If the thought of going on a ‘diet’ leaves you feeling miserable rather than excited, why not ditch the idea of a strict regime that is bound to fail and try incorporating some of our top tips for cooking a healthy balanced diet you can stick to all year round?
Keeping a balanced diet is essential for a healthy lifestyle to help you look and feel better and have enough energy for day-to-day living. You can make your diet healthier with a few little changes. Here are rules to follow that will improve your diet…
Plan your meals for the week ahead
It is easier to stick to eating healthy if you have a clear plan of what to make each day and have all the ingredients ready. Write a shopping list and stick to it so you don’t end up buying packaged and processed foods or snacks. Limit eating out to no more than twice a week as you cannot control what they put into the food, take lunch to work and invite friends over rather than going to a restaurant.
Use rainbow ingredients
Aim to include as many different colours of fruits and vegetables as you can every day to ensure you are getting the full complement of vitamins, minerals and trace elements – and it will make your meals more interesting too. Try introducing two new healthy foods to your shopping trolley every week.
Eliminate ‘white’ carbohydrates
Avoid using refined and over-processed white rice, white sugar and white flour products in your meals. They are void of nutrients and damaging to health. Choose brown rice, dalia, jaggery, stevia or raw honey to sweeten food and beverages and whole grain cereal flours to make breads and rotis.
Include healthy fats
Don’t try and cut fat out of your diet to lose weight. You need fat in the diet so if you don’t eat any your body will hold on to its fat stores. Don’t use hydrogenated and refined fats and oils as these are really bad for the body. Avoid processed meats too. Healthy fats include those from oily fish (Omega 3), avocadoes, virgin coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, cold-pressed nut and seed oils like flaxseed oil and homemade ghee.
Eat enough protein
Make sure you include a good protein source for each meal. Limit red meat to twice a week but include plenty of fresh steamed, baked, poached or grilled fish. Try to source local fresh milk and eggs. For vegetarians, make sure you include adequate plant proteins like lentils, peas and beans, nuts and seeds, tofu and soy products. Combine these with plenty of vegetables and whole grains to get all the amino acids needed for a complete protein.
It is practically impossible to follow a perfectly healthy diet all of the time. Try keeping up good habits at least 80% of the time. This way you can enjoy life without being too restrictive. It’s ok just get back on track for the rest of the meals in the day.