Focus on Nutrition – 7 Simple Tips for a New Healthy Lifestyle

New Healthy Lifestyle

Have you decided to adopt a new healthy lifestyle? Great decision! But what to do with your diet? Making these simple changes will take you a long way in reaching your new lifestyle, which will make you feel healthy and balanced. The key is to make “healthy” a habit, starting from today.

1. Add more vegetables, fruits and nuts in your menu. Include them in all meals – yes, all. Have a chocolate craving always after lunch? Make a habit of enjoying a fruit salad or apple after lunch. Our recipes section has plenty of delicious ideas for meals which are rich in vegetables.   

2. Snack healthy. This is an easy starting point of modifying your diet. Replace unhealthy snacks (e.g., muffin, donut, sugar-loaded chocolate, potato chips, etc.) with fruits, vegetables and nuts, and make sure they are always available when you need a boost of energy – whether it’s home, work, school, or gym. Don’t like celery or broccoli? That’s OK! Explore other options, be curious, and you’ll find plenty of options you like.

3. Switch to whole grains. Why are nutritionists always promoting whole grains as an important part of a healthy diet? For several reasons. Compared to refined, more processed grains, they contain higher levels of fiber, vitamin B and iron. Research shows that using whole grains lowers the risk of many chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Once you start exploring the world of grains, you’ll be amazed by how many options are available. Are you familiar with the delicious bulgur? Nutty-flavored buckwheat? Quinoa, that goes perfectly into salads? Barley, that makes delicious risotto? These are just a few examples of grains you might want to explore. Each grain has its own health benefits, and once again – the healthiest (and most exciting) option is to use a variety of different grains. Just remember to choose whole grains over processed grains.

4. Reduce red meat, replace it with fish, legumes and poultry. Red meat is a good source of protein, iron and vitamin B12. However, research shows that red meat intake should be relatively modest, only about once or twice per week. Red meat typically has lots of animal-based fats, and high levels of cholesterol, both associated with cardiovascular diseases. There are plenty of healthy, delicious options to red meat; fish and poultry are a good source of protein, as well as legumes, such as beans and lentils. Fish is full of healthy fats including the omega fatty acids, which are essential in our overall health and cannot be made in our body by other molecules.

Legumes, on the other hand, sometimes have a dull reputation for no reason. There’s a wide variety of different kinds of beans and lentils that can be used in stews, soups, salads, as a side dish, etc. Legumes are the basis of many cuisines around the world, and by varying the spices and herbs used, you can easily transform dishes from Mediterranean to Mexican, Indian or Japanese.

5. Replace butter and margarine with vegetable oils. Not all oils are equal. As a rule of thumb, prefer vegetable-based oils whenever possible, and avoid saturated and trans fats. Vote for olive oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, sesame oil, avocado oil, the list goes on… Vegetable-based oil have less “unhealthy” saturated fats, and are full of healthy unsaturated fats, which can help you quickly and efficiently reduce your cholesterol levels. Vegetable-based oils contain also anti-oxidants, vitamins and healthy fatty acids (omega 3 and 6) which are all essential nutrients of a healthy and balanced diet.

6. Go organic. Choosing organic food has two key benefits; it’s good for your health and for the environment. Organic food is produced without using chemical synthetic pesticides, persistent chemicals and fertilizers, or genetically-modified organisms (GMOs). It is also hormone- and antibiotics-free. Why does this matter? Many scientific research studies have shown that the items listed above are harmful to our health. You can read more about the health benefits of organic food here.

7. Drink plenty of water. Water is the best and healthiest drink at any point of the day. A small glass of fresh orange juice in the morning is a good source of vitamin C, and milk has plenty of beneficial nutrients such as calcium and protein. However, water should be your #1 drink. Don’t consider soda or juice as your primary source of water or your regular drink  for every meal. You’d be shocked if you saw how much sugar or other sweeteners are in these drinks. Consumption of sugar-loaded beverages can easily add extra calories to your meal, which after all have nothing nutritional to offer to your body.

 

Ready to make a change but need some inspiration? Explore our healthy food recipes.

Credit: Niina Reponen

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