5 Goals for Good Health

Developing and maintaining good health need not be difficult. Take steps to achieve these goals that will be the basis of a healthy eating plan and pave the way to better health in the long term. Overall, the goal is to have a healthy lifestyle all year which is so much better for our health than embarking on a short-term diet for a week or two every summer.

Changing how, when and what we eat can help us to look and feel better, provide us with the energy we need to be happy and productive, as well as stave off all manner of illness. When considering ways to improve our eating habits we should think about mealtimes, snacks and drinks, our choices at the supermarket, the recipes we use at home and eating out.

Choose healthy meals – what do healthy meals look like?

Foods from each of the five food groups can be eaten throughout the day. Eating a wide variety of foods will provide the important nutrients we need for good health.

See the Eatwell Guide for information on eating a variety of foods.

For example, a main meal might include:

  • Lean protein – like chicken, fish, eggs or tofu
  • Starchy carbohydrates – such as a small baked potato, brown rice or a wholemeal roll – choose wholemeal or wholegrain options whenever possible
  • Vegetables – try broccoli, spinach or a salad

When shopping at the supermarket choose foods that will make it possible to prepare healthy meals and snacks at home. I like to look out for recipes that encourage me to use ingredients that I haven’t tried before, like different beans and pulses, since I am currently trying to eat less meat for health and sustainability reasons. When eating out choose meals that include proteins and vegetables – for example, a Sunday Roast at the pub is a great choice.

Maintain your energy levels

When we eat the right foods and drink plenty of fluids we can sustain good energy levels throughout the day. A good variety of foods will include a combination of  protein, complex carbohydrates and fibre – for example:

  • Breakfast – wholegrain cereal with milk, fruit, juice, tea or coffee
  • Lunch – an egg sandwich made with wholemeal bread, yoghurt, fruit, water
  • Dinner – Jacket potato with beans and side salad, fruit, water, tea or coffee

Healthy snacks between meals may help us to avoid hunger, fatigue, food cravings and energy slumps. Healthy snacks should consist of a drink and a small amount of food that also incorporates a combination of  protein, complex carbohydrates and fibre – for example:

  • fruit, a small piece of cheese, water, tea or coffee
  • crackers with homous or nut butter, vegetable crudités (eg cucumber or carrots), water, tea or coffee

Keeping your fluid intake consistently high is a surprisingly effective way to maintain your energy levels, so we should aim to drink at least two litres of fluid every day (includes water, milk, juice, tea, coffee).

Eat a proper breakfast

Don’t skip breakfast since your energy levels will already be low after a night’s sleep.

Eat a healthy, filling breakfast that includes protein – such as milk, yoghurt, nuts and seeds, beans, eggs, or meat. Don’t forget your starchy carbohydrates and fibre, as found in cereal, muesli, porridge or wholemeal toast. Whenever possible avoid highly processed foods with added sugar (such as some breakfast cereals).

When short on time grab a yoghurt and fruit before leaving the house and eat these while travelling or at work.

Choose good fats for great health

Some fats are beneficial to the body and it is necessary to have fat in our diet for optimal health, including good hair, skin, nails and a well-functioning body.

Healthy fats are naturally found in a range of foods, including:

  • Oily fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna steaks, trout, and sardines)
  • Avocadoes
  • Olives
  • Raw nuts and their oils (eg: walnut oil)
  • Seeds
  • Wheatgerm

Choose healthy fats instead of saturated fats (like butter) for better health.

Treat yourself occasionally

If you choose healthy options at least 80 percent of the time it is possible to eat the occasional dessert or enjoy a party without feeling guilty. If there are times when chocolate becomes a necessity, have a few squares of good quality dark chocolate – preferably with more than 70% cocoa (the higher the cocoa content, the lower the sugar and fat content).

As long as treats are occasional (that is, not every day) and do not become a habit, we can indulge occasionally.

Learning about healthier options and establishing good eating habits can help us to develop and maintain better health. The goal of good health is within our reach.

Enjoy Good Food for Good Health

An introduction to healthy eating in Latin America

When travelling in Central America recently I was asked to provide an overview of good nutrition and healthy eating for a Latin American audience.

Nutrition: An introduction to healthy eating in Latin America

What do you think?

 

Food Myth: Eat meat for protein

True or false? You need to eat meat to get protein

False – There’s plenty of protein in plant foods. It’s a popular view that you need to eat meat to obtain protein, however this is far from the truth. Protein exists in many plant-based foods and in appreciable quantities. While you may not want to eat a vegetarian diet 24/7, some meat-free days may help your health and your finances.

The UK recommendations for protein are about 40g a day for women (weighing about 65kg and between 19-50 years old) and 50g a day for men (80kg and 19-50 years old). Most people get plenty of protein from eating a balanced diet, even when the diet does not contain meat everyday (see further details below).

Eggs contain perfect quality protein against which all other proteins are measured. Protein quality is a reflection of the number and balance of essential amino acids (protein building blocks) present.

  • One 50g egg ~ 6g protein

Dairy foods are great sources of protein.

  • 1 cup of reduced fat milk ~ 9g protein
  • 200g/7oz of low fat yoghurt ~ 13g protein
  • 40g/1½oz of cheese (hard variety such as cheddar) ~ 9g protein

Fish & seafood are excellent sources of protein (pesco-vegetarians eat fish, but not meat)

  • 100g/3½oz white fish (cooked) ~ 25g of protein
  • 100g/3½oz prawns/shrimp (cooked) ~ 24g protein
  • 100g/3½oz squid/octopus (cooked) ~ 21g protein

Legumes (pulses) are great sources of protein.

  • ½ cup baked beans in tomato sauce ~ 7g protein
  • ½ cup canned, drained cannellini beans ~ 8g protein
  • 2/3 cup cooked red lentils ~ 9g protein
  • 1 cup cooked split peas ~ 12g protein
  • 1 cup cooked soy beans ~ 23g protein
  • 100g (3 1/2 oz) tofu (raw) ~ 12g protein
  • 1 cup light soy milk ~ 5g protein

Breakfast cereals, breads and grains are surprisingly high in protein, and the relatively high protein content of wheat is one of the reasons it has become such a widely grown staple food crop.

  • ¾ cup Special K Original ~ 6g protein
  • ¾ cup All-Bran ~ 7g protein
  • ¼ cup raw traditional rolled oats ~ 3g protein
  • 1 slice soy and linseed bread ~ 6g protein
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice ~ 5g protein
  • 1 cup cooked pasta ~ 7g protein
  • 1 cup cooked soba/buckwheat noodles ~ 9g protein
  • 1 cup cooked pearl barley ~ 6g protein
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa ~ 4g protein

Nuts and seeds are super nutritious foods that also contain protein.

  • A small handful (30g/1oz) of most nuts or seeds ~ 5g protein

Example meat-free menu

  • ½ cup oats 6g
  • 1 cup milk 9g
  • 2 slices soy and linseed bread 12g
  • 20g cheese 5g
  • 1 cup soba noodles 9g
  • 100g tofu 12g
  • 1 tub yoghurt 13g
  • 30g mixed nuts 5g

TOTAL 69g

So, you don’t need to eat meat to get enough protein because it is easily available from plant foods. Meat does provide other important nutrients (including iron, zinc and vitamin B12) more efficiently than plant foods, which is why our health benefits from eating a variety of foods during the week.

Start the NEW YEAR with a promise to eat a wider variety of foods and enjoy meat-free mondays this year.

Adpated from article – http://ginews.blogspot.com/#mmon