Healthy Eating Habits For Adults – Recommendations And Tips

Every day we make choices about the food we eat. These choices affect our health and the health of our families and can make a real difference to our ability to remain healthy and active now and in the future.

We’ve already seen what are the risks of poor nutrition, so let’s talk now about what is healthy to eat and drink, what’s not,  healthy eating habits for adults and some tips for healthy eating.

Consuming Healthy Food and Beverages

Diversified, balanced and healthy diet varies depending on individual characteristics (e.g. age, gender, lifestyle and degree of physical activity) and dietary habits. However, the basic principles of what constitutes a healthy diet remain the same.

Consume more nutrient-rich foods

Nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and dietary fibres are necessary for our health. Here are recommendations of some foods and beverages that are rich in nutrients:

  • fruits and vegetables
  • whole grains, like oatmeal, whole-grain bread, and brown rice
  • seafood, lean meats, poultry, and eggs
  • fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products; or nondairy soy, almond, rice, or other drinks with added vitamin D and calcium
  • beans, peas, unsalted nuts, and seeds

Consume less of these foods and beverages

Some foods and beverages have many calories but few of the essential nutrients your body needs. Added sugars and solid fats pack a lot of calories into food and beverages but provide a limited amount of healthy nutrients. Salt does not contain calories, but it tends to be in high-calorie foods. Adults should aim to limit foods and drinks such as

  • sugar-sweetened drinks and foods
  • foods with solid fats like butter, margarine, lard, and shortening
  • white bread, rice, and pasta that are made from refined grains
  • foods with added salt (sodium)

Easy snack ideas

Instead of sugary, fatty snacks, try:

  • fat-free or low-fat milk or yoghurt
  • fresh or canned fruit, without added sugars
  • sliced vegetables or baby carrots with hummus

Practical Tips For Healthy Eating

The key to a healthy diet is to eat the right amount of calories for how active you are so you balance the energy you consume with the energy you use. If you eat or drink more than your body needs, you’ll put on weight because the energy you do not use is stored as fat. If you eat and drink too little, you’ll lose weight.

You should also eat a wide range of foods to make sure you’re getting a balanced diet and your body is receiving all the nutrients it needs. It’s recommended that men have around 2,500 calories a day (10,500 kilojoules). Women should have around 2,000 calories a day (8,400 kilojoules).

  • Base your meals on higher fibre starchy carbohydrates

Starchy carbohydrates should make up just over a third of the food you eat. They include potatoes, bread, rice, pasta and cereals. Choose higher fibre or whole grain varieties, such as wholewheat pasta, brown rice or potatoes with their skins on. They contain more fibre than white or refined starchy carbohydrates and can help you feel full for longer. Try to include at least 1 starchy food with each main meal. Some people think starchy foods are fattening, but gram for gram the carbohydrate they contain provides fewer than half the calories of fat. Keep an eye on the fats you add when you’re cooking or serving these types of foods because that’s what increases the calorie content – for example, oil on chips, butter on bread and creamy sauces on pasta.

  • Eat lots of fruit and vegetables

It’s recommended that you eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and veg every day. They can be fresh, frozen, canned, dried or juiced. It’s easier than it sounds. Why not chop a banana over your breakfast cereal, or swap your usual mid-morning snack for a piece of fresh fruit? A portion of fresh, canned or frozen fruit and vegetables is 80g. A portion of dried fruit (which should be kept to mealtimes) is 30g. A 150ml glass of fruit juice, vegetable juice or smoothie also counts as 1 portion, but limit the amount you have to no more than 1 glass a day as these drinks are sugary and can damage your teeth.

  • Eat more fish, including a portion of oily fish

Fish is a good source of protein and contains many vitamins and minerals. Aim to eat at least 2 portions of fish a week, including at least 1 portion of oily fish.

Oily fish are high in omega-3 fats, which may help prevent heart disease. Oily fish include: salmon; trout; herring; sardines; pilchards; mackerel.

