There’s no shortage of healthy eating advice, but it can be hard to know where to start. While it’s true that some specific foods or nutrients have been linked to improved health, overall dietary patterns are what really matter. These 10 tips can help anyone get off on the right foot when it comes to their diet.
1. EAT MORE REAL FOOD
Swap out processed foods for more fresh produce, whole grains, lean protein and unsalted nuts and seeds. This simple shift can make a huge difference in the nutritional quality of your diet.
2. FILL UP ON FIBRE
Eating more soluble fibre, which is found in fruit, beans and vegetables, can help lower blood cholesterol levels and improve your mood. Soluble fibre also helps your body digest food more slowly, so you feel full faster.
3. EAT A VARIETY OF COLOURS OF VEGGETABLES
The bright colours in vegetables like purple cabbage, carrots and radishes provide your body with a variety of important vitamins and minerals. Try to eat at least three servings of veggies per day.
4. REDUCE SALT INTAKE
Eating too much salt raises your risk for high blood pressure and can also lead to water retention, which can make you look puffy. Avoid salty canned soups, sauces and ready meals and replace salty condiments with lemon juice, a dash of no-salt seasoning blend or fresh herbs.
5. EAT SMALL SERVINGS OF HEALTHY FATS
Don’t cut out fat completely, but choose healthier types of fats such as vegetable oils, avocadoes, nuts and seeds. These fats are an important part of a balanced diet and can be used to add flavour to dishes.
6. EAT PLENTY OF FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
Aim for 5 to 10 portions of fruit and vegetables per day. This can be tricky with busy family schedules, so plan ahead and keep fruits and vegetables on hand. This way, you can grab a handful of berries or a cup of steamed broccoli when you need a snack.
7. EAT A VARIETY OF PROTEINS
This includes beans, eggs, poultry without the skin, fish and low-fat dairy. Protein-rich foods are essential for building and maintaining muscle.
8. CHOOSE WHOLE GRAINS
Switching out refined carbohydrates, such as white bread and pasta, for more whole grains can improve your heart health and lower your risk for obesity. Make sure to choose whole grains that are high in fibre, such as quinoa and brown rice.
9. CHECK THE LABELS
Manufacturers often hide large amounts of sugar and unhealthy fats in packaged food, even those with “healthy” claims on the label. Take a closer look at labels and read nutrition fact panels to be aware of what you’re putting in your body.
10. HAVE HEALTHY SNACKS ON HAND
Keep healthy snacks on hand, such as whole grain crackers with peanut butter or hummus, frozen berries and plain yogurt, or a piece of fruit with a few unsalted nuts. This can help prevent overeating and can also satisfy hunger between meals.