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Healthy eating, what to put on your plate

What is eating healthy?

Eating healthy is all about putting strict limitations on the ‘unhealthy’ foods we eat and choosing to practice more healthy eating habits. Try to have some self control whenever you are on a diet and always remind yourself that all unhealthy foods have a healthier alternative .This is the secret on how to eat healthy. Eating healthy is not about depriving or starving yourself, it is about feeling great , being energetic and enjoying the foods you eat. When dieting, always try to make a plan and stick to it. Pick the unhealthy foods you love and try to replace them with healthier alternatives. Replacing unhealthy foods with similar and healthier alternatives will help to ease your unhealthy cravings. For info on a fruit which can be beneficial to your health click here. After reading this article you should have an idea of how to eat healthy and wholesome foods.

How to eat healthy and wholesome foods from all the food groups

Healthy eating

In order to eat healthy you first need to have a balanced meal from all the 5 food groups. This is the key to a successful diet . Each food group literally brings something to the table that our bodies wouldn’t , otherwise be able to do without. Ensure that you eat foods from these food groups in balanced servings as too much of one is never good for our health. Bellow is a list of all the food groups and how they help the body:

  1. Legumes – This food group consists of mainly nuts and peas
  2. Food From Animals – consists of products such as milk , butter and lard which all come from animals
  3. proteins – mainly consists of meats which have medium to high protein content like beef and goat meat
  4. Starchy foods- starchy foods are foods with high starch content such as rice, potatoes and wheats
  5. Fruits and vegetables- Vegetables are usually plants or parts of plants that are used for food and fruits are usually the sweet and fleshy products of a tree or other flowering plant

Legumes are low in fat, contain no cholesterol and have a high Iron and Magnesium content .They also contain some proteins which makes them a great substitute for some meats. Foods from Animals are usually foods like milk , butter and which are usually high in fat or protein content. Protein usually comes from meat and helps to strengthen certain parts of the body. Starchy foods give the body energy for completing daily tasks. Last but not least Fruits and Vegetables are usually high in vitamin and mineral content respectively which helps with various processes within the body.

what should you be eating?

Try to eat a balanced diet with a mixture of foods from all the food groups. Try to eat these foods in the right servings. There are many places on the internet that can guide you in measuring the right serving sizes for the dishes you eat. Try to substitute sweet foods with fruits an starches that may help to lesson your sheet tooth. Find creative ways to add fruits and vegetables to your diet instead of eating sweets.

Benefits of eating whole foods

Trying to eat healthier, but confused by mixed messages about the best foods for your health? It can be difficult to see through diet recommendations such as detoxing or clean eating to find the healthiest foods. Start by following a simple food guideline that has stood the test of time: eat more whole foods.

What does ‘whole foods’ mean?

The term ‘whole food’ is normally applied to vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains with minimal processing, but it can apply to animal foods too.

It’s not as simple as neatly dividing foods into two groups – either whole foods or processed foods. Most foods we eat have undergone some degree of processing, whether it’s washing, chopping, drying, freezing or canning, and that’s not always a bad thing. For example, freezing and canning food gives us access to a variety of foods all year round.

Not all processing is a problem

However, there’s a big difference between ‘ultra-processed’ and ‘minimally processed’ healthy foods that are close to their natural state. Whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables are all close to the state they were in when harvested and come loaded with vitamins, minerals, fibre and other essential nutrients. But as the degree of processing and refining increases, the food’s nutritional value decreases.

With more processing, the likelihood that less-beneficial ingredients like fat, salt and sugar are added goes up and the likelihood of vitamins and minerals being present goes down. The US-led National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that 90% of the added sugar in our Western diet comes from ultra-processed foods.

The whole food advantage

Nutritional research consistently shows that a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, grains and legumes brings health benefits. A 2014 analysis by Yale University researchers found that the claims of health benefits for many popular diets such as low glycaemic, Paleo and vegan were exaggerated. The one consistent finding was that “a diet of minimally processed foods close to nature, predominantly plants, is decisively associated with health promotion and disease prevention”.

The benefits of a whole food or a minimally processed diet include lower rates of heart disease, cancer and type 2 diabetes. Another advantage of eating mostly whole foods comes from the vast array of nutrients acting together.

Whole foods such as fruits and vegetables are packed full of phytochemicals and, according to a study by the Institute of Nutrition Sciences, Germany, these natural compounds can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular and other diseases. Fruits and veg also contain nutrients and fibre, and the best way to make sure you’re getting these beneficial elements is to eat them in their natural form.

