Eating a proper diet can be very challenging as we keep up with our modern, fast-paced lifestyle. But we don’t always have to avoid certain food or deprive ourselves to be healthy.
Here are some 5 great tips that I’ve learned being raised by a mom with a PhD in nutrition.
First, what is a diet?
We’re often told to go on a diet, but what does that even mean? It’s not just about losing weight, although it can be commonly associated with that.
The standard Miriam-Webster definition of a diet is what one habitually/regularly consumes for nourishment. So it’s actually just what you eat on a daily basis, regardless of your fitness/health goals.
Without further ado, below are five tips for a well-rounded diet. Note that these are general lifestyle tips, and it’s always best to consult your private doctor and personal nutritionist should you have any special conditions.
1: There is no such thing as junk food
You read it right, and aren’t you glad? This has got to be my favorite diet advice yet. Treat yourself to this tip!
The thing is, even too much of a good thing is bad. The golden rule in nutrition is, everything in moderation, including that tasty donut.
Too much of one vegetable can become junk. But it is healthy in the right amount, together with other food groups.
You might also want to think twice about having a cheat day in your diet.
Dumping all your food guilty pleasures into one day of the week or month could cause you to be over-indulgent, consuming more of what you deprived yourself of on that one cheat day.
The key is in balance. Just make sure to not overindulge and you should be fine. Check out this amazing selection of vegetarian sweets to satisfy your sweet tooth!
2: Eat a balanced, diversified diet
The food pyramid is something we’ve learned since elementary school, but boy is it often difficut to live by. Though it really does pay in the long run to have a colorful plate of food for every meal.
Aside from eating in moderation, eat a variety of food as well.
For instance, some of us may try to avoid or eliminate rice, bread and carbs altogether from our diet for fear of getting bloated. But then we might miss out on eating our grains, thus having an incomplete diet, which is not heathy in the long haul.
Moderation and variety are really essential to a well-balanced diet.
3: Don’t skip meals
Dieticians from the University of Lousville outlined these Perils to Skipping Meals (Kuppersmith & Kennedy, 2005):
- Lowers metabolism;
- Burns less energy;
- Can lead us to gain weight when we eat our usual amount of food;
- Leaves us with little energy because the body has run out of the fuel we get from food;
- Leaves us sluggish and tired; and
- Causes headaches or makes us feel weak and shaky.
The ideal is to eat 3-6 times a day, at a 4-6 hour interval. If you don’t feel like eating three large meals a day, you can do portion control — eat less but more often.
Light snacking is a great habit to develop too. Turn to dried fruits, nuts, granola mixes and whatnot to appease your tummy when it feels like munching on something in the middle of the day.
4: A diet is more than just for weight loss
The modern culture of being insta-famous and skinny-curvy has us exposed to unrealistic and often unhealthy standards.
This can lead to an unhealthy body image and potentially spiral into depression with such inhumane expectations.
Instead of planning your diet for mere looks as the goal, we ought to remember what a diet is really for — adequate nourishment.
Eating right by your body and soul is what really matters at the end of the day. It is never about perfection and weight loss alone.
5: Beware of fad diets
There are so many curated diets out there trying to grab our attention and preying on our insecurities.
You name it, and its on the ready-to-eat/consume market. Intermittent fasting, keto, vegan, etc.
This is not to say that these are invalid diets/programs per se. But sometimes they can be misused and misunderstood by the general public. They become fad-ish when it’s taken out of its scientific context.
For example, keto food has become a popular low-carb diet in recent years. Though it was originally conceived to help people with epilepsy and other health conditions. So if you don’t have epilepsy or other conditions, it might be wise to consult doctors/nutritionists first before diving into a diet program.
If you’re interested in plant-based or flexitarian food, here’s an article about the Planetary Health Diet.
Got more tips? Share in the comments section below.
Cheers to your health and wealth!