During these challenging and stressful times it is more important than ever to invest in our overall health. Exercising regularly and following a balanced diet are essential for our wellness. We must not neglect finding time to also do things we enjoy. Whether you like reading, watching series, practicing yoga, playing board games, or spending some time on NetBet Sport, find some time to enjoy what you like the most. In this article we will cover the 17 most important rules for a healthy and balanced diet.
Rule 1: Variety of foods
To ensure a balanced diet, it is important that your daily meals include a variety of foods, which minimizes the possibility of significant nutrient deficiencies in your diet. Humans need dozens of different nutrients in order to have good health. No single food contains all possible nutrients. Eat everything in moderation and do not exclude food groups from your diet.
Rule 2: Do not skip meals
Many people think that in order to lose weight you should skip meals, but this is not true. Eating normal meals is important to keep your metabolism working. If you can split your meal into smaller portions and eat more often during the day. Try to eat every couple of hours, in that way you will avoid feeling hungry.
Rule 3: Salt in moderation
Even if you do not add salt to your food, you can consume a large amount. Salt is hidden in store-bought food like cereals or bread. Excessive salt consumption can increase blood pressure. So the best solution is to read the food labels to help you reduce it.
How do you do that? More than 1.5g of salt per 100g, means that the food has a high salt content. A good alternative for those who are addicted to savory is to replace salt with combinations of herbs and spices that give flavor to food. Finally, ask your doctor or dietitian before using artificial salt substitutes.
Rule 4: Include starchy foods in your meals
Starchy foods (potatoes, cereals, pasta, rice, bread) should be about one third of the food we consume. Choose whole grains when you can as they contain more fiber and can make you feel fuller for longer. Try to include at least one starchy food in your diet with every main meal. The myth that starchy foods make you fat, is only a myth.
Rule 5: Lots of fruits and vegetables
It is recommended that you consume at least five servings of various fruits and vegetables each day. Five servings? And yet, it’s easier than it sounds. A glass of 100% sugar-free fruit juice, for example, can count as a portion, as canned vegetables cooked on plates. Also, why not slice a banana in your breakfast cereal, or replace your usual breakfast snack with some dried fruit? Fruits and vegetables are rich sources of vitamins and minerals (vitamins A and C, Potassium, Calcium)
Rule 6: More fiber
The best sources of fiber are whole grains, oats, fruits, and vegetables. How do they help us? Fiber helps in controlling blood cholesterol levels. It also helps regulate bowel function and prevent constipation.
Rule 7: Limit saturated fats and sugar
We all need some fat in our diet. The amount and type of fat you eat play a significant role in your health. There is saturated and unsaturated fat. Saturated fat in big quantities increases the amount of cholesterol in the blood and that increases the risk of heart disease.
Saturated fat is found in many foods, such as cookies, cream, butter, lard, and cheese. Try to replace it with unsaturated fats, such as vegetable oils or avocados. For a healthier option, use only a small amount of vegetable oil instead of butter, also choose lean cuts of meat and remove visible fat.
Sugary foods and beverages, including alcoholic beverages, are often high in calories, and can help you gain weight. So cut down on sugary fizzy drinks, spirits, cakes, cookies, and pastries, which contain added sugars, as this is the type of sugar that should be reduced and not the natural sugars. Here, too, food labels can help: More than 15 g of sugar per 100g means that the food is high in sugar.
Rule 8: More fish
Loads of protein, vitamins and minerals can be found in fish. The goal should be to eat at least two servings a week, and one to be fatty fish. Fatty fish for example is salmon and is rich in omega-3 fats. These kind of fats can help prevent heart disease. Choose whatever fish you like either fresh or canned or whatever you prefer. Just keep on mind that canned or smoked products may contain high quantities of salt.
Rule 9: Do not skip breakfast
Eating breakfast assists in weight control and it is not called the most important meal of the day for nothing. Whole grain cereal with milk or low-fat yogurt and sliced fruit is a delicious and nutritious breakfast. A good breakfast will supply your body with the necessary energy to avoid subsequent snacks.
Rule 10: Maintain a healthy weight
Balance the amount of food you eat with the amount of exercise and activity you do to maintain a healthy body weight. Excess energy if not consumed will be stored by the body in the form of fat. It is now known that if you are overweight or obese you may have serious health problems such as type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, heart disease and stroke.
Aim to cut down on high-fat and high-sugar foods and eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Remember that alcohol is also high in calories, so reducing it can help you control your weight. Exercise will help you achieve and maintain good physical condition. Ideally, your physical activity should include a combination of aerobic exercise and resistance training.
Rule 11: Drink plenty of water
When you are thirsty you are already dehydrated, drink water before that happens. Water creates a feeling of satiety, reduces your appetite, and detoxifies the human body. It is also especially important when exercising to be sure to drink water before, during and after each activity, so as not to dehydrate your body.
Rule 12: Keep track of your portion size
Do not allow yourself to consume too large portions of food. Remember that our bodies want quality nutrition and not huge amounts of food to feel satisfied. Even healthy foods in large quantities can provide excessive calories, contributing to weight gain.
Rule 13: Do not neglect dairy
Consume daily portions of low-fat dairy (1.5-2%), so as to ensure the necessary intake of calcium and phosphorus. Intake of the recommended daily allowance of calcium and phosphorus, combined with daily physical activity and abstinence from smoking, can prevent the occurrence of osteopenia and osteoporosis.
Rule 14: Cut down on certain foods, but do not eliminate them altogether
If your favorite foods are high in fat, salt or sugar, the key is to reduce the amount and not to rule it out completely.
Rule 15: Prefer the consumption of olive oil over other fats (butter, margarine, etc.).
Olive oil is rich in beneficial fatty acids and also has antioxidant vitamins. Add it to your food raw or towards the end of cooking and always in moderation.
Rule 16: Eat red meat only once a week to reduce your intake of saturated fats.
You can replace red meat with legumes or fish, as well as poultry.
Rule 17: Avoid mayonnaise, sour cream and generally all white sauces that are high in saturated fat.
Prefer sauces from fresh tomatoes, vegetables, herbs, spices, and a little olive oil.
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