Healthy Me, Happy Me!
Its been quite a while since this corona pandemic started. And, let admit it, 2020 was a tough year! It has been a year where we remained isolated, away from social life and where our longing for our family and friends grew. All those yearnings and feelings of boredom could lead to one thing – a time for you to open your fridge, cabinet and drawers to indulge yourself with foods. Our appetite has been developing and for some, food is what’s always in our thought. Grabbing snacks during online lessons, having dessert after meals and crunching chips when watching TV. They all add up, while you might not even notice what effects it causing to your body. Everyone has their ideal, unique diet and our diets are all diverse. We consume what we like and everyone has different tastes. Nevertheless, I’m here to discuss what real food you have to consume and what you have to avoid, for a healthy, happy you!
Firstly, it is essential to eat nutritious foods and to eat in the right portion. Beneficial foods are what makes our body healthy and to function well. Don’t you remember the good old days, as a child, we learnt the “food pyramid”, to keep healthy? Observing the “food pyramid”, carbohydrates is what most needs to be consumed then vegetables, fruits, dairies and meats. But, it’s quite the contrary. We need to consume more greens, plant-based foods than carbohydrates and (healthy) fats are needed more than carbohydrates. A guide shown by “Harvard’s Healthy Eating Plate” for healthy eating, recommends us to consume mostly vegetables, fruit, and whole grains, healthy fats, and healthy proteins.
Furthermore, eating more than your body needs is harmful to the body. The body needs space for water and oxygen too, so it is vital to be aware of how much you eat. But, how do you know how much to eat and when to stop eating? Actually, It all depends on what you eat. For example, high-fibre foods make you full for a long time, as it takes some time to digest and high-sugar foods, quite the opposite. Taking your time when eating is the key to knowing when you have had plenty of what you are consuming and to keep you away from feeling extremely full. Once you have eaten at a slower pace, you would feel more blessed, nourished and would enjoy your meal more than when you ate at a faster pace. Our mind takes time to tell us when we have had enough of something, so, don’t forget that the slower you eat the less you end up eating. Did you know, researchers have observed that the average size of a dinner plate in the 1950s was 9 inches in diameter. By the 80’s it had grown to 11 inches and today the average dinner plate is a massive 13 inches! The increase in obesity rates corresponds almost exactly to the increase in dinner plate size. This is a massive signal to us to be alert of what we eat and in what quantity.
Secondly, destructive foods that are bad for our health, should be avoided. It is known that fats, oils and sweets are all unhealthy, but sometimes we eat too many of these without recognising them. A team of researchers at the University of North Carolina organised a detailed survey of the packaged foods and drinks that are purchased in American grocery stores and found that 60 per cent include some form of added sugar. Packaging can make your food look all good and healthy, but the reality is that it isn’t. No matter where you are or what store you go to, there will always be unhealthy options available and things like sugar can be hidden behind the labels. For example, cereal, a common meal eaten at breakfast, is labelled as something healthy that provides you with energies and vitamins. However, the average box of cereal generally contains 19.8 grams of sugar for every 100 grams of cereal (one serving). Per day, our body can tolerate 6 teaspoons of sugar (or 25 grams), however, having cereal for breakfast (depending which you buy), would account for more than half of your sugar intake! The word sugar could be hidden in labels and nutrition information like:
Some sweeteners can even be more dangerous to the body than sugar and have higher risks of getting diabetes.
Sugar is one case, but the other is fast foods. Consuming fast food once a week increases the chance of heart disease by 20% and consuming it 2-3 times a week would increase by 50%. Finally, if you eat fast foods more than 4 times a week it increases the chance of heart disease by 80%. We better beware of foods served from outside the house, as we don’t know what goes into the food. Home-cooked meals and plant-based foods are highly recommended. In addition, limiting sugar amounts or even forbidding unhealthy food consumption, would be a pleasure to your body. However, it would need strong will-power to put an end to unhealthy living.
Do you want solutions and smart tips on how to eat healthy? Here are good examples of how:
Place healthy foods in front of the fridge, to keep you away from eating unhealthy foods.
Use smaller plates, so this would keep you away from eating massive amounts in a larger plate.
Craving for sweets, sugary snacks? Fill yourself with nature’s goods, such as fruits.
Look at labels when shopping and read the nutrition information.
To buy healthy bread, look at bread with few ingredients, like around 4 ingredients, (wheat flour, salt, water, yeast).
If placing sweets or snacks in jars, do not place it in translucent jars, as it would finish quicker than when it’s in a covered jar.
Distract yourself from unhealthy snacking by being involved in fun activities.
Look for healthy ingredients online and cook with your family.
Nuts are great for snacks in the morning, as they are packed with protein and fat which makes you feel full for longer than carb-dense snacks, so they’ll also help you keep away from feeling hungry between meals.
Eat 5-6 small meals a day and don’t forget your 5 potions of vegetables and fruits.
Overall, it is all up to us on how we want to eat. But, we may want to consider going healthier, since this world is changing and supermarkets are filled with processed, canned or packed products, keeping us away from eating fresh farm produce. Why don’t we value our body more than ever and be grateful to what nature has given us? And why don’t we push our desires aside and limit what’s unhealthy while enjoying the healthy options? Indeed it is your decision to do so and it’s never too late to embrace a healthier lifestyle.