We have all heard it many times: “You should eat a healthy and balanced diet”. But what does that really mean? What’s in that? And how can we stick to it without it becoming boring?
As we have been told, eating a healthy diet is important for maintaining good health and preventing chronic diseases. A healthy diet should be balanced and include a variety of foods from all food groups.
But what does that mean? Here’s what constitutes a healthy diet, along with some examples of healthy foods you can include in your meals:
- Fruits and vegetables: These should make up a significant portion of your diet. Aim for at least 5 servings per day. Examples include: apples, oranges, bananas, berries, leafy greens, broccoli, carrots, peppers, and sweet potatoes.
- Whole grains: These provide important nutrients and fiber. Aim for at least 3 servings per day. Examples include: whole wheat bread, brown rice, quinoa, oats, and barley.
- Protein: This is important for building and repairing tissues. Aim for 1-2 servings per day. Examples include: lean meat, fish, poultry, beans, lentils, tofu, and nuts.
- Dairy: This is important for bone health. Aim for 2-3 servings per day. Examples include: milk, yogurt, and cheese. For people that are lactose intolerant or vegan, alternatives to dairy could include plant-based or coconut milk, tofu or natural yeast.
- Healthy fats: These are important for brain and heart health. Aim for small amounts each day. Examples include: olive oil, avocado, nuts, and seeds.
- Limit added sugars and salt: These should be limited in your diet. Examples of foods high in added sugars include: candy, soda, and baked goods. Examples of foods high in salt include: processed foods, canned soups, and condiments.
So when you combine these into your daily routine, here are some examples of healthy meals throughout your day:
- Breakfast: Oatmeal with berries and chopped nuts, and a glass of milk.
- Lunch: Grilled chicken salad with mixed greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and a vinaigrette dressing.
- Dinner: Baked salmon with quinoa and roasted vegetables (e.g. carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower).
- Snack: Apple slices with almond butter.
But of course, you don’t want to eat the same meals every day. Because maintaining a healthy diet can be challenging to stick to if you feel like you’re eating the same things over and over again. So how do you eat healthily without it becoming boring? Don’t worry: eating a healthy diet doesn’t have to be complicated or boring. By focusing on whole, nutrient-dense foods, you can improve your health and feel great.
Here are some tips for keeping your healthy diet interesting and enjoyable:
- Try new foods: One of the easiest ways to keep your healthy diet interesting is to try new foods. Experiment with different fruits, vegetables, grains, and proteins to keep things fresh and exciting.
- Mix up your cooking methods: Don’t be afraid to try different cooking methods, such as grilling, roasting, or stir-frying. This can help add variety to your meals and keep things interesting.
- Get creative with spices and herbs: Using different spices and herbs can help add flavor to your meals without adding extra calories. Try experimenting with different spice blends or herbs to create new flavor combinations.
- Plan your meals: Planning your meals in advance can help you stay on track with your healthy eating goals, and it can also help you avoid falling into a rut. Look for healthy recipes online or in cookbooks to help you find new meal ideas.
- Incorporate healthy snacks: Healthy snacks can help you stay satisfied between meals and can also help add variety to your diet. Try snacking on fruits, vegetables, nuts, or low-fat dairy products to keep your energy levels up throughout the day.
- Don’t be too restrictive: While it’s important to stick to a healthy diet, it’s also important to allow yourself some flexibility. Don’t be too restrictive with your eating, as this can lead to feelings of deprivation and boredom.
Remember, maintaining a healthy diet should be enjoyable and sustainable. By incorporating variety and flexibility into your eating habits, you can help ensure that your healthy diet stays interesting and enjoyable over the long term.