Developing healthy eating habits is not as complicated or as restrictive as many people think. The essential steps are to eat mainly plant-based foods: vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes (beans, peas, lentils) and to limit highly processed foods.
We give you 10 simple steps to follow to develop better eating habits:
1. Increases variety
Eating a wide variety of foods will help you get different nutrients and at the same time fight disease. In addition, this will limit your exposure to any pesticides or toxic substances that may be present in a particular food.
2. Take care of portions
You can eat all the broccoli and spinach you want, but for high-calorie meals, portion control is the key. If you go to a restaurant, choose tickets or share with a friend. When reading food labels, check portion sizes: some relatively small packages contain more than one serving.
3. Focus on Vegetables
Try eating 2½ cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruit a day, for a 2,000 calorie diet. The nutrients, fiber, and other compounds in these foods can help protect against certain types of cancer and other diseases.
4. Avoid refined grains and sugar
The refined carbohydrates in white bread and regular pasta have little or no dietary fiber. On food labels, beware of “wheat flour. Also, avoid foods with sugar, such as soft drinks and sweets. These are sources of empty calories that contribute to weight gain.
5. More fish and nuts
Nuts, fatty fish, avocados and vegetable oils provide healthy unsaturated fats. Fatty fish helps reduce the risks of heart disease and has other benefits, largely due to its omega-3 polyunsaturated fats.
6. Liquid Calories
Some liquid calories come from healthy beverages, such as milk and 100 percent fruit juice (although a maximum of one cup a day is recommended). But most come from soft drinks and other sweetened beverages and alcoholic beverages, which contain many calories but few nutrients.
7. Alcoholic Beverages
If you drink, do so in moderation. That means no more than one drink a day for women, two a day for men. A drink is defined as 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1½ ounces of brandy.
8. Avoid Supplements
Vitamin supplements cannot totally replace a healthy diet, which will provide you with other compounds rich in vitamins and minerals. It is therefore better to eat a healthy diet than to always resort to pills or supplements.
9. Cut Trans Fat
Trans fats are provided by partially hydrogenated vegetable oils that are used in many processed foods (such as commercial baked goods, snacks, and stick margarines) and fast food (such as potato chips). Trans fats raise LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and also lower HDL (“good”) cholesterol, increasing the risk of heart disease.
10. Enjoy your meal
Be aware of what you consume, this can help you enjoy your food much more. Plan what you eat during the week, this will help you to be more careful with what you include in your diet.