The No-Nonsense Guide to Healthy Eating
Hello and welcome to this third blog post on healthy eating guidelines! As promised, I will be sharing today some guidelines on eating healthy. I know I have shared a lot of information in my last nutrition article by going into details about the basics of food composition, so I will keep this one short and very straight to the point.
Now let’s look at some guidelines to put the knowledge from my previous article in practice. I hope this can help you as it helped me make sensible dietary choices in order to prevent obesity, malnutrition, diet related diseases (such as diabetes and cardiovascular that I wrote about it previously) and poor energy. I hope they help you stay within your calorie needs, choose nutritious foods and make smart food choices from each group. You should also not forget to always balance your food intake with physical activity and adequate sleep.
Those are as their name indicates it, simply guidelines to get you started. This is my no mean, medical or nutritional advice. You should consult with your general practionerand and/or a nutritionnist involved to make sure that your personal situation is taken into account. Indeed, guidelines vary accordingly based on age, gender and activity level. But hopefully, they should still be helpful to you.
Food groups often include: 1/Carbohydrates, 2/Fruits and vegetables; 3/Milk and Dairy products (I will be covering here plant based alternatives only); 4/Alternatives to meat, fish and eggs; 5/Fats and Oils; 6/ Foods and drinks high in fat, sugar and salt.
1/One Serving of Carbohydrate
You should always choose wholegrains over refined grains. Wholegrains contains the whole kernel- e.g brown rice, popcorn, oatmeal, couscous, rolled oat, whole versions of barley, cormeal, rye.
Refined grains are far less nutritious, they are low fiber and have a high Glycemic Index (GI). They are the white versions of bread, pitta, baguette, rice, pasta.
Glycemic index is the effect that a carbohydrate food will have on food glucose levels. The rule of thumb is that you should any food which has a GI higher than 70 and that everything with a GI lower than 0.54 is ideal for consumption. Everything in between should be consumed with caution. Some examples of low GI include: Cereals (wholegrains or mixed grain breads, barley, oatmeal, oat bran, bulgur, wholemeal pasta, quinoa), most fruits if not overripe (apple; dates…); vegetables (lentils, yam, legumes, green and salad vegetables…), soy milk, natural orange juice, beans and nuts.
How does one serving of carbohydrate translate to your plate?
1 serving of carbohydrate = 1 slice of bread = 2-3 crackers = 8 tea spoon of flake type cereals= 8 teaspoon of porridge oats = 1 medium or 2 small potatoes = ½ cup of boiled pasta, rice or quinoa.
Some good examples of recipes in my blog to get your carbohydrate fix are my hearty lentil soup and my super nutritious müsli.
2/ Two fruits and Five Vegetables a Day
Whether they are fresh, frozen , dried or tinned, all types of fruits and vegetables count.
How does one serving of fruits and veggies translate into your plate?
1 serving of fruits or vegetables= 1 medium fruit= 2 small fruits= a dozen berries= a bowl of homemade soup = a small glass of natural unsweetened fruit juice.
A good recipe here is my warm quince drink that is basically made of quince and water with some spice and a natural sweetner (optional). For more summery options, check my refreshing watermelon drink and my raw cucumber courgette soup.
3/ Milk and Dairy Alternative
If you are following like me a plant based diet, soy yogurt, soy, tofu and any vegetable milk (almond, rice milk etc) are great.
1 serving a day= 200ml of milk = 125 mg of yoghurt = 25 g (matchbox size) of tofu.
Try my scrumptious tofu and cherry tomatoes salad- you will love it!
4/ Plant Based Protein Alternatives to Meat, Fish and Eggs
2 portion a day of these will be a good source of protein, B vitamins, iron, magnesium, zinc and omega 3 fatty acids. Commonly eaten foods includes: beans and peas, soy products, nuts and seeds.
1 serving= 125 g of hummus = 12 tea spoons of peas, beans and lentils = 40 g unsalted nuts, nut butter or seeds = 100 g soya or tofu.
5/ Fats and Oils
Choose 5-6 teaspoon a day; choose unsaturated where possible and don’t burn oil. Always avoid transfat. Some unsaturated oils include: olive oil, walnut oil. One good saturated oil that was long deviled but now proved to be healthy is coconut oil.
Good sources of unsaturated fats are nuts, olives and avocados.
Serving size of fats/oils= 1 serving= 1 1 tablespoon of margarine to cover 3 slices of bread = ½ medium avocado = 8 olives = a table spoon of homemade salad dressing.
6/ Foods and Drinks High in Fat Sugar and Salt
Those should be avoided.
A serving= 1 bag of low fat crisp = 1 small cup cake = 2 plain biscuits = 1 cereal bar.
Basics of Building a Healthy Meal:
-Half your plate fruits and veggies such as broccolis and mango.
-Protein ¼ plate such as tofu, chickpeas or lentils.
-Carbs (Whole grains )¼ plate such as rice, pasta or bread.
-Avoid dairy whenever possible
-Don’t add salt
-Don’t add sugar
Please see below for an example of a recent bowl lunch I made with whole grain rice, tofu, broccoli and mangoes. Isn't very easy to eat healthy?