The good fats

Another benefit is that when you eat a diet made up mostly of whole foods, it’s easier to eat less of the unhealthy fats – such as trans fats and saturated fats – often added to ultra-processed foods and fast food. At the same time, you’ll be boosting the amount of healthier fats such as omega-3 oils from fish, nuts like walnuts, and plants like linseed and chia; and monounsaturated fat from plant sources such as avocado, and nuts such as almonds, cashews and peanuts.

Nutritional information can sometimes be confusing. But there’s no need to try the latest food fad, as eating healthily boils down to having a balanced diet of foods in their natural state, or as close to it as possible. This way you are getting foods in the package of nutrients that nature intended.

The to swap

Eating more whole foods doesn’t mean you need to cut out all ultra-processed foods. Try replacing:

  • sugary breakfast cereal with a bowl of porridge with banana or berries
  • a muesli bar with a handful of mixed nuts
  • white bread with wholemeal or wholegrain bread
  • fruit juice with whole fruit
  • ham or other deli meats with roast chicken or pork.

Whole-Foods, Plant-Based Diet: A Detailed Beginner’s Guide

There are many arguments about which diet is best for you.

Nevertheless, health and wellness communities agree that diets emphasizing fresh, whole ingredients and minimizing processed foods are superior for overall wellness.

The whole-foods, plant-based diet does just that.

It focuses on minimally processed foods, specifically plants, and is effective at stimulating weight loss and improving health.

This article reviews everything you need to know about the whole-foods, plant-based diet, including its potential health benefits, foods to eat and a sample meal plan.

What Is a Whole-Foods, Plant-Based Diet?

There is no clear definition of a what constitutes a whole-foods, plant-based diet (WFPB diet). The WFPB diet is not necessarily a set diet — it’s more of a lifestyle.

This is because plant-based diets can vary greatly depending on the extent to which a person includes animal products in their diet.

Nonetheless, the basic principles of a whole-foods, plant-based diet are as follows:

  • Emphasizes whole, minimally processed foods.
  • Limits or avoids animal products.
  • Focuses on plants, including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, seeds and nuts, which should make up the majority of what you eat.
  • Excludes refined foods, like added sugars, white flour and processed oils.
  • Pays special attention to food quality, with many proponents of the WFPB diet promoting locally sourced, organic food whenever possible.

For these reasons, this diet is often confused with vegan or vegetarian diets. Yet although similar in some ways, these diets are not the same.

People who follow vegan diets abstain from consuming any animal products, including dairy, meat, poultry, seafood, eggs and honey. Vegetarians exclude all meat and poultry from their diets, but some vegetarians eat eggs, seafood or dairy.

The WFPB diet, on the other hand, is more flexible. Followers eat mostly plants, but animal products aren’t off limits.

While one person following a WFPB diet may eat no animal products, another may eat small amounts of eggs, poultry, seafood, meat or dairy.

SUMMARY

The whole-foods, plant-based diet emphasizes plant-based foods while minimizing animal products and processed items.

It Can Help You Lose Weight and Improve Your Health

Obesity is an issue of epidemic proportions. In fact, over 69% of US adults are overweight or obese

Fortunately, making dietary and lifestyle changes can facilitate weight loss and have a lasting impact on health.

Many studies have shown that plant-based diets are beneficial for weight loss.

The high fiber content of the WFPB diet, along with the exclusion of processed foods, is a winning combination for shedding excess pounds.

A review of 12 studies that included more than 1,100 people found that those assigned to plant-based diets lost significantly more weight — about 4.5 pounds (2kg) over an average of 18 weeks — than those assigned to non-vegetarian diets

Adopting a healthy plant-based eating pattern may also help keep weight off in the long run.

A study in 65 overweight and obese adults found that those assigned to a WFPB diet lost significantly more weight than the control group and were able to sustain that weight loss of 9.25 pounds (4.2kg) over a one-year follow-up period

Plus, simply cutting out the processed foods that aren’t allowed on a WFPB diet like soda, candy, fast food and refined grains is a powerful weight loss tool itself .

SUMMARY

Many studies have demonstrated that whole-food, plant-based diets are effective for weight los. They may also help you maintain weight loss in the long run.

It Benefits a Number of Health Conditions

Adopting a whole-foods, plant-based diet not only benefits your waistline, but it can also lower your risk and reduce symptoms of certain chronic diseases.

