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5 tricks for a healthy diet

by Roy Chambers (follow)
Nutrition (265)     
Some people are obsessed with what they eat, but most people find this too difficult and so they give up any attempt to control their eating habits. It is possible though to eat in a more healthy way, just by following a few simple tips.

It should be easy to eat healthily (Attribution: Wikicommons - ProjectManhattan)

1. Eat more

This seems counter-intuitive, however our biggest problem usually isn't our meals, but the snacks in between. If we eat a full meal then we are less likely to snack.

So I should have written, Eat your fill so that you don't snack between meals, as usually our snacks are much less healthy than our meals.

2. Make sure you eat the right things

If we don't get enough nutrition then we can eat to bursting point and still feel hungry. The most famous example of this is rabbit starvation, where North American tribes would be reduced to a diet of rabbits at certain times of the year. They would eat until their stomachs stretched out and still feel hungry because rabbits lack many essential nutrients.

One of the most important elements to any meal should be protein. A salad might be healthy but a lack of protein will make us feel hungry before our next meal. So it is essential to add things like lean meats, eggs, beans or tofu to meals.

Lean meat is a great source of protein in our diet (Attribution: Pixabay - LoboStudioHamburg)

Sugar is another one. Our brain uses lots of energy, and people in jobs that involve very little physical activity but lots of mental activity often find themselves feeling hungry. Often this is the result of low levels of sugar. The result is often poor choices of snacking that include sugar, salt, fats and carbs all in one. If you're going to snack on carbs, choose complex, low GI foods.

3. Avoid foods with added sugar and salt

Sugar and salt are rare in nature so our bodies are programmed to crave them. When they are added to foods we will eat more than we need to get the sugar and salt.

Avoid foods with added sugar and salt (Attribution: Pixabay - bykst)

Most processed foods include sugar and salt for the simple fact that they are cheap and easily added to everything. As a general rule, avoid processed foods, as you will find them in everything from salad dressings to bread, so unless you are doing everything yourself you will have to buy carefully.

4. Flavours

We live a world of great flavours. When we want a healthy diet we need to find flavours that enhance the taste of healthy foods. Currently there is a sour trend in dieting. While I don't believe that it will really help you lose weight, sour things are a great flavour rush and better for you than sugar.

I had a girl friend from Northern China where they eat lots of pickled items. Instead of buying her candy I used to have to buy her jars of pickled vegetables as she preferred these to sweets.

I add chilli to a lot of my dishes for extra flavour (Attribution: Pixabay - Raisttheelf)

There are numerous other sources of great flavour. Some people add chilli or lots of garlic. But as said before, avoid shop bought sauces for flavour as they are usually packed with sugar and salt.

5. A little of what you fancy does you good

Eating should be a fun, social, and life affirming activity. When we focus too much on being healthy we lose something. There is nothing wrong with going out to have coffee and cake with friends or occasionally relaxing in front of the TV with a bowl of ice cream - the key is to enjoy the indulgence and don't feel guilty.

A little of what you fancy does you good (Attribution: Pixabay - alexandira)

Unhealthy indulgences should a treat and not a regular thing so we appreciate them more.

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