As a little girl, I would often see my mother, aunts and grandmother make elaborate meals for the family. Apart from being served a variety of flavourful foods, meal times were always a fun filled feeling of togetherness. However, over the years, food options have changed, and homemade traditional foods are being replaced with either ready-to-eat convenience, or processed foods. In fact, this shift from traditional foods has been implicated as one of the causes for obesity and related non-communicable diseases. Buying food from different eateries or frequently dining out is also seen as a trend towards changing lifestyles. Eating out was not a frequent phenomenon, and sweet treats or fried foods were restricted more to special occasions. In fact, we do not even need to go out to eat these days; food comes in-with delivery options galore.
There is a dearth of free information pertaining to foods and different dietary strategies on social media. This is more than enough to take one on a roller coaster ride of dos and don’ts. But are we really satisfied with these rides? Most times, the answer is ‘NO’. This is because most of us want quick results, are not willing to try out any sustainable strategies, or spend a considerable amount of time on practicing it. Lifestyle change requires patience, consistency and a positive frame of mind to attain sustainable health benefits.
The key to a healthier lifestyle is to practice moderation, variety, and balance in food options available. So, are we really eating what our body needs in terms of quantity or nutrients? Well, we do not need to count calories while eating, but definitely have to be mindful about the abundant food options available. When such choices are available, mindful eating should become a habit, and when these habits are practiced either while eating at home or outside, it will go a long way in contributing to a healthier lifestyle.
Here are a few tips to eat well and stay fit:
- Follow the ‘My Plate’- Fill half your plate with vegetables, one quarter with whole grains and the other quarter with protein foods.
- Include traditional and seasonal foods/fruits/vegetables
- Include 2-3 cups of dairy every day.
- Watch your portions. Use a smaller plate.
- Eat 2-4 servings of fruits every day. One serving comprises of a medium size fruit.
- Eat a handful of nuts.
- Restrict High Fat, Sugary and salty snacks, and processed foods.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Eat slowly and enjoy every morsel of what you eat.