Diet is an important aspect of healthy lifestyle and disease free life. People are usually under the impression that obese people are required to change or maintain their diet while others may enjoy eating fast food, processed food, packed lunches, consuming vending machine, ready to eat beverages etc.
- Day 1: Don’t eat when you are not hungry
- Day 2: Be conscious of food labels
- Day 3: Be regular about your breakfast
- Day 4: Exercise more and walk a lot
- Day 5: Ensure that Veggies make half of your plate
- Day 7: Cut down junk or fast food
- Day 8: Change your method of cooking
- Day 9: Avoid oil rich foods
- Day 10: Take tea 2 hours after a meal
- Day 11: Increase your fruit and vegetable consumption
- Day 12: Take sufficient calcium
- Day 13: Drink plenty of water
- Day 14: Choose a balanced diet
- Day 15: Eat more salads
- Day 16: Don’t just put anything in your body
- Day 17: Avoid stress or deal with it well
- Day 18: Have your dinner early
- Day 19: Avoid salty or sugary snacks
- Day 20: Replace fruits with snacks
- Day 21: Eat iron-rich foods
As a result unhealthy eating patterns prevail in a large section of the population across all countries. Many people are unaware of what a healthy diet means whereas others find it extremely difficult to change their unhealthy dieting patterns, even though they understand the drawbacks of eating food that tastes food, but does more harm to their bodies than good.
Let us define what a healthy diet is before we suggest the ways and the means by which a healthy diet may become a part of your lifestyle. A healthy diet contains all the essential nutrients required by your body like vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats, proteins, fiber etc. Energy provided by food to an individual depends upon his body’s work out and age as well as gender.
A healthy diet is important for sound health and can help get rid of chronic ailments or undesirable health conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, cardiovascular disorders, cancer etc.
A diet which includes a variety of food items including fruits, vegetables not only helps maintain appropriate body weight but also ensures fitness and improved immunity against any infections or diseases. A person with a healthy diet is more likely to stay away from depression and have a better self-esteem and more energy to enjoy life than a person who does not have a healthy diet.
Food that comes from potatoes, vegetables, cereals, rice and fruits which is least fried, baked, processed and is not over cooked or contains excess of spices is considered as a healthy food for a body. Terminally ill people or people with specific ailments may have to reduce a specific item or items in their diet.
Also vegetables that are contaminated with chemicals and pesticides are not advised in a healthy diet as they fail to provide the benefit to body despite their nutritional value. Also the variety of packaged and frozen food items available in the market has made our access to unhealthy items easier and faster.
Let us take a 21 day journey towards a healthy diet that will help you get healthier and give you an improved look:
Day 1: Don’t eat when you are not hungry
Most teens and even some adults get into the habit of munching as they are either bored or depressed. This is the most common reason for overeating and consuming unhealthy junk food that tempts you even when you don’t have appetite for a meal. If you feel bored, it is better to go and meet friends or go to the library or play a sport.
For those who stay at home all the day, kitchen is quite reachable and every time you need a change, you think that eating something is an easy way out. Try to keep your food items not much within your sight so that you don’t feel tempted to eat all the time. Food cravings must be checked and not followed blindly. You must watch what you eat and never eat unless hungry. You can also tell your parents or siblings to stop you from over-eating.
Day 2: Be conscious of food labels
Foods low in fats and carbohydrates are usually low in calories and a healthier choice for a good diet. Carbohydrates are essential to the thinking and help fuel the nervous system and also support the metabolism of fat but Saturated and Trans fat should be avoided as they tend to clog and clot in your digestive system and also in your arteries. Vitamin and mineral rich food should be a part of any of the meals in a day.
Thus, reading of labels of food items that you consume is essential to get a conscious intake of healthy diet enriched with balanced nutrients. Sugar and other ingredients that are sources of carbohydrates should be just enough in the food you consume to meet your energy requirements and not to stuff you with extra calories and weight.
