The arrival of every New Year prompts many of us to resolve to eat more wisely. These healthful eating tips can help you feel great, perform well and invest in your well-being not only for 2006 but for many new years to come.
Ageing can be (in part) the accumulation of a lifetime of poor nutrition and inactivity. You are less likely to become tomorrowâ€™s health problem if you eat wisely and enjoy regular physical activity. People who burn 1,500 calories per week with exercise tend to be healthier and live longer.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Active people who eat breakfast not only gain fuel for a high-energy day, but also tend to be wiser in their food choices the rest of the day. Eating cereal at 8:00am beats dunking doughnuts two hours later. Cereal is a breakfast of champions. Fibre-rich choices like fruit and vegetables (including skin), whole grain and whole meal varieties of bread cereals and potatoes, nuts, seeds (like sunflower, pumpkin) and pulses (beans, peas and lentils) are among the best.
A bowl full of millet porridge with a banana, low-fat milk, and glass of orange juice is an A-plus meal: It is high in carbohydrates, calcium, fibre, and many other nutrients, low in fat, and easy to prepare.
Supper, not breakfast, should be the focus of any weight-loss plan. If you are dieting you need to eat a substantial breakfast and lunchâ€”then you will have the energy to enjoy exercise and you wonâ€™t get too hungry and start craving for sweets becoming more likely to succumb to poor choices. Supper is when you can afford a light meal. A modest dinner creates the calorie deficit needed for weight loss.
Honour your hunger â€” it is your bodyâ€™s request for fuel â€” and stop eating when you feel satisfied. You will maintain an appropriate weight, and have lots of energy. Fat-free foods in excess are fattening. Small amounts of fat can help balance your diet, satisfy hunger and reduce your desire to eat too much. Ice cream is a popular treat, but it tends to be high in calories and fat. Try low-fat frozen yoghurt instead.
Keep to a regular eating schedule and do not put off eating until later if you are hungry. Active people tend to get hungry at least every four hours, so pace your meals and afternoon snack accordingly. If you go for an extended period without eating, you will not only lack energy for exercise, but you will probably overcompensate with a huge dinner.
Beans, dried peas and other types of beans are excellent sources of protein and carbohydrate. These foods are digested slowly for a steady release of energy that can enhance stamina.
Meats have about as much cholesterol as chicken and fish. The saturated fat in red meat â€” not the cholesterol â€” is the major health culprit. Because red meats are an excellent source not only of protein but also of iron and zinc, eating two to four lean-meat meals per week can be a healthful addition to a sports diet.
Oranges, grapefruit, and other citrus fruits are among the best fruits. Theyâ€™re rich in vitamin C and potassium. Eat citrus fruit daily, drink citrus juices, or both. A 6-ounce glass of orange juice provides 100% of the daily value for vitamin C (60 mg).
Potatoes offer more nutritional value than rice or plain pasta. By baking several, you can enjoy the extras with breakfast, lunch, or even post-workout snacks. Be sure to eat the skin; most of the vitamin C is stored right underneath it!
Vegetables are the best source of â€œall naturalâ€ vitamins. Colourful veggies such as broccoli, spinach, kale, carrots, sweet potatoes, peppers, and tomatoes are vitamin powerhouses. The deeper and darker the colour, the richer the nutritional value.
Water can come plain from a glass, but itâ€™s also in oranges, soups, yogurt, salads, and many other foods. You are taking in enough water if you urinate every 2 to 4 hours. Dark, strong-smelling urine is a sign of dehydration; pale yellow is best.
Nibble on your favourite foods â€” you donâ€™t need to eliminate them completely even if they are high in fat.
Excluding foods from your diet because you think they are â€œbadâ€ or fattening easily leads to binge eating. For example, it is far better to enjoy five chips every day than to gobble 500 chips at a party.
Quick meals should include wholesome foods from at least three food groups. Some examples: cereal, milk and a banana; peanut butter and yogurt; spaghetti and tomato sauce; a baked potato and low-fat cheese.
In contrast, a single-food meal lacks the variety of nutrients needed for optimal health.
Given that 20% to 30% of your calories can come from fat (at least 40 to 80 grammes of fat per day for most active people), you can budget a little fat into each mealâ€”preferably healthy fats like olive oil or nuts. Supplements are meant to supplement healthy eating, not compensate for poor eating habits. Trust food first, then take a supplement with a doctorâ€™s advice.
Use it or lose it â€” that is the rule for muscle strength. Unless you want to become frail and lose your independence, you should strength-train all your life.
Muscles boost your metabolism, making it possible either to eat more calories (and take in more healthful nutrients) or to lose fat. Not only is food essential for fuel, but good food is one of lifeâ€™s pleasures.
Here is how to have a nutritious new year