with 50% vegetables, 20% protein, 20% starchy veges, beans and grains, and 10% healthy fats.
Prepare your own meals fresh so you know what's going into them. Understanding the nutrients and calories in food is important, and can help us make good decisions.
For example, if you're clued up, you'll know that the equivalent of one cup of rice is the same as three to four cups of broccoli, but with just a quarter of the nutritional value.
When shopping for groceries, aim to get the bulk of your food from the outside aisles. The processed and packaged foods tend to fill the middle sections, so if you want the most nutritious foods – like fresh fruit, vegetables and lean meats – keep to the edges of the supermarket. Your body will thank you for it!
If we consciously reduce the amount of white carbohydrates (particularly sugars) we are having in our diets, our blood sugar levels will have fewer spikes. When we cut down on processed goods, we see far fewer fluctuations in energy, mood and hunger. Try swapping out sugar-laden cereal in the morning with eggs or have your favourite stir-fry with extra veges rather than rice.
We all know we need our essential vitamins and minerals, but there's a large proportion of the population who are deficient in them. Many people suffer from deficiencies that can be improved by increasing hydration. To prevent low-level dehydration, increase the amount of foods rich in vitamins and minerals (like fruit and vegetables), eat more protein-rich foods (especially for people with low appetites) and take in more essential fats (like fish, fish oils, nuts and olive oils).
Typically, food full of colour is nutrient-dense and low in calories. This means that by eating a rainbow of foods, we are taking on the vitamins, good fats, proteins, fibre and minerals that nourish our bodies, while also avoiding empty calories that provide no nutritional value.
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