For us as a family in Germany, eating healthily used to mean ‘eating up’, whether in the school canteen (otherwise you weren’t allowed to get down from the table) or at home. Because, “only those who eat up ensure that the weather won’t be bad tomorrow” (yes, this saying really exists in Germany! )
Our meals were predominantly
meat and potatoes. Any vegetables we did have were cooked to death and smothered
in creamy sauces. Wholegrain anything was rare…
Over the years my views on this topic have changed somewhat. I have learnt to be more aware of what I put into my body. That I should eat slowly, making an effort to consciously chew my food. I should stop before I am full, and what I put on my family’s plate is important.
The key to healthy eating is consuming the right quantity of calories for your activity level, so you balance the energy you consume with the energy you use.
Having a balanced diet by eating a wide range of foods makes sure you’re getting all the nutrients your body needs.
Here are my 10 tips on how to eat healthy:
- Carbohydrates: Choose high-fibre or whole-grain varieties like whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, and potatoes with their skins on. They contain more insoluble fibre than white or refined starchy carbohydrates and can help keep you feeling full for longer.
- Fruit and vegetables: It’s recommended to eat at least 5 portions of different fruits and vegetables daily. Fresh is best, but you can also choose frozen, canned, dried, or juiced. Choosing grapes instead of raisins, will help to sate your appetite whilst reducing your sugar intake; or why not slice up a banana with some natural yoghurt for your breakfast. You could swap your usual mid-morning snack for some fresh fruit!
- Fish: Try to eat at least 2 servings of fish per week, including at least 1 serving of oily fish. Oily fish, such as salmon, trout, herring, sardines, pilchards or mackerel are high in omega-3 fats, which can help prevent heart disease.
- Eat less processed saturated fat: Consuming more saturated fat than your calorific requirements leads to fatty deposits being stored, think bums and tums! (or more importantly around the heart). Saturated fat is hidden in many processed foods, such as: sausages, cakes, biscuits, pies & ready meals. Choose foods that contain unsaturated fats instead, such as vegetable oils, oily fish and avocados.
- Avoid sugar: Regular consumption of foods and drinks; such as soft drinks and also clear fruit juices; that are high in sugar increases the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes and tooth decay. Food labels can help. Use them to check the amount of sugar. More than 22.5 g total sugars per 100 g means the food is high in sugar, while 5 g total sugar or less per 100 g means the food is low in sugar. Natural sugars like those found in fruit or milk don’t necessarily have to be reduced.
- Less salt: Eating too much salt can increase blood pressure. People with high blood pressure are more likely to develop heart disease or have a stroke. Even if you don’t add salt to your food, you may still be eating too much. About three-quarters of the salt you eat is already in the food you buy, like breakfast cereals, soups, breads, and sauces. Use food labels to help to cut down. More than 1.5 g of salt per 100 g means that the food has a high salt content. Adults and children over 11 years of age should not consume more than 6 g of salt (about a teaspoon) per day. Younger children should have even less.
- Get active: Regular exercise helps reduce the risk of serious diseases. When trying to lose weight, try to eat less and be more active. Eating a healthy, balanced diet can help you maintain a healthy weight. Remember, the more muscles mass you have, the stronger you will be and the more calories will be burned, that’s definitely a big motivation to exercise more!
- Don’t get thirsty: Drink at least 1,5l preferably of water, per day (carbonated drinks, energy drinks and alcohol don’t count!). You can also drink fresh juices or smoothies but try to avoid drinking more than 1 glass of sweet fruit drinks per day. The best way to remember to drink correctly is to have a 1,5l bottle of water next to you while you work and have it finished when you finish work.
- Don’t skip breakfast: Some people skip breakfast because they think it will help them lose weight. A healthy breakfast high in fibre and low in fat, sugar, and salt can be part of a balanced diet and help you get the nutrients you need for good health.A low-sugar wholegrain muesli with chopped fruit on top makes a tasty and healthy breakfast.
- Perhaps the most important tip is: Avoid processed foods, this includes 0% and low fat foods, such as yoghurt, semi-skimmed & skimmed milks. “Vegan” foods which exist just to follow the meat free trend as they still contain chemical sweeteners, extra processed sugars, hydrogenated fats and a whole bunch of chemical rubbish that your body can’t process! It is much healthier to eat seasonal, natural, fresh, full fat and wholegrain foods, it requires more work but will leave you feeling fuller and more satisfied – and a little smug!
written by your SISter in Wellness Julia