Day 3: Be regular about your breakfast
You should know that people who skip breakfast are unhealthy and obese compared to those who take it regularly. Breakfast is the most essential meal of your day’s diet. A whole grain cereal which delivers fiber besides calcium, proteins and carbohydrates along with anti-oxidants can be picked up from the supermarket store near you and had with skimmed milk and fruit.
A research has proved that a cup of whole grain cold cereal such as a slice of whole grain bread could supplement as a good breakfast option and resulted in reduced waists than people not having breakfast at all. People more often compensate their food requirements towards the lunch and more often their evening snacks which are usually unhealthy.
Thus, eating more unhealthy food through the day is a result of skipped prime meal in the morning. Just 10 minutes of your time in the morning given to eating a nutritious meal can help improve your eating patterns through the day.
Day 4: Exercise more and walk a lot
In case you have inadvertently eaten food rich in calories and want to burn the excess fat and not let it accumulate it on your skin, go for a brisk walk or increase your physical activity for the day. If you have been gormandizing for sometime now, try to follow a healthy diet for few days, one that is rich in protein, iron and fiber.
You will feel better inside and light as well as it will help cover the injustice you have done to your system by eating extra calories in the past few days. Whenever you feel the temptation for a binge, try eating something nutritious instead. A healthier food will give you enough refreshment to include it in your everyday routine.
Day 5: Ensure that Veggies make half of your plate
To make up a healthy meal, half of your plate should be filled with vegetables. This will ensure that you eat healthier food that will provide essential nutrients to your body and reduce the intake of other non-healthy food items which just fill your stomach without providing the required vitamins and minerals for a sustained health.
Day 6: Avoid Sweets too often
Sweets are usually fried or processed and have colors and preservatives that harm your health. They are abundant in carbohydrates due to sugar content and in fat due to dry fruits or high calorie items they may contain. Frequent sweets should be avoided. Occasional intake does not harm your body but regular sweets can trouble your stomach and also lead to obesity and lethargy making you inactive and unfit.
Day 7: Cut down junk or fast food
Junk food is the enemy of good health. Once you learn to cut down your junk food, healthier food options automatically pop up. If French fries, pizzas, burgers and other fast food items make up your meals or snacks, it is only going to add up extra calories and lead to obesity and other health disorders.
Fast food items have least nutritional value and upset your overall health and digestion and lead to sleepiness and lack of energy. A healthy diet is devoid of fast food and can be a source of right amount of proteins, vitamins and minerals as well as fiber. You must get rid of your habit to buy junk food if you want to see your diet getting better.
Day 8: Change your method of cooking
If you think that you are already using the vegetables that are healthy and meet your nutritional requirements, a variation in the method of your cooking may be desired. This means that you could try boiling vegetables and cooking in steam rather than deep frying them.
Healthy vegetables lose their most nutrition and become fat rich when fried instead of steam cooking. Also fresh fruits and vegetables are healthier and carry better nutrition than fruits that were brought long back or are canned and processed either cooked or frozen.
Day 9: Avoid oil rich foods
Food rich in animal fats and oil must be taken in reduced quantity. Adding fat or oil while cooking vegetables depletes the richness and nutritional content of the vegetable, although it may make the food tastier and more palatable. You can opt for healthier oils to avoid refined vegetable oil which is quite unhealthy and invites diseases and chronic ailments of heart. Olive oil and canola oil are more suited for use as edible oil and for cooking purposes.
Day 10: Take tea 2 hours after a meal
Tea inhibits the consumption of iron from your food if consumed immediately after the meal. Thus next time you feel like sipping a cup of hot tea immediately after a full meal, keep away from the urge as it will only deprive your body of the iron that you are going to get from your otherwise nutritious meal. A gap of 2hours between the meal and the tea is good enough as your body has already assimilated the required nutrients from the food.
Day 11: Increase your fruit and vegetable consumption
5 servings of vegetables and 2 servings of fruit per day is recommended for a healthy diet. A medium sized fruit taken twice and raw or cooked vegetables can make up for the most of vitamins and minerals that your body requires. Make sure that you take raw vegetables which can be a good source of fiber, if salad is not an essential part of your meal.
