With the increase in obesity rates and prevalence of metabolic disorders seen in the last decade, nutrition has become a major interest to many. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation out there that leave people with confusion when trying to adopt new eating habits.
Here are a few rules to follow that will make your eating habits much healthier.
1 Eat more whole grains as opposed to refined or enriched grains
Enriched grains lack some of the vitamins and fiber necessary to maintain good health.
2 Eat lots of fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are a good source of vitamins, minerals and fiber, important nutrients to maintain good health. They are also low in calories, which can help prevent overeating.
3 Drink more water and avoid sugary drinks
Drinking water helps us reduce the number of calories in our diet.
4 Incorporate healthier fats into your diet
Often we perceive fat as being bad however fat is essential for sustaining life. The recommendation is to eat more unsaturated fat and a little bit of saturated fat, while completely avoiding trans fat. Good sources of fat are fatty fish (consume at least once a week), avocados, vegetable oils, nuts and seeds.
5 Increase protein intake a little bit
Protein is a very satiating macronutrient that can help regulate appetite. Studies have shown that a slightly higher-than-normal protein intake is associated with improvements in body weight management and cardiovascular risk factors.
6 Try to eat your food within a 12 hour window
Mindless eating is one of the factors leading to overeating. Habits like late snacking or eating while watching TV or using a laptop can increase caloric intake, making it easier to gain weight. Forcing yourself to eat within a certain time window can help reduce caloric intake.
7 Make small, sustainable changes
The goal is to adopt a better lifestyle as opposed to seeing quick results. Small changes can be less stressful and more likely to be implemented and adopted in the long run. These changes can significantly improve quality of life.
8 Exercise regularly
Good eating habits, combined with regular exercise will elicit the best possible outcome. The recommendation is to engage in physical activity at least 3 times a week for 30 minutes a day.
Nutrition plays a key role in one's journey to achieve good health. However, it is not a one size fits all area and therefore a lot of confusion exists in terms of what we should be eating for good health. The tips mentioned above can make a difference in your overall health and well-being.
Manuel Quinones is an exercise physiology and nutrition professor in the Fitness and health promotion program at Fanshawe College as well as a physiology professor in the massage therapy program. He graduated from the fitness and health promotion program at Fanshawe and then went on to complete his BASc in kinesiology at the University of Guelph-Humber and MSc in health sciences (kinesiology) at Western University. He is currently completing his PhD in exercise nutrition at Western University.