There is no single “healthy” diet. In fact, many eating patterns sustain good health.
What these health eating patterns have in common is lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, as well as healthy sources of protein and fats.
Here are 4 Tips to Healthy Eating that will lower your risk for conditions such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and certain forms of cancer.
1. Change what’s on your plate.
In the fall of 2011, nutrition experts at Harvard School of Public Health unveiled the Healthy Eating Plate. Refined grains like white breads and rice have less fiber and way fewer nutrients than their whole grain substitutions. Check out the plate below. Half of your diet should consist of fruits and vegetables, while the other half is healthy proteins and whole grains. Research has shown that people who ate more fruits and vegetables have a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, and weight gain, and those who eat more fruit also have a lower risk of stroke.
2. Stop drinking soda/pop/whatever you call it and drinks filled with SUGAR!
Research has also shown that sugar-laden drinks can raise the threshold for feeling full. Therefore, you have to eat more to feel satisfied, which promotes weight gain!
A 2011 Harvard study found that sugar-sweetened beverages were one of the dietary components most strongly linked to long-term weight gain among healthy women and men. Drink more water. A reasonable goal is 4 to 6 cups per day. Black tea, black coffee, and “fizzy” water are also ok (water for sodium content in carbonated water – see #3)
3. Learn to like less salt.
Your daily sodium intake should be limited to about 2,300 milligrams (mg), which is roughly the amount in a single teaspoon of salt. If you have high blood pressure or are at risk for it, limit sodium intake to 1,500 mg per day. My general rule of thumb … read the nutrition content on labels. Make sure that the per-serving sodium content is less than the number of calories per serving.
4. Plan for snack breaks
Healthy snacks increase energy levels by stabilizing blood sugar with the added benefit of providing healthy nutrients. You know you are going to need a snack some time in the late morning (if you start the day early) and at some point between lunch and dinner. Prepare a couple of healthy snacks ahead of time and have them on hand. Good choices include a banana or other fruit, a handful of raw, unsalted almonds or sunflower seeds, or a small container of plain nonfat yogurt with a few berries.
Try implementing these 4 tips to healthy eating and watch your health & energy levels improve!