It seems like just about every day we read of either some new wonder food, or that a food we have been eating is no longer good for us. So what is a healthy diet? What should we be striving to include in our daily diet?
Presumably, taking care of our health and maintaining a healthy weight is the goal of eating a healthy diet so we need to eat from a wide variety of foods in order to obtain the nutrients our bodies need on a daily basis. Every food item contains a variety of nutrients, some have more fibre, some more of one vitamin or mineral, some have more protein, or other nutrient, so it makes sense to choose from a good variety of foods each day.
I don’t believe in overly restrictive diets because that takes the balance away, so unless someone has allergies or intolerances to things like dairy and gluten, it’s good to include some in our diet, but they need to be of the right type and we don’t need a huge amount every day.
So, what should we be aiming to eat every day?
- Moderate amounts of low fat protein (lean meat/chicken/fish, eggs, low fat dairy, nuts, legumes, etc). Protein is essential for all the growth, maintenance and repair jobs in our body, as well as for our immune system and our hormones.
- Large amounts of fibrous vegetables! If there is one thing that seems to get missed out of a lot of people’s diets, it is veggies, yet these are super important as not only are they a good source of fibre, they also contain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, as well as other protective substances.
- Moderate amounts of low starch carbohydrates. Carbohydrates are our bodies preferred source of fuel, so we need to consume some, but we don’t necessarily need a huge amount unless we are athletes putting in a lot of training. Apart from some animal products and some fats, just about everything else contains carbohydrates so we generally tend to get plenty in our diet. Choose from grainy bread, whole grains, fruit and veggies and a smaller amount of rice, potato, kumara, etc.
- Fat. We all need fat. We could not survive without fat in our diet, but again, it comes down to what type and how much. Good fats like avocado, seeds, nuts, natural nut butter and cold pressed oils are good sources, but in moderation as any kind of fat carries more than twice as much energy (calories) than carbohydrates or proteins do.
- Water. Although not food, we absolutely need water every day and more than you probably think, so remember to drink regularly during the day and if you aren’t keen on plain water, try teas or sparkling water for variety.
Getting the above items in the right amounts, most days, will go a long way to both helping keep you healthy and also your energy, mood and performance levels high.
Do I need to mention that alcohol is not a food group? That it really should not be part of your daily diet, but rather put back into the ‘special’ category, for occasional use. Perhaps with Christmas functions just around the corner I should pop that one in!
Next month I’ll give some suggestions on how to avoid weight gain over the festive period and I’m sure that alcohol will get a mention. Something to think about is that if you were to consume 1 glass of wine every day, 365 days of the year that would come to around 55,000 calories, the equivalent of what is contained in 6.84 kilos of fat. That is just one glass per day…….!
With only 7 weeks to Christmas it is time to get into gear if your goal is to drop a few kilos before Santa makes his appearance. Most people can drop 3-7 kilos in that time frame, so what are you waiting for, call or email me right now!!