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How to eat a balanced and healthy diet

Eating a balanced and healthy diet can help you feel your best. It is a crucial factor in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Well, several factors play vital roles in determining if your diet plan promotes a healthy lifestyle or not. 

These factors involve aspects such as consuming the appropriate amount of drinks and food. A healthy diet points toward consuming varied meals to maintain or achieve healthy body weight. In this post, we will focus on healthy diet habits for the general population. 

But, people with medical conditions or a special dietary plan must consider seeking advice from a registered dietitian or doctor. All in all, the key factors that you should consider when formulating a healthy diet plan include: 

Food Groups in Your Meals

There are several factors that you should embrace if you are creating a balanced and healthy diet plan. They include:

  • It will help if you consume plenty of liquids. For instance, drink at least six glasses of water per day.
  • It would be best to go for unsaturated oils and spreads. Also, ensure that you consume them in smaller amounts. 
  • It would be best to eat controllable levels of proteins such as meat, eggs, fish, pulses, and beans. 
  • Ensure that you include dairy alternatives and some milk in your meals. Soya drinks can be a good option. 
  • Your diet plan should base on higher amounts of fibre starchy meals such as pasta, rice, and potatoes. 
  • It will help if you consume at least five portions of varied vegetables and fruits every day. 

Another crucial factor to master is that if you take drinks and food high in sugar, salt, and fat, consume them in small amounts and less often. In any case, you must strive to opt for varied meals in the five main categories of food. This will allow you to acquire all necessary nutrients. 

Research indicates that most people in England drink and consume too many calories. They also consume too much salt, sugar, and saturated fat. The research further explains that most UK people consume less fibre, oily, fish, vegetables, and fruits. This habit risks their life.

It would be best to mention that some healthy diet plans may not apply to kids under two years. Herein, the explanation is that younger children have different nutritional needs. Yet, the good thing is that most modern healthy diet plans are suitable for children with two years or more. 

How Essential are Fruits and Vegetables?

Vegetables and fruits are a major source of fibre, minerals, and vitamins. Therefore, they should make up more than a third of the meals you consume daily. Experts recommend that you should consume at least five portions of various vegetables and fruits each day.

You can consume juiced, dried, canned, frozen, or fresh vegetables and fruits. Recent research indicates that people who consume at least five portions of several vegetables and fruits every day have a lower risk of developing cancer, stroke, and heart disease. 

Consuming five portions of vegetables and fruits per day is not as difficult as it may sound. A portion can include options such as the following:

  • 150ml glass of fruit smoothie or juice. But, in this case, you cannot consume more than one portion in a day since such drinks can damage your teeth and are very sugary. 
  • 30 grams of dried fruit. Here, it would be best if you kept it on mealtimes. 
  • 80 grams of frozen, canned, or fresh vegetables and fruits. 

Similarly, one pear, banana, apple, or other similar-sized fruits can represent a portion. Three heaped tablespoons full of vegetables can be another portion. Also, a slice of a melon or pineapple can contribute another portion. 

Besides, you can consider adding a tablespoon full of dried fruit like raisins to the cereals you eat in the morning to contribute another portion. Another great approach can be adding a side salad to your meals and swapping the morning biscuit with a banana. 

Starchy Food in Your Healthy Diet Plan

Generally speaking, starchy food should contribute to a third or even more of the food you consume daily. In other words, you need to formulate a diet plan based on high level of starchy meals. It would be best to opt for wholemeal and wholegrain varieties of starchy food, including higher fibre white bread, wholemeal, wholewheat pasta, and brown rice. 

Such meals contain more minerals, fibre, and vitamins than white varieties. Consuming potatoes together with their skins can also help you acquire more vitamins and fibre. For instance, you can eat jacket-potatoes and boiled ones with the skin too. 

Dairy Food, Milk and Dairy Alternatives

Dairy food such as milk, yoghurt, and cheese can supply your body with essential protein. They are also a great source of calcium. For that reason, they can help to keep your bones healthy. Nevertheless, it would be best to ensure that you always choose lower sugar and lower fat products. 

You can consider 1% skimmed milk or fats and lower fat cottage cheese or hard cheese. Also, lower sugar and lower fat yoghurt can be a great option. You can also include dairy alternatives like soya drinks in your diet plan. All the same, you should ensure that you consume calcium-fortified and unsweetened versions of dairy alternatives. 

Proteins Such as Meat, Eggs, Fish, Pulses, and Beans

Proteins are crucial for the body to grow and heal. These meals can be a great source of proteins. Besides, they also supply the body with various minerals and vitamins. For instance, meat can be a good source of minerals, vitamins, and proteins. 

It can supply the body with minerals such as Vitamin B, Zinc, and Iron. Meat is also rich in Vitamin B12. Thus, it would be best to opt for skinless poultry and lean cuts of meat every time. Nevertheless, you must cook it thoroughly and ensure that you consume less processed and red meat like sausages, ham, and bacon. 

