Eating a balanced diet is an important part of staying healthy. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a healthy diet helps to protect against malnutrition and diseases like diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and cancer.
Here are seven easy, evidence-backed tips to make your daily eating habits healthier!
1. Plant-powered plate: elevate your greens
Make plants the star of your plate. Opt for colorful vegetables and fruits, aiming to fill half your plate with these nutrient-packed powerhouses.
2. Whole grains for wholesome living
Swap refined grains– like white bread and sugary snacks– for whole grains like quinoa, brown rice, and whole wheat bread. Whole grains are rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, which help your digestive system and keep you feeling full and energized throughout the day.
3. Legumes, seeds, and nuts: tiny powerhouses of nutrition
Add legumes like lentils and chickpeas, along with seeds and nuts, into your meals. They're a great source of protein, support heart health and provide essential nutrients.
4. Mindful meat choices: lean and green
If you're not ready to bid farewell to animal-based foods, opt for leaner, greener choices. Eating poultry like chicken or turkey and fish instead of fatty and processed meats like sausages reduces your intake of unhealthy fat and supports your heart health.
5. Balancing act: harmony on your plate
A balanced diet is all about moderation and variety. Include a mix of different food groups in each meal, ensuring you get a range of nutrients.
6. Trim the fat: smart cooking, smart eating
Consider your cooking methods. Grilling, baking, steaming, and sauteing are all healthier options than deep-frying, for example. You can also reduce unhealthy fat intake by trimming visible fat from meats, and using heart-healthy oils like olive oil when you cook.
7. Lowering sugar and salt: flavorful alternatives
Limiting added sugars and salt in your diet is crucial for heart health and overall well-being. Gradually reduce your reliance on sugary snacks and opt for fresh fruits to satisfy your sweet tooth. Experiment with herbs and spices to season your meals, instead of relying on salt.
Your ideal diet will also depend on any medical conditions you may have. For example, in the COPD Podcast, respiratory therapist Stephanie Williams recommends people with COPD don’t eat “foods that cause a lot of gas in the stomach because that's going to push up on the diaphragm, causing those feelings of shortness of breath.”
These are general tips for eating healthy– if you have any questions about what diet is right for you, talk to your healthcare provider, who can help you design a program that works for you.
To learn more about eating well, please listen to the following episodes of our podcasts: