In this day and age, when eating healthy and looking and feeling fit is becoming the next big thing, there has been an influx of different theories of what healthy eating exactly constitutes of, which foods are good and which are bad, and what exactly one should eat in order to stay healthy and lean.
After reading a bunch of these theories, and tossing away a number of fad diet theories and other ridiculous ideas, we have come up with five proven steps toward a healthy diet and healthy lifestyle.
Of course, every person has their own individual preferences, tolerances and goals when it comes to food and healthy eating, and also there no truly “good” and truly “bad” foods, but it is rather the quantities and combinations of different foods we eat that matters.
So, what are the 7 crucial steps toward eating a healthy diet and thus generally becoming healthier and leaner?
- Naturally, if you want to eat a healthy diet you should try limiting the quantities of unhealthy foods to as little as possible. Though, you shouldn’t try to totally abstain from your favorite and not-so-healthy snacks, you should really try thinking of a system for avoiding overindulging with them. This can take some exercise and willpower, we know, but it is worth it.
- Avoid processed foods, and try eating whole foods and filling and nutrient-dense foods instead. The more refined and processed the food, the more unhealthy ingredients it is likely to have. This is why, going to the farmer’s market and cooking your home-made food from high quality and natural raw products is definitely what you should be striving for, if you want to stay healthy and fit.
- Try eating a diet consisting of more foods which are high in fiber, proteins or water – and thus are more filling and yet because of their lower palatability are less likely to cause unwanted overeating. In general, you should remember to choose foods which have more “good” micronutrients and are relatively low in calories, in order to assimilate the necessary nutrients to stay healthy and yet to reduce the risk of becoming overweight or developing health issues associated with unhealthy eating and living.
- The big question now is – which foods are truly healthy and which are not. There is no definite answer to this one, but one thing we can claim for sure is that if you eat more veggies and fruits than chips and cookies, you will be less likely to become overweight or have health issues. The reasons for this are: the fibers, the vitamins and other micronutrients in fresh vegetables and fruits. The recommended daily dosage of vegetables and fruits is 5-10 servings, or about 400 grams per day. The more the better.
- Of course, another group of healthy foods you should be adding to your diet are the good quality proteins along with the essential amino acids. They can be found in some plants, but the proteins and the important amino acids are mainly in animal products should also be included in your healthy diet, unless of course you are vegan or vegetarian. Remember, that some essential vitamins, such as Vitamin B12 can only be obtained from animal products. Fatty acids are crucial for the healthy brain function, for hormone levels, immunity and other body functions.
- You should keep in mind though that calories do matter if you want to stay fit and lean, so you should try to eat the calories and nutrients which fit your lifestyle and needs. To lose weight you should eat lesser calories than the ones you spend.
- Of course, carbohydrates too are important for the healthy diet, especially for people with very active lifestyles such as athletes who are into high intensity training sessions. So, even though carbs are not essential for keeping us alive, high-carb diets are vital for athletes as well as for people who want to lose weight and get fit. However, if your lifestyle is sedentary and you want to lose weight, you might want to eat less carbohydrates. Also, you must know that completely excluding carbohydrates from the diet can lead to some health problems, including a dangerous drop in the levels of the thyroid hormone.