Healthy foods – what are they?

November 12, 2012

Healthy foods – what are they?

One of the most important things to consider when aiming for a healthy lifestyle is a balanced and nutritious diet, but it can be easier said than done unless you know the basics of food nutrition!

Food and what we eat is often a contentious issue, many of us know what we like and

don’t like, many of us are also aware that there are lots of things which are bad for us and just as many which, while better for us, may not taste quite as good! However a healthy, well balanced diet is the cornerstone to good health and is relatively easy to achieve. There are a number of foods which are regarded as ‘super foods’ and attempts should be made to include these healthy foods in our diet.

Fruit and vegetables

We’ve all heard the mantra – eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day to increase your healthy food intake. However what constitutes a portion and what does it mean by five? Five apples? Five carrots?

  • More than five is better still – whilst five portions is the recommended daily amount most people are unaware that this the minimum recommendation and that 7 – 9 portions is even better for you!

  • Portion size – an apple, a banana etc. – self explanatory. For everything else a handful or a couple of tablespoons counts as a portion. Whilst fresh fruit smoothies are considered to be a healthy food, it is much more beneficial to eat the whole fruit – and probably more filling as well.

  • Variety – is the spice of life, and it certainly is where fruit and vegetables are concerned, the idea is to eat as wide a variety of colour as possible – so, something green, something red, something orange etc. that way you can be sure that your healthy foods are providing all the necessary vitamins and minerals required for good health. Only one item will count towards your five a day – so eating five apples doesn’t count!

Nuts and seeds

Nuts and seeds are amazingly nutritious and can be used in many ways to add variety to your cooking – throw a handful in a stir fry, or add some to your porridge. Nuts and seeds are super healthy foods providing us with good oil, fiber, vitamins and minerals.

Grains

Grains are an essential part of any healthy diet and can be included in a variety of ways. Always choose wholegrain products which will also provide you with slow energy release and increase your fiber intake. There are so many different grains to choose from and lots of lovely recipes available.

  • Pasta and rice – the two most popular grain products, choose brown pasta and brown rice for the added health benefits.

  • Bread – choose wholegrain, or seedy bread

  • Quinoa

  • Oats – porridge or home-made low sugar granola makes a great breakfast and helps to stave off that snacking feeling.

  • Bran

  • Cous cous – choose wholegrain

Choosing healthy foods should be everybody’s first option – but there is nothing wrong in having a treat as well, everything in moderation is the key to good health.

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