Eating healthy should be a way of life and not just a whim-fulfilling prophecy. Why is it important to have healthy food? Well, let's just say that if you care for your health and love your body, it should be a prerequisite to a healthy living plan. A lot depends on the kind of food that we eat. A healthy diet has a direct effect on our weight and general health, and many diseases can also be curbed by sticking to a healthy and balanced diet. However, many people might be confused about what 'healthy' is and how to start eating the right way. The following article shall try and answer all these questions and supply you with some pointers on how to go about doing that and stick to it (which is more important).
Easy Ways to Start Eating Healthy
The word healthy usually replicates an image of salads and bland greens, bitter juices, and the like. First of, that is not what healthy is. Healthy, according to me, means something that does not tax our system, it is in fact good for it and helps in maintaining our good health and expending energy throughout. Here are some tips on how to choose healthy food.
General Understanding of Food
There is so much variety of food types available today that many times we are left confused about what to eat. The variety is not necessarily always healthy - there's processed foods and junk foods mixed with healthy foods and therefore the choice becomes difficult. That is why it is important to know the variety of foods that can harm you. Some of these include processed foods, high sugar foods, added color agents, preservatives and oily foods as opposed to the foods that are good for you - Basic food groups, whole wheat, and natural foods.
This is just a very broad frame of putting things. For things to really fall into place, buy one of those food pyramid or food guide charts or make one if you have the time and interest. These will describe the different food groups and what foods they would include. Now stick this chart up in the kitchen so that you become well aware of what the different foods are. This will make it easier for meal planning and deciding your meals beforehand.
When to Eat What
Great confusion! That's what it is? Not at all! Just understand this basic concept when planning your meals and you won't find it an ordeal anymore. Plan your meals such that you include these pointers:
- Breakfast (very, very important!)
- Mid snack
- Mid snack
- Soup/Salad (Optional)
For lunch, make sure to include all the basic food groups (refer to the chart) and concentrate on whole wheat and green leafy vegetables. Avoid extra spicy and oily foods.
Your dinner should preferably be light and if possible, try and have your dinner before 7pm. After 7, the digestive system becomes sluggish and will not be able to break down and digest the food effectively. If you eat heavy meals after 7, you are taxing your digestive system. If this happens, then you will begin to see results in the way of bloating and weight gain. Dinner should contain only one main dish like chicken or fish instead of 4-5 choices. Most preferably have these grilled or roasted instead of fried and with heavy sauces. If you have your dinner by 7 but you only sleep by 11-11.30, then you'll probably feel hungry again at 9-9.30 pm. That is when you have a soup (vegetable or mushroom not 'cream') or a salad. This will not tax your system. Just make sure that you have eaten at least two hours before sleeping, or else the food won't be digested.
The Mid Snacks
Why is it necessary to have mid snacks? Let's understand the theory behind this first. It is ideal when you have 5-6 small meals per day as opposed to 3 huge ones. This does not tax your system and you get the maximum benefits out of the food. The mid snacks therefore become necessary because the portion of the food that you consume during your breakfast, lunch and dinner is lessened due to the fact that you're having mid snacks. As a rule, every meal should have a 2-2 ½ hour gap between the previous and the next. And consciously try to consume less portions of food because you will any way be having mid snacks. Mid snacks is not like a meal. It is a snack, so include things like half a cube of cheese, tender coconut, a glass of milk, cucumber, tomato or sprouts, chickpeas and nuts. All of these are absolutely healthy foods. Do not fool yourself with the idea that chips or patties etc is considered healthy eating or a healthy snack, because it is not.
- You're probably not willing to give up on the other foods that are not considered healthy. You can have them, but you need to know when. Once you know that they're not healthy for you, that should be a deterrent by itself. But if you do want to give in to temptation sometimes, just make sure that you have them early in the morning or right after an hour of exercising and only once a week! These are the times that it won't have a negative effect on your body and one should keep this in mind especially if one is on a drive to losing weight.
- Go in for a detox once very 15 days for a complete cleanse of your system. But be very careful about this, please research before doing anything!
- Eating healthy is just one section of good health. Health also depends on your lifestyle, so help your health by doing some form of exercise, sleeping and eating on time and refraining from drinking and smoking.
- Try not to mix food types. If you're having rice on a particular day, then don't have rolls and vice versa.
- Have a lot of water! And hot water if possible. Avoid drinking cold water with your meals as this hampers the process of breaking down food and causes varied degrees of digestive problems.
I hope I've been able to at least give you the general idea of a healthy diet and how to start eating healthy. So make the most of it and live the only way you're supposed to - healthy and hearty.