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Healthy Eating Principles

Easy to follow Healthy Eating Principals

Healthy eating is a lifestyle, not a diet. It’s about changing your eating habits so you can create and lead a healthier life. Whether that be increased energy, more motivation, strengthening your immune system or slowing down the ageing process. Sometimes your healthy eating habits may require a quick tweak or need a massive overhaul. Regardless of where you are at here are 12 healthy eating principles that you can apply to your life.

Water intake

Did you know that most don’t drink the required amount of water the body needs to stay hydrated? Water is involved in nearly every bodily process and assists with flush out toxins, promoting bowel movement, prevent fatigue, burns fat… the list goes on. Drinking 2 litres a day enables your body to be at optimal hydration levels. Out of the 10 healthy eating principles this is one of the most important.

Make leafy greens, vegetables and fruits 50% of your diet

Vegetables and fruits infuse the body with the nutrients required to run your body at optimal levels. Foods which are nutrient dense assist with carrying out every day bodily processes such as digestion, temperature regulation, hormone regulation, delivery of oxygen around your body and creation of white blood cells to fight infection. It’s important to eat a variety of colours & types of fruits and vegetables as no two have the same nutrient benefits. The Healthy Eating Plate developed by nutrition experts at Harvard Public School of Health recommend half your plate consist of leafy greens, vegetables and fruits.

Make whole grains 25% of your diet

Refined grains (white flour) have no nutritional benefits. They can cause insulin resistance, stomach illnesses, hyperactivity in children and assist with weight gain etc… Whole grains include the bran and fibre which slows the breakdown of starch to glucose to help maintain a healthy blood sugar level, contain phytoestrogens full of essential minerals and fibre helps move waste through the digestive track and lower cholesterol.  For a list of whole grain alternatives visit the Whole Grain Nutrition Facts page

Make protein 25% of your diet

As per the current Nutrient Reference Values for Australian & New Zealand the recommended daily intake (RDI) for protein is:

Men (age 19-70) = 64 g/day (0.84 g/kg)
Women (age 19-70) = 46 g/day (0.75 g/kg)

Foods containing protein include: salmon, lean chicken, nuts/seeds, legumes, eggs, beans, tofu etc….

The Harvard Public School of Health recommend a quarter of your plate consist of protein (a mixture of plant based and animal proteins).

Eat less refined sugar 

Refined sugar is found in many baked goods, drinks, lollies & chocolates. Reducing your intake will no only help you lose weight, protect  your teeth and prevent type 2 diabetes but you’ll feel better! For a bunch of sugar free recipes I recommend the I Quit Sugar website.

Eat less gluten

It’s common to find people who have sensitivities or intolerances to gluten. Gluten is a tough elastic protein found in wheat, rye and barley. Oats also contain gluten but do not seem to cause the same problems with gluten intolerance. Symptoms of gluten intolerance include: diarrhoea, abdominal pain, flatulence, anaemia etc… Luckily there is an abundance of gluten free grains & products out there such as: quinoa, amaranth, rice, corn, millet and buckwheat.

Substitute Cows Milk

Calcium is important for maintaining strong bones, however cows milk according to Harvard School of Public Health is not the only or best source. Increasing numbers of people are lactose intolerant and cows milk has become a common food allergen. Rather than have cows milk as your main source of calcium try these alternatives which are high in calcium: sardines, salmon, tofu, dried uncooked figs, raw almonds, collard greens, kale, broccoli etc…

Bad Fats & Good Fats

There two types of fats, good fats and bad fats. Good fats are your monounsaturated & polyunsaturated fats (olive oils, avocados, flaxseed, walnuts, tofu, fatty fish etc…) and your Bad fats are your trans & saturated fats (butter, fried food, ice cream, cheese etc…). Good fats are good for your heart and reducing cholesterol levels. Bad fats increase your risk of disease and elevated cholesterol levels. Start adding more good fats into your diet, your heart will thank you for it!

Not drinking whilst eating

Your stomach contains stomach acid which helps breakdown the food you eat. By drinking water whilst eating this can dilute the acid resulting in delayed digestion and bloating. Its best to drink before eating and at least 30 min to an hour after a meal giving you enough time to digest your meal.

Chew food 30-40 times 

Digestion is one of the most important bodily processes. Without it you wouldn’t get the required nutrients to fuel your body which keeps you alive. It takes energy and time to digest food and if your digestive system isn’t working properly this can cause all kinds of problems such as bloating, constipation, stomach pain, illnesses and even lead to cancer. Chewing your food thoroughly is one of the best ways to improve digestion as your helping the body pre break down the food prior to it entering the stomach and intestines for further digestion.

Exercise regularly

Exercise is complimentary to healthy eating and there is a long list of benefits including: increased energy, improve heart & blood vessel health, improve circulation, reduce stress and anxiety, assist with sleep, strengthening and toning muscles and bones. Exercise for at least 30 minutes several times a week, your body will thank you for it.

Keep treats as treats!

Treats such as lollies, fatty foods, muffins, sugary biscuits and take away foods are meant for special occasions, not being the main part of your diet. When you eat them all the time you lose the excitement of looking forward to having a treat! Having too many in your diet also causes you to feel tired, lethargic, unmotivated and unproductive.

 

These healthy eating principles can be applied one at a time or all at once, I recommend applying these healthy eating principles in stages such as one a week as this will give you the best chance at following through and making these principles a habit.

 

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