You have heard it million times – you are what you eat. While it sounds basic and intuitive, it is important to remember that our diet is a key feature of our everyday life, and it influences almost every part of it. So today we would like to share a handful of tips on how to improve your dietary habits and make better, healthier choices in your kitchen.
Where should we start?
Proper diet bases on two important pillars. First of all, you need to make sure that you have enough energy to support your lifestyle. We usually measure those in calories. You can find out how many calories does your food have by reading the label. Essentially, if you consume more calories than you spend, you will put on weight. That is why it is very important to know more about your energy output during the day. An average man should consume 2500 calories, while woman needs only 2000 of them, to maintain their weight. You have to remember that it varies drastically between people, and depends on many attributes, including your activity level, age and current weight. But to put it simply – if you eat less than your recommended daily intake, you should lose weight!
Second important element of balanced diet is eating a wide variety of food. Our bodies need many different nutrients, minerals and vitamins, so we need to somehow obtain them! By mixing vegetables, fruits, meat, fish, grains and dairy, we allow our bodies to stay in peak performance from the dietary point of view. Are you allergic for certain foods or perhaps you opt to not eat meat or other products? Remember to seek alternative sources of protein and vitamins!
Now that we covered the very basics – on with the tips!
Eat small, but don’t skip meals!
Eating smaller meals throughout the day is a great dietary advice. Instead of eating a big, heavy lunch which puts focus of your entire body on digestion, you may opt for several smaller portions. These will help you control your cravings at work, and also allows for better calorie control. A small salad, handful of mixed nuts or a small bowl of granola are perfect candidates for snacking!
Don’t forget about the salt!
Premade snacks, fast foods and chips have one thing in common. They usually come loaded with salt! Sodium chloride is one of the biggest problems nowadays, as high amounts of it may lead to raised blood pressure, which in return may end in cardiac arrest and stroke. Try cutting down salt by adding less of it to your meals. Also you can check the labels to find out the amount of sodium in your food.
Keep your water bottle close!
Hydration is another important aspect! There is a heated discussion based on the exact amount, but your safe bet is at least 6 glasses of water each day. This can be higher during the summer, as we need more water in high temperatures. Remember that when you feel thirsty, your body is telling you that it needs hydration, so make sure you have your water bottle or a drink on you! Also, it is basic knowledge, but worth repeating: fizzy drinks are loaded with sugar, which is both horrible for your weight, and also devastating to your teeth! If you prefer, you can also go for skimmed milk as a refreshing go-to drink of your choice. Craving for something tasty? Put few slices of lemon or lime in your water – refreshing taste will surely help you during long days.
What about fish?
Mediterranean and Japanese cuisine are considered to be the healthiest in the world, and a lot of that is connected to plentiful seafood in these areas. Fish are especially beneficial, as they are rich in minerals and nutrients, as well as omega-3 fatty acids. They help lowering cholesterol level, enhance your mental abilities and allow for younger brains to grow – that is why they are especially helpful for children. But remember that canned fish are usually brined, which means tons of added salt!
Carbohydrates – are they all that bad?
Actually, this is more complicated. Yes, high sugar intake is bad for you, but not all carbohydrates are created equal. If you stick to starchy ones, like potatoes, pasta, cereal or rice, you should be fine. Thanks to the high amounts of fiber in them, as well as low sucrose level, they are much better health-wise. Finally, one last tip – cut down the additional fats! Less butter on bread or very rich, creamy sauces added to your pasta means fewer calories consumed. Not only that, but you will also start experimenting with different toppings, like herbs or spices!