Healthy eating habits (Photo via Pablo Merchán Montes/Unsplash)

Basics of Healthy Eating to Improve Your Health

Healthy eating is a practice that everyone should take seriously in their lives. It’s the habit of consuming a balanced and nutritious diet. Ideally, healthy eating comprises of consuming a variety of items from every food group such as meat, dairy, fruits, vegetables, etc.

Let’s understand the art of healthy eating better!


The Basics of Healthy Eating

Healthy foods (Photo via Brooke Lark/Unsplash)

The following are some of the basic foundational pointers about healthy eating that you should keep in mind:

  • Limit the intake of added sugars
  • Limit the intake of saturated and trans fats
  • Remain hydrated throughout
  • Limit alcohol and sugary beverages
  • Add protein, carbs, and fats to your diet
  • Be mindful about serving sizes and portion control

Now, the above pointers are just the basics of healthy eating. To understand it better, you must understand what a healthy diet consists of.

What Is A Healthy Diet?

A healthy diet is one which provides an individual with the essential nutrients, minerals, and vitamins at the right proportions. Hence, there are various servings of different food grounds that are important in a healthy diet.

  • Fruits and vegetables: 5 servings a day
  • Whole grains: at least 6 servings a day
  • Lean proteins: poultry, meat, fish, lentils
  • Low-fat dairy: yogurt, milk, and cheese
  • Healthy fats: nuts, seeds, avocado, olive oil

A healthy diet isn’t focused on solids only, but on liquids as well. It’s important to understand that a healthy diet or healthy eating is never going to encourage regular alcohol or sugary beverage consumption.

Clean Eating Meal Plan

Clean meal plan (Photo via Ello/Unsplash)

As mentioned above, a clean eating meal plan will come with food from every group that has all three macronutrients along with other essential nutrients. Here’s an example of one:

  • Breakfast: Whole grain oatmeal with almond milk, berries, and a slight amount of honey (if needed for taste)
  • Snack: Fresh fruits
  • Lunch: Grilled chicken, roasted sweet potatoes, sautéed vegetables such as carrots and beans
  • Snack: Raw vegetables with healthy dips (guacamole or hummus)
  • Dinner: Grilled salmon with quinoa

The above is an example of what a healthy eating plan is supposed to look like. Each individual will have a diet plan based on their daily macros and calorie requirements, such as whether they’re following a calorie deficit diet or a calorie surplus diet.

Some Pointers About Macronutrients

Speaking of macros, there are three of them:

  1. Proteins
  2. Fats
  3. Carbohydrates

Your body can function to a certain degree without carbohydrates, but more often than not, people prefer simple carbs. It’s just a happier way of following a diet. However, there are certain healthy carbs that are better suited for consumption when you're on a diet. Here are some of them:

  • Whole grains such as whole wheat bread, brown rice, quinoa
  • Fruits such as apples, berries, bananas
  • Vegetables such as sweet potatoes, peas, carrots
  • Legumes such as lentils, chickpeas, black beans

Coming to proteins and fats, both are essential.

While proteins are fairly easy to distinguish, you should be able to identify between saturated vs unsaturated fats. This knowledge will help you with building a healthy eating diet plan more easily.

What Are Unhealthy Foods?

Unhealthy foods (Photo via Jonathan Borba/Unsplash)

These are usually foods that have added sugar, saturated fats, sodium, and are low in essential nutrients. Examples of unhealthy foods are as follows:

  • Processed food such as candies, chips, cookies
  • Fast foods such as burgers, fries, fried chicken
  • High amounts of high-fat meat such as beef and pork
  • Deserts such as cake, ice cream, pastries
  • Sugary drinks such as soda, sports drinks, sweetened juices

While healthy eating should be a habit that you should aim to adopt, it’s not necessary to always eat healthy. As a human, you’ll have cravings for certain unhealthy foods at times, and it’s absolutely okay to give into them. You should remember to take care of your happiness while taking care of your health.

Having a cheat meal or a cheat day is perfectly acceptable, and is even recommended during a fitness journey. It helps you avoid hitting a plateau or getting demotivated from always eating the same dishes.


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Edited by
Susrita Das
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