When you mention healthy eating to one, more often than not, the likelihood is that thoughts of fruits and vegetables flood one’s mind. Fruits and vegetables are an integral part of healthy eating, but there is more to healthy eating than just eating fruits and vegetables. Granted, fruits and vegetables have such a high quality of nutritious goodness, but healthy eating has other aspects and considerations too, to take into account. Today I will address just five of these.
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1. Good Food Choices – Fruits and vegetables are crucial to healthy eating, but there are a lot of other healthy foods that are not fruits and vegetables, but just as important. A balanced diet should, ideal, contain foods from all the main nutrient sources, which includes meats, fish, dairy products and of course, fruits and vegetables. For example, choosing lean meat, or cutting off excess fats from one’s meats, and eating at least two portions of oily fish twice a week is, perhaps way healthier than cutting all animal products from one’s diet. High fibre foods are good not only at keeping your digestive tract healthy, but they help lower cholesterol and regulate blood sugar levels.

Vegans and vegetarians need to be very careful with the choices they make, as their diets might lack in some of the essential nutrients that can be easily obtained from animal products. Nutritional supplementation may be one way of ensuring that they get all the nutrients they need. Making good food choices goes a long way in promoting good health. It’s no surprise, therefore, to learn that most people who struggle with weight eat the wrong kinds of food, most of the time.

2. Portion Sizes – Portion sizes are, perhaps as important as healthy food choices, as far as healthy eating is concerned. You’ve, no doubt come across an expression to the effect that too much of a good thing is wonderful, but unfortunately, this does not hold true when it comes to nutrition. Most of the overweight and obese people are overweight because they eat more than they ought to. If the intake far out-weighs energy expenditure the result is an overall storage of energy in the body, as fat. The more one over-eats the larger one’s fat cells become and the more overweight and unhealthier they become. The trick is to eat enough to cover one’s energy expenditure. Remember, as well, that healthy foods do have calories just like any other foods and if you over indulge you’d store the excess as mere fat, not “healthy fat”.

3. Water – A lot of people don’t realize that water forms an essential part of healthy eating. Water, in the body, is a medium of transport carrying nutrients, electrolytes, blood gases, waste materials and heat throughout the body. Water is provided by both fluids and the food we eat. It is involved in the body’s chemical reactions that keep the body alive and performing efficiently. Sufficient water or fluid intake helps keep our bodies healthy and rejuvenated.

4. Timing of Meals – a lot of ill-informed people skip meals in an effort to lose weight. Sure, it might work and they may shed off the excess pounds, but it is unhealthy. These people are prone to constipation, which in turn may lead to haemorrhoids and anal bleeding. The trick is not to skip meals, but to have regular small meals throughout the day. Avoiding meals close to bedtime may also be beneficial in promoting better quality sleep and avoiding indigestion.

5. Right Balance – Perhaps balance is the most important aspect of healthy eating. Striking the right balance is the key. Balance encompasses all of the above four factors. If one’s diet comprises mostly, or solely, of the right healthy foods, rather than the unhealthy ones, one is almost guaranteed a healthy life. The unhealthy foods include high fat, high sugar and high salt, which are detrimental to one’s health, especially if eaten excessively or exclusively. One also needs to balance one’s food intake against one’s lifestyle and activities to ensure that no excessive energy is stored in the body as fat. Balancing all the factors above is paramount to healthy eating.

Healthy eating is all about balance. Get the balance right and you don’t have to worry about your weight, and it improves your overall health outcomes. It all starts with making the right food choices, in the right quantities and at appropriate times, whist consuming about two litres of water per day. Eat right, live right.