Health is wealth. Without a healthy body and mind, nothing we do will bear results. We strive to achieve many goals in our lives but we cannot excel if our health does not permit us.
How to Make Healthier Food Choices
With the changing lifestyles, it is more important nowadays to concentrate on our well-being and make the right choices of food, the healthy choices.
Food is necessary not a luxury
We all know that food is an integral part of our living. But overindulgence is unnecessary. A balanced diet is needed to keep us fit and healthy and the amount of calorie intake by any individual may differ from each other. Nevertheless, it should include all the major components of food viz. carbohydrates or carbs as generally referred proteins and fats.
The right dose of carbohydrate
The whole grain concept is recently gaining popularity as people are slowly accepting food items like whole-wheat bread made of whole wheat flour! Since they include the qualities of the entire grain, the wholesomeness of the food is retained. It keeps us full for longer periods because of its high fiber contents and complex carbohydrates, thus, preventing overeating.
Instead of choosing white flour and food items like white bread, croissants, pasta, it is better to go for whole wheat flour, whole-grain bread, including wheat and rye, and whole wheat pasta. Brown rice, whole-grain cereal, oatmeal, and low-fat granola are always better than white rice and packed sugary cereals. Food items like doughnuts, rolls, and muffins often contain calories containing 50% fat. Better choose lighter options like angel food cake and small grain bagels that will satisfy your sweet tooth without adding the extra.
The inevitable protein
Proteins are necessary for the body as they help in growth. It is especially required by growing kids. Both animals, as well as plant proteins, are helpful. Animal proteins include poultry, fish, and meat. Baking, broiling, grilling, and roasting are the healthiest ways of having poultry. Cooking in the low-fat medium can enrich their properties. Fish are a storehouse of proteins and sea fish like salmon and trout, contain a large portion of the polyunsaturated Omega -3 fatty acids that are vital for body functions. If fresh fish is not available, we can always go for canned frozen ones. However, fish canned in oil or prepared with butter or high-fat sauce should be avoided. It is best to poach, steam, bake, broil, or grill the fish. It not only makes it tasty but healthy too. Talking about meats, we should always opt for lean meats including pork, lamb, chicken, turkey, and beef without the excess fats. Regular ground beef, pepperoni, bologna, salami, and regular hot dogs should be avoided. Broiling, grilling, baking, and roasting are the healthiest ways to prepare meat.
Plant proteins in items like lentils, peas, beans, and soy are low-fat healthy protein choices. They are cholesterol-free substitutes for animal proteins that also add fiber to the diet.
Fats and oils
We cannot think without fats and oils as these are the basic cooking mediums. However, excess of these things has been linked to cardiovascular diseases, obesity, several types of cancers, and osteoarthritis. High amounts of saturated and Trans fats add extra calories to our diets. Instead of using butter or margarine, we can use olive, soybean, and canola oils. Regular mayonnaise and salad dressings can be replaced with nonfat options. Also using non-stick cookwares can reduce the use of excess fats while cooking.
Dairy products can also add sufficient fats to the diet. Always go for skim or non-dairy milk such as soy, rice, and almond milk. Low-fat versions of buttermilk, cheese, cream cheese, yogurts can replace the regular ones for a healthier choice.
Add color to your lives for a brighter future
A recent study from the Harvard University of US in collaboration with the Zhejiang University, China, has reported that simple changes in our diets can prevent cognitive decline, which is an age-related problem. A public health issue of concern, the researchers stated that the inclusion of colorful fruits and vegetables contains a special antioxidant component called flavonoids that can retard the loss in cognitive function. However, the use of such healthy inputs along with creams or sauces should be avoided. Vegetables, raw, steamed, boiled, or baked and tossed with a small amount of olive oil, salt, and pepper can be opted for in place of fried ones.
Healthy food choices along with adequate amounts of exercise can bring vast changes in our lives. Cutting down on habits of smoking, consuming alcohol and sweetened drinks can add those extra miles by saving us from unnecessary diseases. So next time, choose your food wisely.
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