Food Choices for a Healthy Diet
Choosing a healthy diet is the number one step to becoming the best version of yourself. Whether your goal is losing weight, toning muscle, or being more active with your children, eating healthy, combined with exercise, is the best way to reach your goals.
Each of the food choices we make contributes to our diet as a whole. This diet must provide enough energy to fuel the body and all the essential nutrients - in the right proportions - to prevent deficiencies, promote health, and prevent chronic disease.
Here are some food choices for a healthy diet:
1. Adequacy and Nutrient Density
A healthy or adequate diet is one that provides the right amount of energy to keep weight in the desirable range. This means having the proper types and amounts of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, as well as plenty of water (8 cups a day), and sufficient but not excessive amounts of essential vitamins and minerals.
To ensure adequacy, a diet must be rich in nutrient-dense foods. Nutrient-dense foods contain substantial amounts of nutrients per kcalories. For example, broccoli is more nutrient dense than french fries. Broccoli is a good source of calcium, vitamin C, vitamin A, and folate and are only 20 kcalories per (½ cup). Compared to french fries, which provide little vitamin A and much smaller amounts of other nutrients, and contribute about 80 kcalories per (½ cup).
This doesn’t mean you can’t ever have french fries, but it does mean that if many of your choices throughout the day are foods that are low in nutrient density, such as baked goods, snack foods, and soft drinks, it will be hard to reach your nutrient needs.
Here are some examples below:
2. Eat a Variety of Foods
Eating a variety of foods helps ensure an adequate nutrient intake, since no one food can provide all the nutrients your body needs. Variety means including grains, vegetables, fruit, milk and alternatives, and meat and alternatives in your diet. Some of these foods are rich in protein and minerals, and others in vitamins. All are important.
For example, if you have three servings of vegetables a day and they are all carrots, it is unlikely that you will meet your nutrient needs. Carrots provide fibre and vitamin A but are a poor source of vitamin C. Instead, if you have carrots, peppers, and broccoli, you will be getting vitamin C along with more vitamin A, vitamin K, and fibre than carrots alone would provide.
Variety comes not only from choosing different foods each day, but also each week, and each season. If you had apples and grapes today, have blueberries and canta-loupe tomorrow. If tomatoes do not look appetizing in the winter, replace them with a winter vegetable like squash.
3. Balance Your Choices
Balance involves mixing and matching foods in proportions that allow you to get enough of the nutrients you need and not too much of the ones that might harm your health.
A balanced diet provides plenty of whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. A balanced diet also balances the energy taken in with the energy used up in daily activities so body weight stays in a healthy range.
If you have a Big Mac for lunch instead of a smaller plain burger, you will have to increase your energy expenditure by 300 calories (going for a run or doing an in-home workout). Another example is if you get a grande mocha frappuccino from starbucks instead of a regular iced coffee, you will have to increase your energy expenditure by 370 calories.
Extra calories you consume during the day must be balanced by increasing the calories you burn in physical activity to avoid weight gain.
4. Everything in Moderation
Moderation means everything is okay, as long as you do not overdo it. If you like burgers or potato chips, they can be included in your diet, but you have to watch the size of your portions and how frequently you consume these foods.
Choosing larger portion sizes or high-calorie foods can result in excess calories. If these calories are not expended through physical activity, they can result in weight gain.
Have you ever sat down in front of the TV with a bag of chips and before you realized, half the bag was gone? If you have, you know how easy it is for portion sizes to get out of control.
Moderation means not consuming too much energy, too much fat, too much sugar, too much salt, or too much alcohol. Choosing to eat in moderation will help you maintain a healthy weight and help prevent chronic diseases like heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.
About House of Sweat
At House of Sweat we offer meal plans customized for you and your goals! It is just a matter of letting your dedicated nutritionist know what foods you like and enjoy. Once they know that information, they’ll create a meal plan that is tailored just for you! Follow our socials to keep up with sales and motivational posts! Instagram | Facebook