Step 1: Monitor the way you eat
To eat healthy, you have to know first and foremost what a balanced diet means. Nutritionists recommend the consumption of whole grains, fruits and vegetables and limit the intake of fats and sweets. Once the principles of a balanced diet are known, changes can begin.
It is advisable to develop a diet journal for one or two weeks, in which you will note all the food and drink during this period, as well as the number of snacks in each main food group.
Thus it is recommended:
– 6 to 11 snacks from the whole grain category (rice, bread, pasta, cereals);
– 2 to 4 snacks from the fruit category;
– 3 to 5 snacks from the vegetables category;
– 2 to 3 snacks in the dairy category (milk, yogurt, cheese);
– 2 to 3 snacks of meat, chicken, pasta, dried beans, nuts or eggs;
– a small amount of fats, oils and sweets.
After the first week, the journal should be reviewed. Some questions are required:
– was the minimum of snacks from a certain category of food consumed?
– Have enough fruits and vegetables been consumed during the day?
– foods consumed are high in fat, sugar and salt?
– was the food prepared in the house, or was it consumed more fast-food?
– were drinks high in sugar consumed?
– was enough water consumed?
The number of calories required per day depends on age, sex and level of physical activity. In general:
– less active and older women need about 1600 calories a day
– Active women and less active men need about 2200 calories a day
– Active men need about 2800 calories a day.
Step 2: Start of changes
First of all, you must consult the journal. If you consider that you consume more than necessary, it means that the person in question receives more fat, salt and calories than he needs. If you consume a lot of meat and few vegetables, it means that your diet is high in saturated fat and low in fiber. If fast food is consumed, then a large amount of salt and sugar is ingested.
It is advisable to read the labels before buying a product, to find out the amount of nutrients it contains. Fast-food foods usually contain little or no fruit and vegetables, so you should consider consuming fruits and vegetables in the recommended quantities.
Step 3: Small changes
Drastic changes should not be made at once in the diet, as deprivation of favorite foods leads to failure to initiate a healthy diet. The usual changes must be made slowly, gradually.
The indications below can be used:
– consumption of whole bread instead of white bread;
– consumption of brown rice instead of white rice;
– the consumption of flour pastes made from whole wheat flour, instead of the white one; you can also try a mixture of the two;
– consumption of skimmed milk 1% instead of skimmed or skimmed 2%;
– consumption of cheeses and degreased yogurts;
– adding larger quantities of fruits and vegetables in foods or consuming them as snacks;
– adding spinach, tomatoes, cucumbers and onions in sandwiches;
– consumption of fruits and cereals.
Step 4: Know the ingredients
In order to design a healthy diet, the action of certain foods on the body must be known:
– fats: recognizing the differences between fats; saturated or hydrogenated fats can increase cholesterol levels; monounsaturated, polyunsaturated fats or Omega-3 acids reduce the risk of coronary heart disease; Omega-3 acids can be found in fish, such as tuna, carp, salmon, and in vegetables such as rapeseed oil, nuts, wheat germs, soybeans; these lead to decreased triglycerides and high blood pressure;
– carbohydrates: recognizing the differences between carbohydrate classes; whole grains can be used as a source of carbohydrates, such as using brown rice instead of white rice or whole grain bread instead of white; whole grains bring fiber into the diet and reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer; – sugar: milk and fruits contain sugar, but also many vitamins and minerals; the sugar from sweets or juices, excepting the 100% natural ones, was refined and all the nutrients were removed; used in the wrong way sugar can improve the taste of many foods. Too much sugar can lead to premature satiety and thus remove other nutritious foods from the diet, contributing to excess calories and weight gain. Reading labels on purchased products can help maintain a healthy diet.