3 unidentified snack bars

By Accounts Wilddate

Eating healthy in today’s modern world

These days the perennial question in people’s minds is, “how do I consistently eat healthy with my current lifestyle?”

With the hectic lives that we lead, we often skip meals, substitute them with non-nutritional foods and have sedentary days that do not include a lot of exercise. Food is core to our existence and the first thing that we need to solve for. It should be rich in proper nutrients, antioxidants, and vitamins so the body can develop and maintain health to fight off diseases. Here are some tips for you to make healthier choices. 

Include higher fibre starchy carbohydrates in your meals

Starchy carbohydrates should make up just over a third of the food you eat in the day. They include potatoes, bread, rice, pasta and cereals. While choosing higher fibre products, get the wholegrain varieties, such as wholewheat pasta, brown rice or potatoes with their skins on. These contain more fibre than white or refined starchy carbohydrates and can help you feel full for longer. It’s prudent to include at least one starchy food with each main meal. Some people think starchy foods are fattening, but the carbohydrates they contain provide fewer than half the calories of fat. These should be cooked in minimal fat.

Eat lots of fruits and vegetables

It's recommended that you eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and veg every day. These should be preferably fresh and not canned. This is easier than it sounds. Banana over your breakfast cereal, a mid-morning snack in the form of fruit are some examples. 

Include proteins 

Fish, tofu, lentils are all good sources of protein and contain many vitamins and minerals. Non-vegetarians can eat chicken or fish at least twice a week for sufficient intake of protein. The vegetarians can include lentils, tofu and many other vegetables that have sufficient protein. The idea is to ensure that you have enough omega-3 fats, which may help prevent heart disease. 

Cut down on saturated fat and sugar

You need some fat in your diet for energy, but it's important to pay attention to the amount and type of fat you are eating. There are 2 main types of fat: saturated and unsaturated. Too much saturated fat can increase the amount of cholesterol in the blood, which increases your risk of developing heart disease. On an average, men should have no more than 30g of saturated fat a day, women no more than 20g  and children lower. 

Saturated fat is found in many foods, such as fatty cuts of meat, sausages, butter, hard cheese, cream, cakes, biscuits and pies. Try to cut down on your saturated fat intake and choose foods that contain unsaturated fats instead, such as vegetable oils and spreads, oily fish and avocados. For a healthier choice, use a small amount of vegetable or olive oil, or reduced-fat spread instead of butter or ghee. When you're having meat, choose lean cuts and cut off any visible fat. All types of fat are high in energy, so they should only be eaten in small amounts.

Regularly consuming foods and drinks high in sugar increases your risk of obesity and tooth decay. Free sugars are any sugars added to foods or drinks, or found naturally in honey, syrups, fruit juices and smoothies. This is the type of sugar you should be cutting down on, rather than the sugar found in fruit and milk. Many packaged foods and drinks contain surprisingly high amounts of free sugars. Free sugars are found in many foods, such as sugary fizzy drinks, sugary breakfast cereals, cakes, biscuits, pastries and puddings, sweets and chocolate, alcoholic drinks. Check your food label regularly to see total sugars. More than 22.5g of total sugars per 100g means the food is high in sugar, while 5g of total sugars or less per 100g means the food is low in sugar.

Eat less salt

It is recommended to eat no more than 6g of salt a day for adults. Eating too much salt can raise your blood pressure. People with high blood pressure are more likely to develop heart disease or have a stroke. Even if you do not add salt to your food, you may still be eating too much. About three-quarters of the salt you eat is already in the food when you buy it, such as breakfast cereals, soups, breads and sauces.

Read food labels closely to help you cut down. More than 1.5g of salt per 100g means the food is high in salt.

Get active and be a healthy weight

As well as eating healthily, regular exercise may help reduce your risk of getting serious health conditions. It's also important for your overall health and wellbeing. Being overweight or obese can lead to health conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, heart disease and stroke. Being underweight could also affect your health. Eating a healthy, balanced diet can help you maintain a healthy weight.

Do not get thirsty

You need to drink plenty of fluids to stop you getting dehydrated. It is recommended to drink 6 to 8 glasses of water every day. This is in addition to the fluid you get from the food you eat. All non-alcoholic drinks count, but water, lower fat milk and lower sugar drinks, including tea and coffee, are healthier choices. Try to avoid sugary soft and fizzy drinks, as they're high in calories. They are also bad for your teeth. Even unsweetened fruit juice and smoothies are high in free sugar. Remember to drink more fluids during hot weather or while exercising.

Do not skip breakfast

Some people skip breakfast because they think it'll help them lose weight. But a healthy breakfast high in fibre and low in fat, sugar and salt can form part of a balanced diet, and can help you get the nutrients you need for good health. A wholegrain lower sugar cereal with semi-skimmed milk and fruit sliced over the top is a tasty and healthier breakfast.

Supplementing your meals with healthy energy bars made with clean ingredients is a good idea. If you do not find time to include certain foods in your meals regularly, snack bars can come to the rescue. These can also work like healthy breakfast options on the go or a filling snack.

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