Essentials for a Healthy Diet

About a year and a half ago I began a quest primarily to lose some weight and get in shape. Along the way,  however, I learned a lot about nutrition and what my body needs to stay healthy.

These are some things that I now consider to be essential for a healthy lifestyle and a healthy diet.

1) Drinking enough water.
The human body is about 60% water! A general guideline is to drink enough cups of water to equal half your body weight in ounces each day. This is important for keeping hydrated, energized and healthy. I always keep my water bottle with me so that I can make sure I’ve drunk enough throughout the day.

2) Eating lots of veggies.
Vegetables contain many vitamins and nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy. Some veggies also provide your body with fiber and complex carbohydrates, so they’ll keep you feeling satisfied longer for fewer calories. Here are some ways that I incorporate lots of veggies into my diet.

  • Have a salad! You can make a filling meal out of your salad by adding toppings such as beans, chicken, fish, flax seeds, etc to it. Sometime I use the main course of a meal as a topping!
  • Keep veggies chopped up in the fridge for snacking. Celery, carrots, cucumbers and pepper strips are great to have around when you feel like crunching on something.
  • Try to include a veggie with lunch and supper if possible.

The more raw veggies you can eat, the better. If you need to cook them, try steaming them lightly.

3) Eating healthy fats and protein
Eating fat may sound counter intuitive for a healthy lifestyle, but it’s actually not! Your brain is about 60% fat, and eating the right kinds of fats can help improve your skin, energy, and even your memory! These are some good fats that I like to include in my diet.

  • Raw coconut oil
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Avocados
  • Nuts (almonds, walnuts and Brazil nuts in particular)
  • Seeds (flaxseed and chia seeds are a couple that I like)

Protein is very important too, since it helps to build and repair your muscles, bones and skin, among other things. These are some good sources of protein.

  • Fish
  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Eggs
  • Beans
  • Turkey

Try to get your meat and eggs from organic sources if you can. If you know local farmers that sell these products, that’s great!

4) Eating whole foods.
Whole foods are foods that are as close to their original or natural state as possible. In other words, they’re not processed with lots of artificial/added ingredients, chemicals or preservatives. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, eggs and meat are all whole foods when they follow that criteria. When possible, I like to get local, organic produce, eggs and meat. That way I can be more sure of what is in the foods I’m eating. If you have allergies, eating whole foods will save you having to worry about many extra ingredients which may be detrimental to your health.

5) Enjoying your food!
I like to enjoy my food, and I highly recommend that you do the same! Think about what you’re eating, and chew your food slowly. It takes your body about 20 minutes to register that it’s full. Your body appreciates nourishing food, especially when you eat it at the right speed and in the right quantities. Find some foods and recipes that you like , but make sure you have variety in your eating plan, too. It’s fun to find new, healthy foods to enjoy!

By eating foods that are nutritious for you, you’ll be doing yourself a big favor. Not everyone can have the same diet plan, so it’s important to find one that works for you.

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