Generally, some meats encompass of higher amounts of fat, including saturated fats. Consuming too many saturated fats can result in higher blood cholesterol levels. People with high blood cholesterol levels are at a higher risk of developing heart disease. 

Luckily, consuming manageable meat products and cooking them well can lower the amount of saturated fat. It would be best to opt for the leanest option when buying meat. For instance, streaky bacon contains more fat than back bacon. Here are the tips to consider:

  • It would be best if you lowered on meat products in pastry, including sausage rolls and pies, since they are high in salt and fat. 
  • You must limit processed meat consumption, including pate, salami, and sausages, since they are high in fat and salt. 
  • It would be best to opt for chicken and turkey without the skin since they have lower fat content. 
  • In a case where you choose to purchase pre-packed meat, ensure that you evaluate its nutrition label. Compare several products and choose those with lower fat content. 
  • It would be best to request a lean cut from your butcher. 

It can be a great idea to cut off any visible skin or fat from the meat before cooking it. Research indicates that poultry and crackling skin encompasses of a higher content of fat than its meat. Here are some strategies you can implement to lower the amount of fat in meat when cooking:

  • It would be best if you considered using more starchy meals, pulses, and vegetables in your dishes, including casseroles, curries, and stews. 
  • It would be best to roast the meat on a rack to help run off the fat. 
  • You cannot add more oil or fat when cooking the meat. 
  • It can be a great idea to grill the meat instead of frying it. 

On the other hand, fish and eggs can supply your body with enough protein. They also contain essential minerals and protein. Most importantly, oily fish can supply the body with high amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids.

Your goal should be to consume at least two portions of fish every week, which will include at least one portion of oily fish. Available options include canned, frozen, or fresh fish, but smoked and canned fish may contain higher fish levels. 

In any case, pulses such as lentils, peas, and beans are low in fat and contain high levels of minerals, vitamins, proteins, and fibre. Unsalted nuts can be a good snack since they are high in fibre. Yet, they are very rich in fat. Thus, it would be best to ensure that you consume them moderately. 

Oils and Spreads

Research indicates that most people in the UK consume too much-saturated fat, but including manageable fat levels in your diet can be helpful. It would be best if you considered acquiring fat from unsaturated spreads and oils. 

Switching to unsaturated fat will allow you to lower the amount of cholesterol you consume. It would be best to acknowledge that most types of fat contain high energy levels. Therefore, you should consume lower amounts of fat products.

For example, men should not consume more than 30 grams of saturated fat in a day. Women should not eat more than 20 grams of saturates fat in one day. Most importantly, kids under 11 years should not consume as much fat like adults.

Fat is not suitable for kids under five years since it can cause early childhood complications. Most common meals that contain a high level of saturated fat include pies, lard, biscuits, cakes, cream, butter, and fatty cuts of meat. 

Consume Less Salt, Sugar, and Saturated Fat

Consuming a high level of fat can result in higher blood cholesterol levels. Henceforth, the risk of developing conditions such as heart disease upsurges. Also, consuming drinks and food that are high in sugar regularly can expose you to the risks of developing tooth decay and obesity. 

Common foodstuff that contains a high level of sugar includes chocolate, sweets, puddings, pastries, biscuits, sugary breakfast cereals, and sugary fizzy drinks. On the other hand, consuming high levels of salt can result in high blood pressure. As a result, it may escalate the risk of conditions such as stroke and heart disease. 

Do You Want to Lose Weight?

Recent research indicates that most adults in the UK are either obese or overweight. You should check and manage your weight using the BMI calculator. Several weight loss diet plans are available to help you lose weight. 

Apart from applying a healthy diet plan, it would be best to invest in regular exercise. Exercising can help to manage your weight and protects you from developing serious health conditions like heart disease. It is crucial for your overall wellbeing and health. 

It would be best to acknowledge that obesity or overweight can cause health conditions such as stroke, cancer, and type 2 diabetes. Besides, being underweight can also impede your wellbeing. Thus, it would be best if you strategised on maintaining the optimum body weight.

Conclusion

Managing your body weight is crucial for you to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Your bodyweight directly reflects your diet and exercise habits. It would be best to formulate a healthy diet plan that can lower your calorie intake if you are obese or overweight.

Also, you must stick to a helpful exercise plan to help promote your body fitness and wellness. Exercising helps to burn extra calories from the body, including crucial parts such as the belly.

In underweight individuals, it would be best to stick to a healthy diet plan to help you gain manageable calories over time. This post has discussed some of the vital meals that you should consider to help boost your bodyweight.

Above all, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and a fit body is beneficial. It helps to lower the risks of developing serious health conditions such as type 2 diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Besides, it will help to refresh your mind and will enable you to feel your best.

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/

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