What does a healthy diet look like?

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Everyone talks about how important it is to eat well and look after ourselves, but there are so many fad diets and nutritional fictions doing the rounds – both in traditional media and on Facebook and other social channels – that it’s sometimes hard to know what is right. Here are a few simple tips to ensure your body is getting what it needs and you’re not wasting time worrying about what you stick in your mouth.

 

Bring on the veggies

The minimum five servings of veggies a day can seem like a lot, particularly if you’re mainly consuming them with your evening meal. But add them to breakfast (a handful of spinach to a smoothie, some mushrooms and tomato to scrambled eggs), choose salad or a side of steamed vegetables for lunch and snack on a handful of carrot and celery sticks, and you’ll have those five banked up each day without even thinking about it.

 

Lean protein is king

Again, this is something you want to add to every meal since it helps to make you feel fuller for longer. Of course, chicken, beef and fish are great, but don’t forget about legumes (chick peas and lentils, for example), tofu and eggs. Even a small can of tuna in spring water works well.

 

Healthy fats are essential

In the not-too-distant past, we were told fat was a killer. While that’s true in some respects, there are healthy (unsaturated) fats that lower LDL cholesterol and promote heart health. Plus, they make food taste great and keep us satiated, so a little bit goes a long way. Each day you should be sure to include avocado, nuts like almonds and walnuts, olives, oily fish or olive oil in your diet.

 

Limit processed food

If the bulk of your shopping comes from the greengrocer and butcher, or from the outside edges of the supermarket, you’re on the right track. Anything that comes in a box, jar or container (and doesn’t resemble its origin ingredient) is likely to be high in sugar, fats, salt and all sorts of preservatives and colours. Of course, it’s almost impossible to completely eliminate processed food from your diet, but it’s definitely something to remember when you’re out doing the weekly shop. Learn to read a label and you’ll soon discover what is the best choice.

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