Nutrition is the ‘new black’ and wellness is in fashion. While it’s great nutrition is in the spotlight and we’re more aware of healthy eating, it does have a downside. Among the useful and evidence-based information, there is also a lot of conflicting advice and misinformation.
On top of this, there are many different diet advocates, from sugar free to paleo and high fat low carb they all think that their way of eating is the ‘perfect diet’. So what should you believe?
The truth is there is no one perfect diet. You’ve got to find a healthy balance that works for you. There are lots of ways to put together a healthy diet so here are some tips for creating your own nourishing way of eating.
1. Learn what works for you
We are all different, therefore it makes sense that we’ll all have slightly different preferences and needs when it comes to our nutrition. Have a think about how food makes you feel and also what you enjoy. Some people love a smoothie for breakfast and that helps keep them satisfied. For me, I prefer to chew something in the morning, and would rather have a smoothie later in the day. There are plenty of healthy options for breakfast and a smoothie is just one of them. Find what works for you.
2. Go for a minimally processed diet
Basing your diet on whole foods (ie, foods as you find them in nature) and minimally processed foods is a good step towards a healthy diet. This means going for wholegrains over refined grains, limiting processed meats and choosing other less processed food options. We know that foods are more than just vitamins and minerals – it’s the whole package that counts.
3. Include plenty of vegetables
One of the keys to eating well is to make sure you get plenty of vegetables. Not only do they provide us with vitamins and minerals, they’re also a source of phytochemicals which are thought to help protect the body against chronic disease, within the setting of a healthy diet. They’re also a good source of fibre for a healthy digestive system. The minimum recommended amount is three serves a day, but try to go for a couple more.
4. Choose a variety of foods from the different food groups
No matter what you choose to eat, there are a range of options in each food group to satisfy your dietary needs. Don’t eat meat? You can be healthy without it, just choose other sources of protein such as tofu or legumes. Can’t tolerate milk? There are other dairy-free milk alternatives that also provide calcium.
If you tend to eat the same thing each day for your meals, try mixing it up. Different foods have different vitamins and minerals, so going for a range of foods helps ensure you get a good balance.
5. Get your portions right
As well as what we eat, portion size is also relevant to our well-being.
Healthy Food Guide has some guidelines around portions that you can check out, and if you want some personalised advice, talk to a registered nutritionist or dietitian.
6. Be careful where you get your information from
It’s great to keep educated and informed when it comes to eating well, but make sure you get your information from a credible source. Some of the things I’ve read on the internet include claims that dairy increases belly fat and bananas make you gain weight. It’s not true. Remember, anyone can write a blog, start a website or share a Facebook post, but it doesn’t mean it’s true. Check out the authors credential’s.
Nicola Jackson is a NZ-registered nutritionist with a passion for helping people to develop a healthier relationship with food. Nicola’s blog Eat Well NZ tells you why you don’t need to quit foods, follow rules, or go to the extreme to be healthy. Her blog showcases a balanced approach to eating well, with plenty of healthy recipes and other tips on nutrition, fitness and wellness. You can also find Nicola on Facebook and Instagram.