You should always try to eat a wide variety of foods, and have a healthy balance diet. In this day and age it’s never too late to try and eat healthier. We are all bombarded with fast foods on our main streets and shopping malls.
Keep South Africa Moving’s ambition is to make you aware of different foods that you can also enjoy. Eating is not all about being on a diet and just eating salads. It’s about feeding your body the nutrients it deserves.
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Nutrition news is always changing, because diets are evolving, there are some nutrition basics you can keep in mind. By knowing these nutrition basics, you’ll be better equipped to sort through the latest research and advice.
Eating healthy comes down to understanding the food groups and becoming more aware of calories, and the roles that specific nutrients play in a healthy diet.
There are five basic food groups: grains; vegetables; fruit; meat, fish, and beans (meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs, nuts, and meat alternatives); and milk (which includes yogurt and cheese).
Each food group provides certain nutritional benefits, so foods from each group should be consumed each day.
The key to a balanced diet is to recognize that grains (especially whole grains), vegetables and fruits are needed in greater proportion than foods from the meat, fish & beans and milk groups.
A healthy and balanced diet also contains a variety of foods from within each food group, since each food offers different macronutrients (the energy providing nutrients, namely carbohydrates, proteins, and fats) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals).
contain carbohydrate, fiber, and some vitamins and minerals.
- Whole grains are the healthiest choices.
Fiber found mainly in
fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes
is best known for its ability to prevent or relieve constipation. But it plays a much bigger role, it helps maintain a healthy weight and lowering your risk of diabetes and heart disease. Go for 5 Fruits and Veggies – more Is Better! Good source of vitamins A and C, folate, iron, and magnesium.
- Low in saturated and trans fat, high in fiber
- Choose a rainbow of colors, especially dark green and deep orange
Meat, fish and beans
contain protein, B vitamins and minerals
- Choose dry beans and peas, fish, poultry, nuts, and high-protein vegetarian alternatives.
- When eating meat, choose lean cuts.
- Removing skin from poultry reduces saturated fat.
Milk is a…
- Good source of calcium; contains protein, riboflavin, and vitamins A and D
- Promotes strong bones and healthy teeth
- Choose plain low-fat (1%) or nonfat milk, yogurt, and other dairy foods.
- Calcium-fortified soy milk and rice milk are alternatives for people who do not drink milk.
List of Healthy Foods (the Most Nutrient Dense)
Nutrient density is a measure of the amount of nutrients a food contains in comparison to the number of calories. By eating the Healthy Foods, you’ll get all the essential nutrients that you need for excellent health, including vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, essential fatty acids, fiber and more for the least number of calories. They have not been highly processed nor do they contain synthetic, artificial or irradiated ingredients.
How much fiber do you need each day?
The Institute of Medicine, which provides science-based advice on matters of medicine and health, gives the following daily recommendations for adults:
Age 50 or younger
Men 38 grams
Women 25 grams
Institute of Medicine, 2012
Age 51 or older
Men 30 grams
Women 21 grams
List of healthiest foods
Eggs & Low-Fat Dairy
Cow’s milk, grass-fed
Beans & Legumes
Garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
Tofu and Tempeh
Poultry & Lean Meats
Nuts, Seeds & Oils
Olive oil, extra virgin
Spices & Herbs
Chili pepper, dried
Starting with a good breakfast
Skipping breakfast can put you at greater risk of being overweight. Start your day with a healthy breakfast, eg: oatmeal with berries, whole meal sandwich with eggs and salad. Etc
Lunch is an important meal, to provide energy and nutrients to keep you going through the afternoon.
It is fine to snack – so long as you maintain a healthy balance of foods and keep yourself active.
Healthy eating on a budget
Some people think eating healthily is expensive. But this is not necessarily the case. Eating locally produced food will solve that problem(budget).
- Women need 1,800 to 2,000 calories per day.
- Men need 2,200 to 2,400 calories per day.
- Adults need more if they are very active.
- Girls aged 9 to 13 need 1,600 calories per day.
- Boys aged 9 to 13 need 1,800 calories per day.
- Children may need 400 calories more each day if they are moderately active.
- Very active boys and girls may need even more.
Ref: Hsph Harvard.edu/ Wikipedia-food group/eating for health