Health

Twelve recommendations to maintain a healthy diet and improve eating habits

The end of the year holidays are approaching and it is necessary to review our commitments related to food, since at this time it is common to consume a large amount of food and drinks. “A simple Christmas or New Year’s Eve dinner can consume up to 3,000 kilocalories, which is practically equivalent to double the energy requirements of two full days (on average) for a person,” explains Francisco Herrera Morales, nutritionist at the Dos Pinos Cooperative. A caloric excess that usually corresponds to the end of the Christmas holidays with an increase of 4 to 8 pounds.

In order to create food responsibilities that are successful from the beginning, it is necessary that good planning is always present, that a nutrition professional perform an adequate nutritional evaluation and that the fulfillment of the goals is real. And it is necessary to select healthy alternatives and achieve the definitive awareness that we must be responsible for our eating habits.

Step by step: the following guidelines are concrete and tangible, “they can serve as a guide for those people interested in gradually changing their way of eating,” adds Herrera.

1) So as not to regret it and start January with “punishments”

It is healthier to make a progressive and planned adaptation that allows changing eating habits. Enjoy the activities of the season, without incurring in excesses and being aware of the health problems that can be generated.

2) Consider 5 meal times per day

By distributing food in a more balanced way, sudden changes in blood glucose levels will be avoided, thus avoiding sudden spikes in energy storage (mainly fat accumulation), or binge eating for lunch/dinner.

3) Breakfast is essential

In order to perform our daily functions, an adequate breakfast will be the fuel to face the activities. It is recommended that the following food groups be incorporated: cereals, dairy products, fruits, which offer energy, protein and calcium; and lastly dietary fiber, along with vitamins and minerals.

4) Healthy snacks

As mentioned in point number two, it is extremely important to distribute the food in 5 meal times. That is why it is necessary to incorporate snacks at mid-morning and afternoon. Ideally, fruit, snacks, natural juices, dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese) should appear frequently, and avoid sweet and salty pastries. In the case of dairy products, skimmed products are an excellent option due to their low caloric content.

5) Incorporate whole foods

Whole grain products can be consumed at breakfast (whole wheat bread), during lunch or dinner (whole grain rice). Ideally, incorporate them gradually, they are digested more slowly in the body, which means better assimilation and therefore less glycemia spikes, in addition to having more dietary fiber.

6) Use little salt and more spices

The abuse of salt consumption is not recommended when we refer to cardiovascular health. A good technique can be the partial substitution of salt in our meals with spices: these enhance the flavor without increasing the sodium content. Marinades with spices give food a better flavor, in case of preparing any meat in the oven.

8) Reduce meat consumption

Some foods within this group are usually loaded with saturated fat and salt, which can affect blood cholesterol levels, blood pressure and, due to their excess, can contribute to weight gain. Select products with little or no visible fat, avoid eating the skin of chicken, turkey or other poultry.

9) Legumes must always be present

Legumes accompanied by a cereal such as rice have the same protein quality as meat, which is why they have been essential in our food history. Prefer dishes like rice with beans, lentils with rice, or rice with chickpeas. These combinations provide complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber.

10) Fresh and vegetable salads

There is a wide variety of fresh vegetables that can be combined for an excellent salad, lettuce, tomato, cabbage, carrot, beetroot, spinach, watercress, cauliflower, broccoli, the possibilities are endless. Dress salads with lemon, olive oil and avoid dressings loaded with fat.

11) Modify Holiday Party Recipes

To avoid the excess calories of many of the typical preparations of this time, replace ingredients high in sugar and fat with those that are reduced in calories. In the case of dairy, prefer skim, use sugar substitutes, or low-sugar foods.

12) Avoid the consumption of alcoholic beverages

The World Health Organization (WHO) advises not to exceed two glasses of wine or beer per day, in the case of men, and half in women within what is considered moderate consumption. If that daily dose is increased during a specific period, it can be harmful, especially when different types of alcoholic beverages are mixed and higher alcohol content is abused (whisky, gin, rum, vodka, for example).

Finally, Herrera concludes that it is necessary to remember that good nutrition is the basis of health, because it helps prevent many diseases. In addition, it contributes to longevity, “that is, if you try to eat a good diet every day, you can celebrate many and better Christmas parties,” the nutritionist points out.

Fountain. Central American and Caribbean Digital Newspaper

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