Heart Disease

Perhaps one of the most well-known benefits of WFPB diets is that they are heart-healthy.

However, the quality and types of foods included in the diet matter.

A large study in over 200,000 people found that those who followed a healthy plant-based diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole-grains, legumes and nuts had a significantly lower risk of developing heart disease than those following non-plant-based diets.

However, unhealthy plant-based diets that included sugary drinks, fruit juices and refined grains were associated with a slightly increased risk of heart disease

Consuming the right kinds of food is critical for heart disease prevention when following a plant-based diet, which is why adhering to a WFPB diet is the best choice.

Cancer

Healthy eating

Research suggests that following a plant-based diet may reduce your risk of certain types of cancer.

A study in over 69,000 people found that vegetarian diets were associated with a significantly lower risk of gastrointestinal cancer, especially for those who followed a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet (vegetarians who eat eggs and dairy)

Another large study in more than 77,000 people demonstrated that those who followed vegetarian diets had a 22% lower risk of developing colorectal cancer than non-vegetarians.

Pescatarians (vegetarians who eat fish) had the greatest protection from colorectal cancer with a 43% reduced risk compared to non-vegetarians.

Cognitive Decline

Some studies suggest that diets rich in vegetables and fruits may help slow or prevent cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease in older adults.

In many studies, higher intakes of fruits and vegetables have been strongly associated with a reduction in cognitive decline.

Diabetes

Adopting a WFPB diet may be an effective tool in managing and reducing your risk of developing diabetes.

Plus, plant-based diets have been shown to improve blood sugar control in people with diabetes .

SUMMARY

Following a whole-foods, plant-based diet may reduce your risk of developing heart disease, certain cancers, cognitive decline and diabetes.

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Adopting a Whole-Foods, Plant-Based Diet Is Good for the Planet

Switching to a plant-based diet not only benefits your health — it can help protect the environment, as well.

People who follow plant-based diets tend to have smaller environmental footprints.

Adopting sustainable eating habits can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption and land used for factory farming, which are all factors in global warming and environmental degradation.

A review of 63 studies showed that the largest environmental benefits were seen from diets containing the least amount of animal-based foods such as vegan, vegetarian and pescatarian diets.

The study reported that a 70% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and land use and 50% less water use could be achieved by shifting Western diet patterns to more sustainable, plant-based dietary patterns .

What’s more, reducing the number of animal products in your diet and purchasing local, sustainable produce helps drive the local economy and reduces reliance on factory farming, an unsustainable method of food production.

SUMMARY

Plant-based diets emphasizing local ingredients are more environmentally friendly than diets that rely heavily on mass-produced animal products and produce.

Foods to Eat on a Whole-Foods, Plant-Based Diet

From eggs and bacon for breakfast to steak for dinner, animal products are the focus of most meals for many people.

When switching to a plant-based diet, meals should center around plant-based foods.

If animal foods are eaten, they should be eaten in smaller quantities, with attention paid to the quality of the item.

Foods like dairy, eggs, poultry, meat and seafood should be used more as a complement to a plant-based meal, not as the main focal point.

A Whole-Foods, Plant-Based Shopping List

  • Fruits: Berries, citrus fruits, pears, peaches, pineapple, bananas, etc.
  • Vegetables: Kale, spinach, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, asparagus, peppers, etc.
  • Starchy vegetables: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, etc.
  • Whole grains: Brown rice, rolled oats, farro, quinoa, brown rice pasta, barley, etc.
  • Healthy fats: Avocados, olive oil, coconut oil, unsweetened coconut, etc.
  • Legumes: Peas, chickpeas, lentils, peanuts, black beans, etc.
  • Seeds, nuts and nut butters: Almonds, cashews, macadamia nuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, natural peanut butter, tahini, etc.
  • Unsweetened plant-based milks: Coconut milk, almond milk, cashew milk, etc.
  • Spices, herbs and seasonings: Basil, rosemary, turmeric, curry, black pepper, salt, etc.
  • Condiments: Salsa, mustard, nutritional yeast, soy sauce, vinegar, lemon juice, etc.
  • Plant-based protein: Tofu, tempeh, plant-based protein sources or powders with no added sugar or artificial ingredients.
  • Beverages: Coffee, tea, sparkling water, etc.

If supplementing your plant-based diet with animal products, choose quality products from grocery stores or, better yet, purchase them from local farms.