Raw salad vegetables like carrot, capsicum, tomatoes etc. contain a good amount of essential vitamins and will help your body get sufficient vitality and energy for staying active through the day. Eating a variety of vegetables like green leafy vegetables, dark green vegetables, orange vegetables and legumes will make up a rich diet.
Day 12: Take sufficient calcium
Calcium is essential for the growth and development of bones. The requirement is easily met by dairy products like milk, cheese, yoghurt etc. If your diet lacks these products that provide readily absorbable calcium to the body, risk of bone conditions and osteoporosis in later stages of life can grow.
You should also be careful to choose low fat dairy products that provide the goodness of calcium without adding the extra calories to your body. Calcium supplements may be used to meet the calcium requirements if you are unable to consume a diet which is rich in calcium.
Day 13: Drink plenty of water
Water can help in the absorption of food in the body and acts as a cleanser and purifier for the digestive system. A good diet complete in all foods of high nutritional value is not complete if you are not consuming the necessary amount of water that your body requires.
Avoid taking juices, soft drinks or alcohol with meals. Instead water may be taken after meals to maintain good health and remove toxins from your body.
Day 14: Choose a balanced diet
A balanced diet that is rich in nutrients like vitamins and minerals and low on saturated fats but high in whole grains, vegetables and fruits will improve your systematic health and balance your body weight.
Chronic health conditions like metabolic disorders and diabetes can be kept at bay with such balanced diet which does not provide excess calories and is healthy for your mind and body. It also helps lose weight in case of people suffering from obesity. Different types of food like pumpkin, carrot, citrus fruits have their own nutrients and a variety can make up a healthy eating plan.
Day 15: Eat more salads
Whip together some ingredients to make a healthy fresh salad with toppings of low-fat. Salads keep you healthy and can be prepared with dressings like cheese, bacon etc. to make them delicious. Salads are not only a source of roughage but also help with maintaining the right water content in the body. Salads should not be sprinkled with salt as they may taste good, but their nutritional content is reduced a lot.
Day 16: Don’t just put anything in your body
Whenever you are about to eat something, asking yourself if it is going to do any good to your body is important. If the thing you are going to eat is going to do harm rather than benefiting your health, stop and reach to a healthier option. 10 minutes of your time can help you prepare better food and you can also look for healthier options in packaged food. Treat your body like a temple and you will automatically know what has to go in and what has to stay out.
Day 17: Avoid stress or deal with it well
Stress can affect a sound health and deteriorate your health even if you eat healthy food. Also, stress prompts you to eat more unhealthy and fat-rich food as your mind doesn’t signal properly about what is your appetite actually for. Dealing with stress can help pig-outs and help you adhere to your healthy meal plan.
Day 18: Have your dinner early
An early dinner at least 2 hours before bedtime ensures that your body gets enough time to digest the food. This food is otherwise going to lie in your stomach undigested and clog if you sleep before your body can derive the nutrition from it.
Day 19: Avoid salty or sugary snacks
If you are fond of munching and can’t keep yourself away from the snacks, this suggestion is going to be a bit tough for you to implement. The excess of salt and sugar in your snacks can result in weight gain and increase the risk of chronic diseases and cardiovascular disorders.
Day 20: Replace fruits with snacks
If you eat a serving of medium sized fruit whenever you are going to much a snack, it will not only provide good nutrition to your body but also save you from consuming excess of oil and fat in your diet. A good diet can become healthier if snacks are replaced with fruits that are fibrous and can be taken in with skin.
Day 21: Eat iron-rich foods
You should increase your intake of Iron-rich food as this will keep lethargy away and also prevent you from being anemic. Iron is essential for women who are trying to conceive as it determines the health and the development of the fetus.
You may have realized that maintaining a good and healthy diet is not difficult. All that is needed is focus on the health benefits of the food that you consume and staying away from foods that are unhealthy and add calories. Every day as you work upon your diet improvement following this 21-day guide, you will experience changes that will eventually become a part of your eating habits and lead you to a healthy and disease-free life.