What are the foundations of a healthy eating plan?
Eating a healthy, balanced diet is a great way to help maintain your physical and mental wellbeing. After all, the food that we eat creates fuel for our bodies to function. But, with so many options out there, it can be difficult to know the best ingredients that make up a good eating plan.
No matter what your health and fitness goals are, there are a few key foundations to any good plan, that will keep your body fuelled and in good condition. In this blog post, we'll discuss the basics of starting a nutritious and balanced diet.
The first step in creating a healthy eating plan is understanding the importance of balance. This means choosing foods from all five food groups – fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins, and dairy. Having variety in your diet ensures that you get all the vitamins and minerals needed for optimal health.
Additionally, try to avoid eating too many processed foods as they lack nutritional value. Similarly, foods with added sugar can contribute to weight gain and ultimately lead to health complications such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. While processed foods and products high in sugar can feature as part of a healthy diet, moderation is the key. It’s important to identify which foods you should and shouldn’t be including as a regular part of your diet, and to keep moderation in mind when designing any eating plan.
The second key factor to consider when creating an eating plan is portion control. It’s important to be aware of how much food you’re consuming during each meal or snack so that you don’t overeat or undereat.
When it comes to portion sizes, it's best to use your hand as a reference guide; typically one palm-sized serving of protein is enough for one meal while two palms should be used for veggies and whole grains. If you want to take a slightly more modern approach, there are plenty of smartphone apps designed to help you track your daily food intake and measure out healthy portion sizes.
Lastly, make sure you're drinking plenty of water throughout the day too. Staying hydrated helps keep cravings away while also aiding digestion.
Lastly, being mindful about when you eat can also help maintain good nutrition habits. Try not to skip meals or indulge in late-night snacks as this can throw off your body's natural rhythm and lead to unhealthy snacking later on in the day or even tomorrow morning. Aiming for three meals plus some healthy snacks in between should help keep hunger levels consistent throughout the day while providing enough energy to get through each task ahead with ease.
As well as eating regular meals throughout the day, research suggests that upping your protein intake is another way to cut down on excessive snacking. In fact, one study found that post-dinner cravings can be reduced by as much as 60% by simply upping the amount of protein we consume. This can be either animal protein or plant protein.
Creating a healthy eating plan doesn't have to be hard; just remember these three simple steps. Balance your meals with all five food groups, practice portion control using your hands as reference points, and stay mindful about when you eat – and success will follow. With just these few tips incorporated into your daily routine, you’ll be well on your way towards living a healthier life.
But remember, a healthy diet is just one component of a healthy lifestyle. It’s important to supplement your eating plan with regular exercise – for both your body and mind – as well as a consistent sleeping routine.