August 06, 2015 · Written by Foodtolive Team
What Are Healthy Foods and How to Plan a Healthy Diet
Nowadays, you can hear about the importance of healthy eating almost everywhere. There is no arguing the fact that the food you consume affects you greatly and can either strengthen or weaken your body as a whole.
However, what exactly is “healthy diet”? Have you ever considered what exactly it must include? What makes one eating plan healthier than others? What foods must be included in a healthy diet?
If you really want to change your health for the better by controlling your diet, you will need to find the answers to all these questions. We will try to help you with this today.
What Is Healthy Food
In simple terms, “healthy” foods are the ones that provide you with essential nutrients, without littering your body with various harmful chemicals. Therefore, the vast majority of processed foods don’t fall into this category by default.
So, what are healthy foods? They are:
- Vegetables and fruits
Raw fruits and veggies are the basis of any good diet. They are the “safest” kind of food as they rarely cause allergies and have no negative side effects. They are packed with fiber and vitamins that are easy for your body to absorb and process.
Please note that cooking often destroys vast amounts of essential nutrients contained in fruits and vegetables. If you want them to be as healthy as possible, you should eat them either raw or steamed.
- Low-fat dairy products
Not all vegetarians include dairy in their diet, but if you are one of them, you need to stick only to low-fat products. Animal fats are hard to process, so consuming large amounts of them will affect your digestion and can cause quite a bit of other problems, including acne breakouts and excess weight.
- If your diet allows it, you definitely should eat fatty fish, like tuna, salmon, or sardines, on a regular basis. Fish is the best source of omega 3 fatty acids, which are essential for your overall health.
Regardless of whether you eat fish or not, you should consider taking additional omega 3 supplements as the amount of these fats obtained from food is rarely sufficient to provide you with a healthy dose of them.
- Legumessome types of legumes, but you should be careful when trying them. Some beans and lentils can cause allergic reactions.
- Every tiny seed has enough nutrients packed inside it to produce a whole plant. This explains why they serve as an excellent source of nutrition. Seeds are exceptionally rich in minerals that are hard to find in other foods. They are most beneficial when sprouted because at this stage, they are easier for your body to process.
- Nuts are a great energy food due to the fact that they are very nutritious and take a while to digest. Many people are wary of them due to their high-calorie count. However, contrary to the popular belief, nuts aren’t fattening because they contain “good” unsaturated fats. Therefore, they are safe to eat even when you try to lose weight.
- They are a source of carbohydrates and must be a part of any well-balanced diet. Whole grains are the most beneficial, but all kinds of grains have something good to offer.
In essence, healthy eating means consuming the right quantities of a variety of foods. There is no need for you to limit yourself severely or stick to some very specific foods in order to lose weight and improve your overall wellbeing. As long as your meals are well-balanced and don’t include any outright harmful foods, your diet can be considered healthy.
The trick here is finding the right balance for you
This won’t be an easy thing to do because every person is unique. Therefore, simply following some diet you’ve found online is never a good choice. It might have worked for someone else, but your body has its own unique quirks that must be taken into account. The factors you need to consider when developing a healthy diet plan for you are:
- Your weight.
Do you want to lose, gain, or maintain your weight? The number of calories in your meals will depend on this.
- Are you an active person or do you spend your days stuck in an office? Your level of physical activity will determine how many calories you lose during the day.
- Medical conditions.
Some medical conditions make it more difficult for your body to extract nutrients from food in general or process some types of foods in particular. Note that seeds, nuts, and legumes affect your body strong and should be avoided by people suffering from some specific medical conditions. You will need to discuss this matter with your physician and a qualified dietitian.
- Personal preferences.
Your diet should make you happy. This is a must as not enjoying your meals on a regular basis will affect your mental and emotional state. Luckily, there are plenty of delicious healthy food recipes you can find. The vast majority of them are very simple and include a lot of spices. It’s a good thing as spices are healthy in their own right and can provide you with extra nutrients as well as add fantastic flavors to your dishes.
All in all, if you want to develop a healthy diet you can enjoy you will need to:
- Calculate the number of calories you need to consume daily.
- Study various charts to learn how many calories various foods contain.
- Develop a plan based on your personal preferences.
- Forget about the rules and indulge yourself once in a while.
Do you want to eat a piece of very unhealthy cake at your Birthday party? Don’t deny yourself! As long as you don’t do this too often, you should indulge yourself and enjoy these moments of weakness. This will help you fight off the cravings for unhealthy processed and sugary foods more efficiently.
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Remember that the quality of the products you buy is essential. Unfortunately, sometimes healthy foods you buy turn out to be harmful because they are full of pesticides, GMO, and other nastiness.