Most people have some idea of what a healthy diet looks like. I am almost certain that if you ask a few random people on the street, they could at least name a few healthy food options. The obvious ones are fruit and veggies, then people might say dairy and meat and then they would throw in whatever else they could think of. The odd thing is, despite some healthy food groups seeming obvious, most people struggle to stick to them. It is the addictive nature of the human brain which often leads to bad choices, hijacking our best intentions. There will be several more articles detailing how to influence our eating behaviours, but for now lets get back on task. Healthy eating.
Firstly I will acknowledge the existence of allergies and other conditions affecting the dietary choices for some. I will also accept that, we are all very different, meaning there is no single perfect diet suitable for everyone. There is however, some basic guidelines people can follow to keep their nutritional health well on track.
1. Vegetables Come First- Yes, vegetables, obvious to some, but not to all. Vegetables contain many vitamins and minerals, which are greatly beneficial to your health. They generally contain lower amounts of sugar than fruit does and come in a wide variety. Green vegetables should come first, but it is essential to eat a variety of different coloured vegetables as the colour often determines what types of vitamins and minerals are contained within.
2. Fruit- Fruit should also be high on your list for healthy foods. Fruit also contains many healthy nutrients. Some fruits are loaded with good stuff, berries in particular, which are high in antioxidants. As fruit contains a higher amount of sugar than most vegetables do, it is important to not overdo it. 1-3 portions of fruit a day is ample.
3. Healthy Fats- Olive oil, avocado, nuts and salmon are on the list for healthy fats. Fat has received an undeserved reputation over the past 80 years thanks to the influence of money on research. The important thing to understand is the distinction between healthy and bad fats. Stick to the list above and if you want more options, there are plenty of other sources of nutritional information out there.
4. Lean Grass Fed & Free Range Meat- I would not recommend an excess of meat as it can also impact cardiovascular health negatively, but some meat can be good for your health. I recommend grass fed and free range meat, but don't overdo the red meat. Smaller portions will help keep you on track.
5. Herbs, Spices and Vinaigrette- We tend to go overboard when it comes to sauces and dressings. Rather than lathering our meals with an excess of these sugar or fat laden creamy toppings, a far better option would be to use herbs, spices and vinaigrette. Lemon and lime juice are also healthy options.
This is a basic list, which can and should form the foundation of a healthy diet. Simply add water as the primary beverage and you are well on your way to optimum health.