  • Eggs: Pasture-raised when possible.
  • Poultry: Free-range, organic when possible.
  • Beef and pork: Pastured or grass-fed when possible.
  • Seafood: Wild-caught from sustainable fisheries when possible.
  • Dairy: Organic dairy products from pasture-raised animals whenever possible.

SUMMARY

A healthy, WFPB diet should focus on plant foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. If animal products are eaten, they should be eaten in smaller quantities compared to plant foods.

Foods to Avoid or Minimize on This Diet

The WFPB diet is a way of eating that focuses on consuming foods in their most natural form. This means that heavily processed foods are excluded.

When purchasing groceries, focus on fresh foods and, when purchasing foods with a label, aim for items with the fewest possible ingredients.

Foods to Avoid

  • Fast food: French fries, cheeseburgers, hot dogs, chicken nuggets, etc.
  • Added sugars and sweets: Table sugar, soda, juice, pastries, cookies, candy, sweet tea, sugary cereals, etc.
  • Refined grains: White rice, white pasta, white bread, bagels, etc.
  • Packaged and convenience foods: Chips, crackers, cereal bars, frozen dinners, etc.
  • Processed vegan-friendly foods: Plant-based meats like Tofurkey, faux cheeses, vegan butters, etc.
  • Artificial sweeteners: Equal, Splenda, Sweet’N Low, etc.
  • Processed animal products: Bacon, lunch meats, sausage, beef jerky, etc.

Foods to Minimize

While healthy animal foods can be included in a WFPB diet, the following products should be minimized in all plant-based diets.

  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Sheep
  • Game meats
  • Poultry
  • Eggs
  • Dairy
  • Seafood

SUMMARY

When following a WFPB diet, highly processed foods should be avoided and animal products minimized.

A Sample Meal Plan for One Week

Transitioning to a whole-foods, plant-based diet doesn’t have to be challenging.

The following one-week menu can help set you up for success. It includes a small number of animal products, but the extent to which you include animal foods in your diet is up to you.

Monday

  • Breakfast: Oatmeal made with coconut milk topped with berries, coconut and walnuts.
  • Lunch: Large salad topped with fresh vegetables, chickpeas, avocado, pumpkin seeds and goat cheese.
  • Dinner: Butternut squash curry.

Tuesday

  • Breakfast: Full-fat plain yogurt topped with sliced strawberries, unsweetened coconut and pumpkin seeds.
  • Lunch: Meatless chili.
  • Dinner: Sweet potato and black bean tacos.

Wednesday

  • Breakfast: A smoothie made with unsweetened coconut milk, berries, peanut butter and unsweetened plant-based protein powder.
  • Lunch: Hummus and veggie wrap.
  • Dinner: Zucchini noodles tossed in pesto with chicken meatballs.

Thursday

  • Breakfast: Savory oatmeal with avocado, salsa and black beans.
  • Lunch: Quinoa, veggie and feta salad.
  • Dinner: Grilled fish with roasted sweet potatoes and broccoli.

Friday

  • Breakfast: Tofu and vegetable frittata.
  • Lunch: Large salad topped with grilled shrimp.
  • Dinner: Roasted portobello fajitas.

Saturday

  • Breakfast: Blackberry, kale, cashew butter and coconut protein smoothie.
  • Lunch: Vegetable, avocado and brown rice sushi with a seaweed salad.
  • Dinner: Eggplant lasagna made with cheese and a large green salad.

Sunday

  • Breakfast: Vegetable omelet made with eggs.
  • Lunch: Roasted vegetable and tahini quinoa bowl.
  • Dinner: Black bean burgers served on a large salad with sliced avocado.

As you can see, the idea of a whole-foods, plant-based diet is to use animal products sparingly.

However, many people following WFPB diets eat more or fewer animal products depending on their specific dietary needs and preferences.

SUMMARY

You can enjoy many different delicious meals when following a whole-foods, plant-based diet. The above menu can help you get started.

Healthy eating

The Facts

A whole-foods, plant-based diet is a way of eating that celebrates plant foods and cuts out unhealthy items like added sugars and refined grains. Plant-based diets have been linked to a number of health benefits, including reducing your risk of heart disease, certain cancers, obesity, diabetes and cognitive decline. Plus, transitioning to a more plant-based diet is an excellent choice for the planet. Regardless of the type of whole-foods, plant-based diet you choose, adopting this way of eating is sure to boost your health. Start a custom weight loss program.

I hope you were informed and I also hope that this has helped you in making the choice to eat healthy. To learn about the Health benefits of Garlic click here.

Written by odanemorgan

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