February 4, 2023

Here’s How Healthy Eating Can Lead to an Active And Healthy Lifestyle

A healthy diet is essential for good health and nutrition. It protects you against many chronic non-communicable diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Eating a variety of foods and consuming less salt, sugars, and saturated and industrially-produced trans-fats, are essential for a healthy diet.Also Read – 10 Tips For Healthy Eating This Winter

The guidelines will give you the basics of a healthy diet. Use them to build your own food plan, factoring in specific nutritional requirements based on your age and gender. This summary guide are basic Dietary Guidelines, and tips which can be followed : Also Read – 5 Hacks to Maintain Your Stomach Acid Levels

Eat a wide variety of foods from the five food groups:

● Plenty of colourful vegetables, legumes/beans fruit, grain (cereal) foods – mostly wholegrain and high fibre varieties lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds, milk, yoghurt, cheese or their alternatives, mostly reduced fat. (Reduced-fat milks are not suitable for children under the age of two years.) Drink plenty of water. Also Read – Healthcare Tips: Are You Confusing Thirst With Hunger? Nutritionist Answers

● Limit foods high in saturated fat, such as biscuits, cakes, pastries, pies, processed meats, commercial burgers, pizza, fried foods, potato chips, crisps and other savoury snacks.

● Replace high-fat foods containing mostly saturated fat with foods containing mostly polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Swap butter, cream, cooking margarine, coconut, and palm oil with unsaturated fats from oils, spreads, nut butter and pastes, and avocado.

● Limit foods and drinks containing added salt, and don’t add salt to foods in cooking or at the table. Limit foods and drinks containing added sugars, such as confectionery, sugar-sweetened soft drinks and cordials, fruit drinks, vitamin waters, energy, and sports drinks.

● Limit alcohol. Drink no more than two standard drinks on any day to reduce your risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury over your lifetime, and drink no more than four standard drinks on any occasion.

For women who are pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant, or breastfeeding, not drinking alcohol is the safest option.

Together with following the healthy eating guidelines, aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity, such as walking, every day.

Fruit and vegetables (and legumes):

Fruit, vegetables, and legumes all provide vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre and nutrients. Most are low in calories and can help you to feel full longer. Legumes are also made up of protein, so they’re a useful substitute for meat. Choose from split peas, kidney beans, baked beans (navy beans), soybeans, chickpeas, lupin, and lentils, among others.

Eating lots of colourful choices from this food group will give your body different nutrients. It can also protect against chronic diseases including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and some cancers.

The following guide will help you work out your daily requirements:

● Vegetables –standard serve is 1 cup green leafy or raw salad vegetables.
● Fruit – A standard serve is 150 grams for example, a medium apple or banana, or two kiwifruits or plums. Try to eat whole fruit and not fruit juice.
● Legumes/beans (as a source of protein) – A standard serve is 1 cup of cooked or canned lentils, chickpeas or split peas, or 170 grams of tofu.
● Grains- Wholemeal or whole grain foods, such as wholemeal and wholegrain bread, brown rice, quinoa and oats, are better for you than refined grain (cereal) foods because they provide more dietary fibre, vitamins and minerals. Whole grains may protect against heart disease, type 2 diabetes, excessive weight gain, and some cancers.
● Grain (cereal) foods that are high in saturated fats, added sugars and added salt, like cakes, muffins, pies, pastries and biscuits, are ‘extras’ or ‘sometimes foods’ in this food group.
● Grain foods – A standard serve one slice of bread or ½ cup cooked porridge. At least two-thirds of choices should be wholegrain varieties.
● Lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds, legumes/beans – Lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds, and legumes/beans are all rich sources of protein. Eating a variety of these foods each day will provide the protein you need, as well as a range of other nutrients, including iodine, iron, zinc, vitamins (especially B12), and essential fatty acids.


Milk, yoghurt and cheese are rich sources of calcium and other minerals, protein, and vitamins. They can protect against heart disease and stroke, and reduce the risk of high blood pressure, some cancers, and type 2 diabetes.

Dairy is also good for bone health – Choose varieties low in saturated fat and added sugar. If you prefer to avoid dairy, go for alternatives with added calcium, such as calcium-enriched soy or rice drinks. A standard serve is a cup of milk or ¾ cup yogurt.

Timing your food intake is an extremely important part of healthy eating habits:

When you eat also plays a part in a healthy diet. The biggest food timing tip is to eat breakfast. Breakfast literally means ‘to break the fast’ from your last meal at night to your first meal of the following day.

Breakfast skippers are more likely to be tempted by unhealthy choices later in the day and to eat bigger servings at their next meal. Children who skip breakfast generally have poorer nutrition and poorer performance at school.

Other food timing tips are:

  1. Eat regularly: Eating regular meals at set times helps you to get all the servings from the five food groups. Aim for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and two snacks.
  2. Listen to your body: Follow your body’s hunger and satiety signals (eat when you’re hungry and stop when – or before – you’re full).
  3. Stop to eat: Take your time when you dine, and turn off the TV or computer. Notice your food, and your body’s signals.
  4. Avoid eating dinner late at night: This gives your body time to digest and use the energy from your meal. Try a small glass of milk or a cup of decaffeinated or herbal tea if you need a late-night snack.
  5. Eat larger at lunch and smaller at dinner: The body digests best at peak energy times, which occur from around noon until 3 pm. If you can’t handle a bigger lunch, try splitting it into two smaller meals and eating one at noon and the other mid-afternoon. Eating dinner an hour earlier also aids evening digestion.
  6. Eat about 45 minutes after exercise: This will reduce the amount of energy being stored as fat because the body will use it to replenish low glycogen stores.
    Carbohydrates and glycaemic index: Carbohydrates are the body’s preferred energy source. They are found in many foods, such as breads, breakfast cereal, rice, pasta, noodles, fruit, potato, and starchy vegetables, corn, dried beans and lentils, sugar, milk, and yogurt. Eating a carb at every meal fuels the body throughout the day.
  7. Include a variety of good-quality carbs, such as fresh, canned, or dried fruit; rice, bread, quinoa, and pasta (preferably whole grain or high fiber varieties); and legumes in your healthy diet.
  8. Carbohydrate-containing foods are rated on a scale called the glycaemic index (GI). This rating (between zero and 100) is related to how quickly their carbohydrate content is digested and absorbed into the bloodstream, and the effect it has on blood glucose levels.
  9. Low GI foods (GI less than 55) absorb into the bloodstream slowly and give sustained energy throughout the day. Examples include wholegrain bread, pasta, oats, apples, apricots, oranges, yogurt, milk, dried beans, and lentils.
  10. High GI foods (55 or more on the GI scale) are quickly digested and absorbed into the bloodstream. Examples of high GI foods are white and wholemeal bread, processed cereals, short-grain rice, potatoes, crackers, watermelon.
    It’s ok to include both high and low GI foods in your diet.

(With inputs by Dr. Sameera, an acclaimed Physio – Occupational Therapist & Award-winning obesity management specialist, Founder & Medical Director at DR. Sameera’s Physio Slim Clinic