Food & Diet

A Beginner's Guide To Incorporating Healthy Diet Foods Into Your Daily Routine

Written by Kaushiki Gangully
Published: May 23, 2024

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Eating healthy is a lifestyle. It is not just a one-time thing or a two-week crash diet. In today’s hectic world, children and adults must opt for healthy, homemade foods and fresh fruits and vegetables, daily, to gain proper nourishment and remain healthy.

Since most packaged and fast foods are ultra-processed and lacking in nutrients, they increase the risk of incurring lifestyle diseases. But it is never too late to quit junk food and opt for natural, healthy diet foods to lead an improved lifestyle. However, it is important to choose the right kinds of food to maintain a healthy diet, along with proper guidance on portion, variety, and dietary requirements.

Therefore, here is a beginner’s guide to incorporating healthy diet foods into your daily routine in an easy way.

A Quick Guide On Incorporating Healthy Diet Foods Into Your Lifestyle
1. Understand Calorie Intake

Calories play a big role in your diet. Not only do they provide energy to your body, but they also determine your weight and body’s fat. Therefore, it is important to understand your daily caloric requirements, as a calorie deficit can cause weight loss, while excess calories can lead to a gain in weight. Though calorie requirements vary, depending on age, gender, and level of activity, general guidelines suggest that kids aged 9 to 13 should consume between 1400 to 1600 calories, while adolescents aged 14 to 18 need 1600 to 2000 calories daily. Adult males and females on a sedentary lifestyle require between 2000 to 2200 calories.

2. Portion Control
portion-control

Portion control is vital for all humans. Parents must understand that children cannot eat as much as adults, and their servings should be age-appropriate. If they finish their food, they can always ask for more. But on a deeper level, one must consider the amount of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, and minerals they consume daily and whether they are on a balanced, healthy diet. Since carbohydrates provide 4 kilocalories of energy per gram, they should comprise 30 to 50% of their daily intake. Proteins provide the same energy as carbohydrates and should comprise at least 40% of daily calorie intake. As for fats, since they offer the most energy, their consumption should be encouraged but moderately, comprising not more than a quarter of your daily energy intake.

3. Eat Your Veggies First

Parents have been advising their children to eat the vegetables on their plates first for centuries, but their advice has a good reason. When an individual begins a meal, they are at their hungriest, while the body is geared to absorb nutrition. If they begin with their veggies, they will finish them all and enjoy maximum nutrition. As vegetables are nutrient powerhouses, eating veggies at their hungriest will also help them binge less on other food groups and not overeat. This is a useful trick for maintaining portion control and maintaining a healthy diet.

4. Make Fruits Your Desserts
make-fruits-your-desserts

Fruits should become your best friends for those instances of sweet-tooth cravings as they are the best diet food to incorporate into your healthy lifestyle. Fruits like apples, bananas, pineapples, berries, guavas, and pomegranates are well-endowed in vitamins, minerals, dietary fibers, phenolic compounds, natural sugars, and antioxidants. The presence of natural sugars makes fruits great alternatives to calorie-dense desserts and can be consumed 2 to 3 times in a day as snacks or desserts, while maintaining portion control.

5. Be Mentally Present While Eating
be-mentally-present-while-eating

This is an important suggestion that few adults, and even fewer children like. You should be mentally present and savoring every bite you eat, not while watching a show or reading a book. Though those are good forms of entertainment and learning, they distract from the main purpose of eating: absorbing nutrition. Plus, people tend to overeat when they do not pay attention to eating. This results in individuals feeling bloated or hungry too soon, causing them to eat out of impulse and craving.

6. Nutrient-Rich Vs Calorie-Rich

This is a zone where most people get confused. Just because a dish is rich in nutrients, does not mean it is calorie-dense, and vice versa. Nutrients like carbs, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals are present in healthy diet foods like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, while all foods have calories, or energy, that our bodies need. Having a nutrient-focused approach to food is always better than simply counting calories. That ensures your diet is balanced and healthy, not enforced or strict with carbs or fats. All fast foods are calorie-dense, but all healthy diet foods are nutrient-dense. Now it is up to you whether you focus on nutrients more or calories.

Conclusion

It is never easy to clean up your act and get into healthy eating. However, a little diligence and self-discipline can go a long way and heal years of fast-food consumption in a matter of months. This beginner’s guide to incorporating healthy diet foods will increase your awareness about calories, portion control, kinds of nutrients, and the importance of fruits and vegetables. It will also encourage you to be present while eating and understand how focusing on nutrients is a better way of leading a happy and fit life.

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The views expressed are that of the expert alone.

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