  • Cut down on saturated fat and sugar

Try to cut down on your saturated fat intake and choose foods that contain unsaturated fats instead, such as vegetable oils and spreads, oily fish and avocados. For a healthier choice, use a small amount of vegetable or olive oil, or reduced-fat spread instead of butter, lard or ghee. When you’re having meat, choose lean cuts and cut off any visible fat. All types of fat are high in energy, so they should only be eaten in small amounts.

Sugar

Regularly consuming foods and drinks high in sugar increases your risk of obesity and tooth decay. Sugary foods and drinks are often high in energy, and if consumed too often can contribute to weight gain. Free sugars are any sugars added to foods or drinks, or found naturally in honey, syrups and unsweetened fruit juices and smoothies. This is the type of sugar you should be cutting down on, rather than the sugar found in fruit and milk.

  • Eat less salt

Eating too much salt can raise your blood pressure. People with high blood pressure are more likely to develop heart disease or have a stroke. Even if you do not add salt to your food, you may still be eating too much. About three-quarters of the salt you eat is already in the food when you buy it, such as breakfast cereals, soups, breads and sauces.

Eating Habits

To eat healthier food, you may need to change some of your daily habits. You also may need to change some things in your environment.

You don’t need to make huge changes to eat healthier. And you don’t have to change your habits all at the same time. It’s best to set small goals and change your habits a bit at a time. Over time, small changes can make a big difference in your health.

Here are some ways to make healthy changes in your eating habits:

  • Keep more fruits, low-fat dairy products (low-fat milk and low-fat yoghurt), vegetables, and whole-grain foods at home and at work.
  • Try to eat a family meal every day at the kitchen or dining table. This will help you focus on eating healthy meals.
  • Buy a healthy-recipe book, and cook for yourself. Chew gum when you cook so you won’t be tempted to snack on the ingredients.
  • Pack a healthy lunch and snacks for work. This lets you have more control over what you eat.
  • Put your snacks on a plate instead of eating from the package. This helps you control how much you eat.
  • Don’t skip or delay meals, and be sure to schedule your snacks. If you ignore your feelings of hunger, you may end up eating too much or choosing an unhealthy snack.
  • Eat your meals with others when you can. Relax and enjoy your meals, and don’t eat too fast. Try to make healthy eating a pleasure, not a chore.
  • Drink water instead of high-sugar drinks (including high-sugar juice drinks).

I know all of this might sound like ‘too much’ but, as I’ve said already, you don’t have to make all the changes at once. Just be aware of the importance of proper nutrition for your health and be persistent.

And one more thing before I leave you –  if you have some food allergies, underlying health problem(s) or disease(s) you must pay additional care to your nutrition. Besides advice, you got from your physician, it would be smart to consult a nutritionist.

What Are The Health Risks Of Poor Nutrition

We hear it all the time: proper and balanced nutrition is essential for our health. Yet many people don’t take it seriously. So, let’s see what are the health risks of poor nutrition.

Importance Of Good Nutrition

Your food choices each day affect your health – how your body functions, how you feel today, tomorrow, and in the future.

Good nutrition is an important part of leading a healthy lifestyle. Combined with physical activity and taking care of your mental health, your diet can help you to reach and maintain a healthy weight, reduce your risk of chronic diseases (like heart disease and cancer), and promote your overall health.

To put it simply, without the proper nutrition, your body is unable to function at its best.

Good nutrition allows you to fuel your body and nourish it for growth and repair. When you’re eating a balanced range of vitamins and minerals – this is good nutrition. Eating foods from all the food groups is the best way to ensure a balanced, nutritionally rich diet.

These food groups include:

  • Grains
  • Vegetables and legumes
  • Lean meat, seafood, eggs and meat alternatives
  • Dairy products and alternatives
  • Fruit, and
  • Healthy fats.

What Causes Poor Nutrition?

