A healthy diet should include a wide variety of foods that provide the body with the nutrients it needs. It should also contain moderate amounts of calories. Eating too many calories can lead to weight gain, while eating too few calories can cause malnutrition and other health problems.
1. EAT LESSER AMOUNTS OF SALT
Too much salt can raise blood pressure and increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood cholesterol and obesity. Read the nutrition facts on food labels to find out how much salt is in packaged foods, and choose lower sodium options. Adding fresh or frozen vegetables, lean meats and whole grains to your meals can help reduce the amount of salt you consume.
2. USE WHOLE GRAINS MORE OFTEN
Switching to whole grain pasta, brown rice and rye bread can add fibre to your diet. These foods are rich in B vitamins, iron and magnesium. Try them roasted, in soups and casseroles or as toast. 3. ADD MORE FRUITS AND VEGETABLES TO YOUR MEALS
Make sure you eat at least five portions of fruits and vegetables each day. This can be any combination of fresh, frozen or canned products. Try a mix of colours to get a range of important vitamins and minerals, and remember that juices count as part of your total fruit and vegetable intake.
4. EAT LESS SALT
Too much sodium can increase your risk of high blood pressure, which can lead to heart disease, stroke and kidney disease. When cooking, replace salt with herbs and spices to give your foods flavour, or try buying reduced sodium versions of processed foods. When eating out, ask for no salt added sauces and dressings and choose salads made with leafy greens, tomatoes (canned or fresh) and other veggies.
5. CHECK FOOD LABELS
Look for the traffic light labelling on packs to guide your choices, and check the ingredients list too. Avoid foods containing industrially produced trans fats, which are linked to an increased risk of heart disease and cancer. This includes spreads like margarine and ghee, as well as fast, baked and fried foods.
6. EAT LESS SUGAR
Too many added sugars can contribute to weight gain and tooth decay, and increase the risk of type 2 diabetes. Try to limit sweetened drinks and eat unsweetened milk, frozen or fresh fruit for snacks.
7. EAT MORE FIBRE
Increasing the fibre in your diet can help to prevent constipation and some digestive disorders, such as haemorrhoids and diverticulitis. Try including more beans, lentils, oats, porridge, whole wheat pasta and couscous in your meals.
8. EAT AT REGULAR TIMES
Enjoy smaller meals at regular intervals throughout the day to keep your metabolism balanced and prevent overeating. It’s also a good idea to have healthy snacks on hand so you don’t overeat when hunger strikes. Choose a combination of protein and carbohydrate-rich foods like a piece of fruit with a spoonful of peanut butter, an unsalted mixed nut bar or low-fat yogurt.