The Best Healthy Eating Plan
A good healthy eating plan involves two elements – firstly an understanding of healthy eating and secondly, good planning.
The best healthy eating plan is the one you can sustain for life.
This page is essentially your guide to healthy eating.
It includes my top 10 tips to healthy eating and a free sample eating plan so you can create your own healthy balanced diet.
Starting your plan
The first important thing to do is to make a start on developing healthy eating habits. To do this you have to understand the key elements of healthy eating.
So what is healthy eating? There are three main ingredients.
1. Eating a balanced diet
Balanced means that you choose a wide variety of foods from the major food groups (see my new food pyramid ) – in other words, go for diversity. This means that you get a wide range of vitamins, minerals and fibres from a variety of foods. I suggest you can get good balance by eating at least 30 different foods each week.
2. Getting the right balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat at each meal
If your meal is too high in one of these elements, or if one is missing, then you’ll soon feel sluggish, lethargic, full but hungry, or cravings something sweet. See my healthy food tips page for more information.)
3. Managing portion size
This means eating until you are comfortable instead of food. That way, over the whole day, you’ll eat and drink only as many calories as you burn off through activity. If you’re not very active, you need less food.
It also means that the portions you eat should relate to your body mass and metabolism. That is, women generally need less food than men, and children need less food than adults.
These three things are all essential aspects of healthy eating.
Now it’s time to make a plan. After all, failing to plan is planning to fail.
Making a healthy eating plan
To make your plan, you need to start by knowing what your needs are, and how many needs you have.
Do you want to feel more energized and healthy? Do you want to lose weight? Do you have a specific health concern like pre diabetes or heart disease?Do you want to overcome ongoing, minor health complains like hay fever, seasonal colds, cold sores and skin rashes?
Understanding your needs help you develop the right perspective for your healthy eating plan. Start by researching and writing down the dietary requirements to suit your needs.
Now it’s time to think about your health goals. Obviously, your mid to long term goal is to address the need(s) that you just wrote down. That sets the scene for the short and mid term goals.
For example, if your long term goal is to lose weight, some of your short to medium term goals might involve:
• Developing healthy eating habits as outlined above in the three main ingredients to healthy eating – eating a balanced diet, getting the right proportions at each meal, and managing portion size.
• Learning the basics of the nutritional value of foods so that you can make good food choices when shopping.
• Starting an exercise program.
You could then develop an action list that will help you meet your short to medium term goals, including things like:
• Plan some tasty, healthy menus and use these to develop a healthy shopping list.
• Set aside a dedicated time slot each week to do a proper, considered grocery shop.
• Use your healthy shopping list when you shop (and don’t shop when you’re hungry!)
• Set aside time each week to exercise, preferably with a group or a friend to help you stay motivated.
Start living your healthy eating plan by starting to develop healthy eating habits. Take your time and work on one thing at a time, like eating a healthy breakfast. When you’re used to that and feel good about it, start on the next thing.
Most importantly, make sure that your new habits are things that you enjoy. That way you’ll want to keep doing them and you will improve your health as a result.
Here is a sample healthy eating plan for weight loss, as an example to help you get started. You can adapt it to suit your specific needs.
Perhaps you'd like to start simply, with some ideas for
healthy breakfast foods?
Take your time and remember to find healthy foods that you enjoy eating. That way you'll want to keep eating them!
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