Poor eating habits include under- or over-eating, not having enough of the healthy foods we need each day, or consuming too many types of food and drink, which are low in fibre or high in fat, salt and/or sugar.

These unhealthy eating habits can affect our nutrient intake, including energy, protein, carbohydrates, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals as well as fibre and fluid.

Risks And The Harmful Effects of Poor Nutrition

Poor nutrition can impact our daily health and well being and reduce our ability to lead an enjoyable and active life. As well as create long term problems and diseases.

In the short term, poor nutrition can contribute to stress, tiredness and our capacity to work, and over time, it can contribute to the risk of developing some illnesses and other health problems such as:

Overweight and Obesity

Eating a healthy diet, along with getting enough physical activity and sleep, can help children grow up healthy and prevent overweight and obesity. Around 20% of young people aged 2 to 19 years and 40% of adults have obesity, which can put them at risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers.

Heart Disease and Stroke

Two of the leading causes of heart disease and stroke are high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol. Consuming too much sodium can increase blood pressure and the risk for heart disease and stroke. Over 70% of the sodium that people eat comes from packaged, processed, store-bought, and restaurant foods. Eating foods low in saturated fats and high in fibre and increasing access to low-sodium foods, along with regular physical activity, can help prevent high blood cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Type 2 Diabetes

People who are overweight or have obesity are at increased risk of type 2 diabetes compared to those at a normal weight because, over time, their bodies become less able to use the insulin they make.

Cancer

An unhealthy diet can increase the risk of some cancers. Overweight and obesity are associated with at least 13 types of cancer, including endometrial (uterine) cancer, breast cancer in postmenopausal women, and colorectal cancer. These cancers make up 40% of all cancers diagnosed.

Deficits in Brain Function

The brain develops most quickly in the first 1,000 days of life, from the start of pregnancy to the child’s second birthday. Having low levels of iron during pregnancy and early childhood is associated with mental and behavioural delays in children. Ensuring that iodine levels are high enough during pregnancy also helps a growing baby have the best brain development possible.

Steps to Good Nutrition

  • have a good variety of healthy foods from the five food groups each day.
  • aim for two serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables each day
  • only occasionally eat sugary, fatty or salty food, and then only in small amounts
  • drink fresh, clean water instead of sugary drinks
  • switch over to healthy recipes that look and taste good
  • plan your meals ahead and shop for healthy ingredients
  • enjoy cooking and eating healthy food with family or friends and without distractions such as the television.good-nutrition

Individual Adjucements

Your nutritional requirements are unique to your body — especially if you have food sensitivities or intolerance to consider.

Many health conditions are caused and/or affected by food and nutrition. Some are directly caused by food, such as “food poisoning” or bacterial infections from contaminated food. Some people can have severe allergies to foods like peanuts, shellfish, or wheat (celiac disease). Gastrointestinal ailments—such as irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)—are also directly affected by the consumption of food.

For other diseases and conditions, the type or quantity of food can influence the progress of the disease. Diabetes mellitus, for example, which results in the inability of the body to regulate blood sugar, is drastically affected by the types and quantities of food eaten. Carbohydrate intake has to be carefully monitored if you suffer from diabetes, or blood sugar can rise to dangerous levels. Other conditions affected by food and nutrition include:

  • hypertension: Salt intake affects blood pressure.
  • heart disease/high cholesterol: Fatty foods and partial hydrogenated oils can create plaque in arteries.
  • osteoporosis: Low calcium, low vitamin D and excess fat can result in fragile bones.
  • certain cancers: A poor diet and obesity are associated with increased risk of breast, colon, endometrial, esophageal, and kidney cancers.

Your food choices and nutritional status can influence your overall health over the entire course of your life. So, If you have some food allergies, underlying health problems or disease(s) you must pay additional care to your nutrition. Besides advices, you got from your physician, it would be smart to consult a nutritionist. That’s my advice to you.

Take care of yourself and your families!