Friday, 20 December 2013

The 3 Cores of Healthy Eating

There are so many tips and advice on what to have and what not to have, that we often get confused by the many misunderstood messages flying around making us question every single thing we eat and drink. If you want to be healthy AND happy at the same time (which can be done), follow my 3 core guidelines below. 

1. Balance - there has been the 80/20 rule for some time now which some people choose to ignore. But it's a good rule to live by as you are not forbidding yourself from all the foods that you may enjoy but may not be good for you. So 80% of the time has to be healthy and then you can give yourself 20% allowance to indulge and be naughty. But just make sure you keep to the 80/20 percentage and not sway it to be 50/50!! 

2. Variety - there are 5 food groups which we should include in every meal. It's important to have a wide variety of foods, we need to make sure we are getting all our essential nutrients, vitamins and minerals, which are found in different different foods. You can't just eat fruit/vegetables or just protein and then expect to survive on that, over time you will eventually suffer from a malnutrition of an essential nutrient your body has been missing out on. The five groups that our foods fall into are;
  • Carbohydrates: rice, pasta, bread, potatoes.
  • Fruit and vegetables: bananas, apples, lettuce, cucumbers etc
  • Protein: meat, poultry, fish, eggs, lentils, beans, nuts and seeds. 
  • Dairy: milk, cheese, yoghurts. 
  • Fat: sugar, butter, oils, crisps, chocolate, sweets, fizzy drinks.
You can see from the picture how much of each food group we should all be having (approximately). 

3. Moderation - we all have to keep within our limits and manage such things like time, money or maybe with the things we say or do. And it should be no different with food. We have to keep things in moderation, don't have too much of one thing. We can often get carried away and have too much fatty, sugary foods which does more harm than good to our body. Some of us may feel guilty after but others may think nothing of it, everything has it's consequences and indulging or bingeing on foods that's are high in fat, salt and sugar regularly will increase our risk of weight gain,heart disease, high blood pressure and even some cancers. 

But what is moderation? How do we quantify it. Many of the time, one person's 'moderation' will be different to another's. What we need to do is follow the guidelines and allowances set out by the food agencies which can be found on many food packages now. And many of them are colour coded so stick to the ones that have the most greens and least reds. 

So, keep these things in mind when eating or drinking. These three core rules will help you to have an overall healthy eating habit. They are pretty basic rules and easy to live by, it's all about knowing how go juggle it all. See it's not that difficult to be healthy and happy at the same time.

By Ayshabibi H. 
A H Nutritionist 
20th December 2013

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