Does the talk of ‘healthy food’ bring up images of boring and bland food with dietary restrictions? Well, you will be surprised to know that healthy eating is not about deprivation or giving up the food that you love. Though there are many dieting plans that make it sound complicated, you can cut through the blah and create a nutritious meal just by making smart choices.
Our ancient wisdom has always emphasized on eating a balanced meal. It should be a combination of essential nutrients such as fats, proteins, carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and micronutrients. With just a little thought to the selection of ingredients, you can continue to enjoy all your favorite dishes with a healthy twist.
Let’s get you started with some great tips to stay healthy
1. Substitute Refined Carbs with Unrefined Carbs
Refined carbs are devoid of any fiber or nutrients. They digest quickly and cause an unhealthy spike in your blood sugar levels. You feel hungry soon after a meal and it can cause health issues like obesity, blood pressure, and diabetes. Unfortunately, all our comfort food like pizza, white bread, white rice, and sweet desserts are refined carbs. You can work around your cravings by opting for healthier options like whole-wheat bread, brown rice, wheat pizza, and jaggery or honey as a substitute for white sugar. Not only will you feel fitter, but it will also help you get rid of any stubborn belly fat.
2. Opt for High-Quality Protein
Proteins are the building block of your body. If you thought good protein was all about drinking protein shakes, munching protein bars or meat then think again. Protein shakes are not suitable for everybody and processed meat has too much salt. Reduce the use of processed carbs and meat and replace them with high-quality protein options like fish, chicken, tofu, beans, lentils, and cottage cheese. Unsalted nuts and seeds and dairy products like milk and unsweetened yogurt offer a lot of good protein benefits.
3. Choose Healthy Fat
Fat is not the villain it is thought to be. It is necessary for the absorption of nutrients and also for your brain health. The problem arises when your diet contains too much trans fats and saturated fat responsible for heart diseases. Reduce the consumption of packaged food, fried food, and red meat. Replace your hydrogenated and refined oils with cold-pressed oils like olive, canola, safflower, sunflower, and extra virgin olive oil.
4. Add More Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are dense with nutrients and very few calories. It is recommended that you eat .5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily. This will help you crave less for junk food and also pack you with essential nutrition. Get creative with greens sprinkled with nuts for your salads. Beets, yam, carrots or sweet potatoes can satisfy your sweet cravings. Grilling or pan-frying your vegetables can make them tasty and yet healthy.
5. Cut down Salt
While it imparts taste to your food, excess salt can increase your blood pressure, cause bloating and also deplete calcium in your bones. So, reduce the consumption of packaged snacks, processed meat, and fast food. Instead of salt, you can use herbs and seasonings to enhance the food taste.
6. Think Small Portion
Moderation is the key to eating healthy. Instead of stuffing yourself with your favorite food, try portion control. Since the portion size of food normally depends on the plate size, try eating in a smaller plate. You can mindfully evaluate your hunger while taking the second serving later.
7. Switch to Healthy Snacks
It is important to keep healthy snacking options at hand. There are many ways to go about it. You could make fabulous salads with a healthy dip such as hummus. Unsalted and dry roasted seeds and nuts make an excellent snack so you could munch on some foxnuts or almonds. Air frying instead of deep frying can be a great idea to calm down your fried food cravings.
Check out our article on 10 superfoods you can find in your kitchen
Health and tasty food need not be mutually exclusive. Planning your meals and choosing wisely can take you a long way in the journey of healthy living.