Good nutrition is a crucial part of initiating a healthy lifestyle. Healthy eating habits are too important to ignore, since a combination of proper diet and physical activity helps individuals maintain adequate weight and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. A healthy diet is one that provides the body with all the essential nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, adequate calories as well as proteins and amino acids. These nutrients can be obtained from a variety of animal and plant-based foods. The top 10 best healthy eating habits you may have include:
1. Avoid junk and processed foods: Packaged foods contain high amounts of preservatives, color and chemicals. They are rich in salt, fats and sugar but lack fiber and nutrients. Choose foods that contain healthy fats such as plant oils, fish and nuts.
2. Use healthy cooking methods: Grill or barbecue dishes and use just a little oil to avoid adding unnecessary calories into your food. Make your own sauces instead of using bottled versions which contain processed spices.
3. Balance your meals: Assess each of your meals to ensure every food group is represented. Limit foods that are rich in fat and refined carbohydrates.
4. Control your portions: Check your serving sizes and go for appetizers in a restaurant instead of an entire meal. Stick to serving sizes included on the label of each food product.
5. Stay hydrated. Water aids in digestion and absorption of food, elimination of body waste and regulation of temperature. To stay healthy, drink at least two liters of water per day and avoid soft drinks which contain a lot of sugar.
6. Do not skip breakfast: Eating a healthy breakfast reduces hunger and unhealthy cravings throughout the day, thus reducing the likelihood of making poor food and snack choices.
7. Be careful when eating out: Sauces, gravy and dressings offered in most restaurants are packed with sugar and salt. Always ask for it to be served separately.
8. Include whole grains in your diet: Whole grains, nuts, fruits and vegetables contain healthy carbohydrates which take longer to digest making you full for longer periods. Processed grains cause rapid fluctuation of blood sugar levels and energy.
9. Cut down on animal fat: Saturated fats from red and processed meat contain bad cholesterol known to cause heart diseases. Choose lean meat, low-fat dairy products and skinless poultry.
10. Watch calcium and vitamin D: calcium and vitamin D are essential for bone development. You can get these from non-fat dairy products and supplements.
Ultimately, observe your eating pattern for a few days, writing down what you eat and the time of the day you ate it, then highlight the healthy eating habits and work to reinforce them. Identify all the unhealthy eating habits and work on improving them.