Good nutrition is key to good health. A great way to improve your eating habits is to have a diet made up of plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole foods, fish and meat, nuts and seeds, whole grains and low or non-fat dairy products. Keep fatty and sugary foods low. If you enjoy chocolates, cakes and curries there’s nothing wrong with having a little of these once in a while. The following seven tips will help you improve your eating habits.
1. Eat a variety of nutrient-rich foods
Find the strong and weak points of your current diet. Do you eat a balanced diet? You need more than 40 different nutrients for good health, and no single food supplies them all. Your daily food selection should consist of a variety of foods. How much you should eat depends on your calorie needs.
2. Cut down on unhealthy fat
Try to cut down on unhealthy fat. For example, rather than frying meat, you could bake, grill or boil it. Take the skin off before eating chicken. Also, cut down on extra fat such as butter or margarine on bread and salad dressings.
3. Maintain healthy weight
The weight that is right for you depends on many factors including your sex, height, age and heredity. Excess body fat increases your chances of developing high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, some types of cancer and other illnesses. But being too thin can increase the risk of osteoporosis, menstrual irregularities and other health problems. If you are constantly losing and regaining weight, a nutritionist can help you develop sensible eating habits for successful weight management. Regular exercise is also important.
4. Eat moderate portions
If you keep reasonable food portions, it’s easier to eat the foods you want and stay healthy.
5. Eat regular meals
Skipping meals can lead to out-of-control hunger, which often results in overeating. It also becomes tempting to forget about good nutrition when you are very hungry. Snacking between meals can help curb hunger, but don’t eat so much that your snack becomes an entire meal. Also remember to snack on healthy foods such as nuts, fruits and vegetables.
6. Reduce but don’t eliminate certain foods
Most people eat for pleasure as well as curbing hunger and maintaining good health. If your favourite foods are high in fat, salt or sugar, the key is moderating how much of these foods you eat and how often you eat them. To fully understand if you are eating right, you can keep track of your food intake by writing down what you eat and drink every day. This record will help you know if you need to eat more from any food groups (such as fruits, vegetables or dairy products) or if you need to eat less from a food group (such as processed or high-fat foods).
7. Take low calorie beverages
Drink low or no calorie beverages such as water, unsweetened tea and diet soda. Sugar-sweetened drinks such as fruit juice, soft drinks, sweetened or flavoured milk and sweetened iced tea can add lots of sugar and calories to your diet. Make sure you take at least eight glasses of water daily.