The most important thing to know about healthy foods is that they contain all the nutrients your body needs to stay healthy and function properly. A balanced diet is a healthy diet which promotes or helps to maintain optimal health. A healthy diet delivers the body with all the necessary nutrition: protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and sufficient food energy. And this type of diet is what we call “nutritious”.
Many people, especially children, are more concerned about portion control rather than nutritional value. As a result, healthy foods become less common in our diet. The trend over the last few years has been to reduce the amount of fat and sodium while increasing the amount of sugar and flavorings. The result has been unhealthy, unbalanced diets that are prone to serious nutritional deficiencies. This trend toward high calorie, low nutrient diets is not likely to change in the foreseeable future.
Most fruits and vegetables are good for you. In fact, most fruits and vegetables have vitamins and other nutrients that are beneficial to human health, even though their nutritional value is greatly reduced compared to processed, frozen, or tinned foods. Fruits and vegetables are full of antioxidants, the chemicals that fight against free radicals that cause heart disease. They also contain calcium, fiber, iron, and potassium, which are all important to keep your body healthy and functioning properly. The problem is that because healthy foods are so hard to find, we tend to snack on them when we aren’t particularly hungry and then, once we’re full, return to the same unhealthy foods.
Whole wheat and whole grain breads and cereals, brown rice, oatmeal, and beans provide a wide variety of nutrients that are good for you without using calories. Instead of using sugar or salt to season your food, choose to use herbs and spices to make your own seasoning, such as herbs for garlic and oregano, or spices to create a savory flavor for chicken, fish, or vegetables. To reduce your calorie intake without sacrificing the taste, use low-fat or fat-free dressings and spreads on breads and crackers, rather than butter or oil. Cooking whole grains, which are higher in fiber and lower in fat than refined grains, is also good for your nutrition. Use recipes for whole wheat pasta, bread, tortillas, salad, wraps, soups, stewed vegetables, and other healthy foods.
Fresh fruits and vegetables are an important part of a healthy eating plan, but when you buy fresh produce, look for one that is frozen, rather than canned. Canned vegetables and fruits are full of preservatives, which are not good for you, especially in large amounts. Instead, choose the best quality ingredients, especially if you cook them yourself, and buy whole, raw vegetables or ones that are lightly steamed rather than canned. You can find many easy recipes for healthy foods that use whole grains, such as whole wheat pasta and brown rice instead of white rice and whole wheat oatmeal instead of white flour pasta.
Eating healthy foods helps maintain a healthy blood sugar level, which is vitally important in maintaining weight loss and preventing diabetes. Diabetics should avoid sugary and processed carbohydrates, which is where most refined carbohydrates come from. Instead, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, healthy proteins, and whole grains, all of which are higher in fiber. They are also low in calories and high in nutrients, especially vitamins E and C. A well-balanced diet helps people of all ages live a longer and healthier life. If you’re trying to lose weight, talk with your doctor to find a healthy, balanced diet that’s right for you.