There is no single document that states “this is a healthy eating plan”. A healthy eating plan is an individually structured plan that works for our own bodies and incorporates a balanced diet in the correct portion and variety. It is important to understand that what works for one person may not work for another.
When you first ask yourself – “what is a healthy eating plan” the initial answer should be that you will have to learn how to eat correctly, what foods will give you the proper variety and the vitamins, nutrients and minerals your body needs. Quite often our hectic lifestyles can determine our eating habits and it is easy to fall into bad habits but there is a healthy eating plan out there for everyone regardless of your lifestyle. You just need to know where to look. You can devise your own healthy eating plan by following the five food groups and portion control and fit the plan round your lifestyle.
The five food groups consist of carbohydrates, proteins, dairy, fruit and vegetables and fats and sugars. You will have to adjust your intake of these foods in line with your eating plan. Your biggest intake should be carbohydrates and fruit and veg. Reduce your intake of fats and sugars, protein and dairy and use low fat dairy products, lean meat and poultry and foods that are low in saturated fats.
Use fresh, frozen or tinned fruit and vegetables but try and avoid processed foods as these often contain hidden salt, fats, sugars and preservatives and these do not contain enough of the nutrients you require.
It is important also to understand what does not work for you in order that you can avoid certain foods. What do you like to eat that you know is not good for you? If you make a list of such foods you will probably find that they fall into a certain category such as sweet, sugary foods, fried foods or white flour products such as bread or pasta. If you have a weakness for these types of foods then you should maybe think about reducing or avoiding these foods altogether in your healthy eating plan. There are often healthier alternatives to these types of foods. Try swapping your white flour based products for wholemeal or wholegrain or you could try grilling or barbecuing your food instead of frying.
The question “what is a healthy eating plan” can be answered in many different ways to suit each of us, as we have already discovered, but there are some constants that should be observed by all. These include:-
Don’t skip meals – it is a common fallacy that eating less is the right path to follow if you want to lose weight or eat healthy. Not true! People that tend to skip meals are likely to snack more and be more hungry when meal times come around as their body has gone into starvation mode which leads to over eating.
Eat 3 good meals every day, including breakfast, and throw in a couple of healthy snacks in between such as fruit, nuts or low fat yoghurt. Eating breakfast kick starts your metabolism and three regular meals stabilises blood sugars.
Drink plenty of water every day. Sometimes your body can interpret thirst for hunger so if you are feeling hungry have a glass of water and wait ten minutes to see if the hunger pangs recede. It is important to avoid feeling dehydrated as this can lead to a number of health issues.
Observing these constants together with your own individual plan should see you on the first steps to success. So, whether you are a high flying go-getter or a stay at home couch potato, when you ask yourself the burning question “what is a healthy eating plan and is there one out there for me ?” the simple answer is – yes there is.
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