Cooking a meal and eating it is a difficult task with the plentiful eat-out options and food delivery apps available at hand. Bringing in restrictions, elaborate meal plans or ingredient substitutions might make you feel irritated or even grumpy but once you understand the complete advantages that these might bring upon your health and routine there is no way that you are going to compromise on these tiny nuances. Generally, the food that we eat is rich in energy (meaning calories) and poor in nutrients (such as vitamins, minerals and likewise) while it should be the other way around. We eat to keep ourselves energized, perform activities and replenish our energy stores for timely needs but beyond all these we should enjoy what we eat. Choosing nutrient-rich foods is simple as they are easy to find, we are familiar with them and these foods belong to one of the five food groups. Be cautious to achieve the right balance of nutrients and establish a healthy eating pattern that is simple, effective, long-lasting and stress-free.
Pinpointing Nutrient-rich Foods
Before planning the meal for the day, identify nutrient-rich foods and beverages to reap greater benefits with your healthy eating plan. Ensure to choose from:
Leafy greens such as broccoli & spinach, whole grains such as quinoa and wheat commonly found in cereals, colorful fruits such as berries, oranges and pomegranates, foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, zero-fat or low-fat dairy, veggies such as beets, carrots and bell peppers and lean meats must be essentially included in your daily meal plan.
Changing Meal Plans
Once you are completely aware of what nutrient-rich foods are, its time to switch over ingredients and foods replacing your energy-dense ones with nutrient-dense foods. Some options include replacing white bread with brown bread; aerated and sugary drinks with plain water, tender coconut water or unsweetened beverages such as coffee/tea; take out chips as a snack and add in crunchy carrot sticks or a handful of nuts to your snack menu; choose fruits such as melons, kiwis or berries for your dessert as they are naturally sweet instead of pouncing over ice creams or mithais that are rich in calories; swap processed meats with lean meats.
The foods that go into your body affect your energy stores which in turn have a significant effect on your overall performance-affecting your marks if you are a student, affecting your work ability when you are at office or your energy to handle situations if you are a mom taking care of your family. Choosing the foods wisely is the first step towards success.
Apart from our regular breakfast, lunch and dinner menu its mostly snacks that jeopardize the daily calorie consumption sweeping off calorie limitations. Snacks such as samosas, cakes, ice creams, chips, carbonated drinks and sweetened beverages are calorie-laden with meagre nutrients. Choose your snacks wisely. Go for something such as a handful of nuts, a portion of fruit, low-fat milk or puffed rice. Consuming snacks is not bad. It’s the foods that you consume as snacks that makes all the difference. Healthy snacking options are elaborated in detail at www.firsteatright.com and this would give you an idea of the kind of snack that would go well for you and your family.
While the idea of mostly relying on vegetables and fruits might seem mundane and impossible for those who have relied upon other things to fill their tummy it is essential to know that we are not in a rush to eat a plateful of produce immediately. Start slowly, add a portion of fruit and vegetable along with every meal and gradually increase the portion size to suit your requirements. Another important reason for making a gradual increase is because these veggies and fruits are fiber-laden and consuming too much fiber too fast can cause bloating and gas. Remember to drink plentiful of water alongside to ease the digestion process.
Eat healthy food, do physical activity regularly and stay fit.
AVOID FRAUD. EAT SMART.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.