I have found that following strict or fad diets does not work in the long term – they always backfire. I have learnt to follow a general plan to keep my diet as healthy as possible, while not being too rigid about occasionally breaking the rules. Its an easy healthy diet plan that is simple to follow and allows me to be creative in the kitchen so that I never get bored.
What makes a diet healthy?
A diet that satisfies your body’s needs, hunger and cravings with the right kinds of nutrients.
It should contain all the macronutrients and micronutrients necessary for your body to function properly.
Carbohydrates (starches and sugars)
Carbohydrates are you main energy source. Eat mostly slow energy releasing (complex) carbohydrates such as whole grains and legumes (lentils, beans and chickpeas). Avoid faster energy releasing (simple) carbohydrates such as refined flours and sugar which play havoc with your energy levels and cause diabetes.
Proteins are necessary for the building and repairing your body’s tissues, organs and muscles. Food sources are found in meat, poultry, fish, legumes (dry beans, lentils and chickpeas), soy products (e.g. tofu), eggs and dairy products, nuts and seeds.
Fats (unsaturated and saturated)
Fats store ‘stand-by’ energy, insulate us against the cold and protect the vital organs. Unsaturated (plant based) fats help reduce heart disease and lower (bad) cholesterol levels when they replace saturated (animal based) fats in your diet. Avoid animal fats and the toxic trans fats found in margarines, deep-fried foods and snacks such as chips, crackers, biscuits and pastries.
Vitamins and minerals are the essential nutrients that act together to perform a multitude of different roles in your body. They are contained mostly in fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as in grains, legumes and proteins.
- Water soluble vitamins (All the Bs and vitamin C) travel through the body quickly and need to be replenished frequently.
- Fat soluble vitamins (Vitamins D, E and K) are stored in the body and needed only in small amounts.
- Minerals (calcium, potassium, sodium, iron and zinc) are needed in your daily diet to carry out different functions.
An easy healthy diet plan for your day
(See article: https://livetopvibes.com/nutrition-and-healing)
- Eat from all the basic food groups (protein, carbohydrates, legumes, nuts and seeds, fruit and vegetables). A good rule of thumb is to have as many colours on your plate as possible.
- Eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables (some raw) for fibre and high nutritional value.
- Eat smaller portions of protein.
- Cut out processed and packaged food.
- Eliminate refined sugar and starch.
- Reduce animal fats.
- Avoid deep frying food.
- Eat smaller main meals with snacks in-between
- Be creative – find healthy recipes that appeal to you.
- Experiment with interesting herbs and spices to satisfy your taste buds – they are healthy too!
Healthy breakfast example
On waking up I have a glass of warm water with half a squeezed lemon for pH balance and to flush out the kidneys.
I usually have a bowl with raw oatmeal, plain yoghurt sliced apple and cinnamon (good for low blood sugar). You can add or supplement with other fruit such as banana, blue berries, passion fruit.
Make up a smoothie with your favourite healthy ingredients.
Mid morning and afternoon snack ideas
- Snack with a handful of salt free nuts or seeds. My favourite is a mix of pumpkin and sunflower seeds.
If you are working and on the go you have a light lunch such as a salad. In winter I usually cook up a big pot of vegetable and legume soup and freeze in portions.
Vegetables: Make sure your biggest portion is made up of lightly cooked to raw vegetables, such as a stir-fry. There are many delicious and creative ways to cook veggies. Find recipes that appeal to you.
Protein: Unless you are vegetarian, eat a small portion of grass fed lean meat, such as beef fillet or venison, organic chicken or fish.
Starch: Experiment with slow releasing carbohydrates such as grains and legumes and avoid the fast releasing starches such as pasta and white bread. Keep portions smaller.
Late night snacks
I don’t have late night snacks to avoid putting on weight! If you really need a snack have something that is easy to digest and will help you to sleep, such as a banana or cooked oatmeal.