Most people I know, want to diet and reduce weight, feel healthy and gain energy. There are so many diet plans in the market that it is difficult to choose the right one. Over the years, I have researched a few and suggest the following to stay healthy. These ideas are common over various diet plans, though the relative emphasis on these steps may differ.
The trick is sensible eating with regular light exercise.
Restrict carbohydrate and fat intake
Most diet plans will suggest that the intake of carbohydrates and fats should be reduced. But not eliminated. A threshold level of carbohydrates is required by the body because they convert to energy but excess gets converted to fat. Similarly small amounts of fat are essential for the maintenance of a healthy body, but excess is bad for the heart and the body.
The problem is that most foods which are palatable and enjoyable are carbohydrate and fat rich! So dieting becomes a chore to be hated. But I suggest a little bit of everything is good, it is the excess that is bad.
So add whole grain cereals like brown rice, whole wheat bread, home made breads made with wheat grain, multigrain bread, porridge, and oats as they help to fill you up. They contain vital fiber, most essential to the proper functioning of the stomach and intestines.
Cut out refined cereals (white bread, white rice), roots and tubers such as potato, sweet potato, tapioca and yam. All these have high carbohydrate content. Fast foods like burgers, fries etc also need to be cut out of the diet.
Limit fat intake by reducing intake of red meat, fried foods of all kinds, butter, cream, mayonnaise, cutlets, burgers, fries and other fast foods. In case you cannot eliminate them from your diet, take your favorite food, only once a week.
Cook the healthy way. Reduce and eliminate frying. Instead, roast and bake your food. Eat roasted dry fruits or in the raw and avoid salted and sweetened snacks.
Reduce white sugar intake
One sure way to find good health, increased vitality and energy levels is to cut and reduce white sugar intake. Processed white sugar is bad for the body. Try to sweeten your food by adding honey or jaggery instead. Use natural fruit purees and natural fruit juices as sources of natural sugar and enjoy healthy living.
Eat a balanced Protein Rich Diet
Adequate amount of proteins are a must to feel full and satiated. They also provide necessary health, vigour and energy and are a must in your diet.
Proteins from vegetable sources like pulses, nuts, mushrooms, cottage cheese do not contain harmful cholesterol and are good for the body. Enjoy grilled or baked fish, chicken and seafood. Cut out fried meats and reduce red meat. Frying adds oil and cholesterol to the foods which can be done without.
Add fresh fruits, leafy vegetables and sprouts to your diets in the form of salads before and during meals to get your daily dose of vitamins, minerals and many vital ingredients which your body needs.
Enjoy salads before meals
Incorporate the concept of meal before meal by adding healthy salad ideas before meals. Eat a small plate of raw vegetables & sprouts seasoned with natural seasonings like curds, oregano, basil, thyme and coriander. This meal before meal will reduce your craving for unhealthy foods in the main meal.
Snack often, the healthy way
Snacks such as fresh fruit and roasted dry fruits (without salt or sugar being added to them) are a good way to control hunger pangs. They are healthy and also provide much needed fiber.
Eat more than three meals
Yes! Eat more than three times to stay healthy. Instead of three large meals, it is better to eat say 5 small meals. But the breakfast should be big and healthy as it has to provide calories to jump start the day. Try incorporating this idea into your daily life. It is fun and healthy too. Learn to stop eating after one serving. Never over eat. Your body will always tell you when it is full. It gives you enough hints when it is hungry. Doesn?t it? Listen to it. It knows best.
Chew well and sit straight
Chew food well and sit straight while eating. This will enable better digestion and better food absorption.
Keep temptations out of sight.
Do store sweets and deserts out of sight. This helps in controlling temptations. Enjoy small portions of your favorite deserts only once a week and learn to live a balanced life.
In conclusion, a balanced diet with adequate fat, carbohydrates, protein, minerals, vitamins balanced with less sugar and adequate exercise is must for a healthy body. There are really no fixed ratios for the various parts of a meal. Experiment a bit to find what combination makes you feel good and full of vigor. Then stick to that combination. Every body has different needs so find your combination. Use the above tips to find a healthy way to cook and eat