These days, people are always on the hunt for the best ways to lose weight. With so many diets out there, it can get truly overwhelming! Which ones actually work, and which might be harmful to your health?
It doesn’t have to be that hard! Simply switching to “healthy” foods in general can get you on the right track. What are these healthy foods? Read on to find out!
Eating healthy simply means eating whole, natural foods. They’re usually less processed (containing less harmful chemicals), packed with healthy nutrients, and are more likely to result in weight loss and maintain your long-term health. Not only are they often more nutritious than processed foods, but they tend to carry fewer calories. However, bear in mind that if you’re still consuming excess calories, even from these kinds of foods, you won’t lose weight!
So, what's in a healthy diet?
A healthy diet should include the following:
- Foods that are rich in essential micronutrients. These will nourish your body, prevent nutritional deficiencies and provide you with lasting energy.
- The right balance of amino acids. Protein helps increase metabolism while providing satiety, which helps in weight regulation. Examples of protein sources are chicken, fish, eggs, soy products like tofu, and beans.
- Fruits and vegetables. This cannot be stressed enough. Fruits and vegetables are packed with natural goodness and contain vitamins, fibre, and antioxidants.
- Foods that are high in fibre. As mentioned, these can be found in fruits and vegetables. But they are also present in whole grain products such as oats, as well as seeds and legumes.
Switching to whole, natural foods is a big step towards achieving your goals, but adapting tactics and lifestyle habits to support it make it much more effective. Which eating and lifestyle habits can you adopt?
• Evaluate your eating habits - When do you usually find yourself craving junk food? Or when is the usual time that you catch yourself eating unhealthy foods? Knowing the situations that cause these habits and do your best to avoid them or replace them. Replacing these situations with healthier habits can go a long way.
• Try to avoid shopping when hungry - The cardinal rule of grocery shopping is that you avoid doing it whilst hungry. Aside from encouraging you to buy nutrient-poor, calorie-dense foods, this may also make you spend more at the store. Have a list of foods that you need written up before you head out. This will also allow you to plan healthy meals for days or even weeks ahead - and save you a few pennies! Stocking up on healthy foods at home will help you eat better.
• Eat properly – Plan your meals to be eaten at the dinner table. Why? If you eat in front of your computer or somewhere aside from a proper dining area, it’s easy to forget that you’ve eaten, which may lead to you eating more. You’ll usually also be consuming snack foods or takeaways in these areas! Also, eating in a proper dining setting can enhance meal enjoyment, help you to eat more slowly, and feel more satisfied overall.
• Try not to snack after dinner - This is one of the common mistakes which contributes to weight gain. Of course, this depends on your schedule and personal needs. But generally, if you feel the urge to eat after dinner, try to go for lighter, healthier options.
Processed, calorific foods (such as biscuits, energy bars, and ice cream) tend to contain a lot of fat and sugar. Processed meat and fish such as fish fingers and chicken nuggets tend to be pre-fried and may contain high amounts of fat. Eating whole foods that are minimally processed and building home-cooking habits may help you avoid adding unnecessary calories, sugar, and fat into your diet.