4 Steps to a Healthy Diet

4 Steps to a Healthy Diet

Interest in healthy nutrition and healthy lifestyles is increasing every day. We wonder which is the healthiest diet and Google which foods we should eat or not. But there is a more important point than which foods we eat: How do we cook or prepare them for a healthy diet? We always ignore the fact that healthy nutrition demands healthy cuisine. We all have traditions and habits in the kitchen. Although we constantly search for the healthiest diet, we forget to review our kitchen habits.

Step 1 – Supermarket

You are walking down the aisles of the supermarket and looking for the item that you want to buy. While you are walking down, you notice a section where you think you’ll find your item. You start paying more attention to find out where it is exactly. Have you ever noticed that all the products’ places in the store are planned as a sales strategy?

The most needed products are located along the back and sides of the supermarket, and it’s necessary to walk down the aisles, which are stocked with junk food and processed products, to get there. Children are targeted by the products located at eye level. All of these strategies aim to produce a high daily sales volume of branded products. It’s a good idea to make a shopping list so as to not forget your main goal. Also, try not to go to the supermarket when you are hungry so as to avoid buying unnecessary junk food.

Don’t forget: A healthy diet starts at the supermarket.

A healthy diet starts at the supermarket

Step 2 – Fridge

What Should You Have In the Fridge?

As the second step for a healthy life and a healthy diet, you should check your fridge.

Try creating a rule with your family or housemates to not stock junk food. It’s a good way of avoiding unhealthy snacks. Also, it helps maintain your motivation to have a healthy diet.

High Sugar

Packaged foods are always the easiest way of snacking, but don’t forget that packaged snacks include high sugar and additives. They are colorful and attractive to children especially, but studies show that some color additives may be linked to attention deficit in children. Don’t stock junk food! As an alternative to packaged snacks, you can prepare healthy snacks and desserts which have less sugar and no additives.

When it comes to beverages, a good challenge is liberating yourself from sweetened and processed drinks. Quit putting high-calorie drinks into your fridge. If you like drinking fruit juice, your priority should be homemade, fresh juices. Also dairy products -such as milk, plant-based milk, and kefir- are healthy alternatives to sugary beverages. Dairy products strengthen your bones and your gut microbiota.

What Should You Have In the Fridge?

High Fat

Sugar is not the only danger in junk food. There is an invisible danger as well: fat. Most snacks include high amounts of fat, which is mostly saturated fatty acids and some trans fats. Avoid stocking high-fat snacks such as chips, crackers, frozen pizzas, ice cream, cookies, and cakes. For a piece of healthy snack advice, you can check it out here.

High Sodium

Drinking a bottle of mineral water per day boosts the micro-nutrient (such as potassium and magnesium) intake. We certainly have micro-nutrient needs, but our sodium needs are so limited. Consuming higher amounts of sodium than we need can negatively impact our fluid and electrolyte balance. Processed meat and canned fish, as well as many other packaged industrial foods such as soup mixes, contain high sodium.

Create a Healthy Fridge!

Fresh vegetables and fruits; unprocessed meat, poultry, and fish; dairy products; homemade healthy snacks; fresh fruit juices; and mineral water are all perfect for your new fridge full of healthy foods.

4 Steps to a Healthy Diet

Step 3 – Kitchen

Let’s Take a Look Together at What Is Healthier in the Kitchen

Often we cook food without caring how much oil we put in. Having an awareness of the amount of cooking oil used makes weight control easier. Solid fats include saturated fatty acids which are dangerous for those prone to heart disease. Cooking meals without solid fat helps to regulate cholesterol and provides protection against heart disease. Cooking styles are important for both limiting fat intake and keeping food’s nutritional value. In addition, cooking food in boiling water is the most recommended cooking style by nutritionists. Boiling rather than frying prevents you from taking in more fat than you need.

Cooking vegetables for a shorter time is also important so that the vegetables keep their nutritional value. Boiling with less water decreases nutrient loss as well because food’s nutritional contents escape into the water during the boiling process. To go a step further in retaining your food’s nutritional value, keep and reuse your boiled food’s water. For example, you can use it to make a sauce for another dish. Eating fresh foods is another good way to take in nutrients and is beneficial for our bodies. If you don’t want to keep food in your fridge for a long time, be careful about the amount of food that you cook. This will also help you avoid eating more than you need.

4 Steps to a Healthy Diet

Step 4 – Meals

Colorful and Nourishing Meals

After the first three steps, making your meal colorful and nourishing makes a healthy life and diet more joyful and fun. You can accomplish this by preparing colorful salads and adding fermented dairy products to your meals. For a healthy meal, you should include protein, grains, vegetables, fruits, and dairy. Vegetables and fruits are always the most colorful parts of meals. Don’t forget to consume different kinds of meat such as fish, poultry, and red meat in order to meet your protein needs in your meal. You can also consume legumes as protein. Grains include any food made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, or barley. If you like eating bread with your meals, it’s best to choose whole grain bread to increase your fiber intake.

One of the most prominent myths about living healthy is that a healthy diet is expensive. These 4 steps break this myth down one by one. It costs little to no money to take these steps. A healthier diet is just four easy steps away!

How Do I Control Food Cravings?

How Do I Control Food Cravings?

Food cravings are a common condition in the community and can often be seen several times a week in individuals. Cravings can be an excessive desire to resist a certain food or more than one food.  In particular, during weight loss, limiting energy intake can cause food cravings. There is a possibility that some mineral deficiencies may cause an excessive desire for some foods. Also, this situation can be caused by psychological and environmental factors.

Food cravings are usually targeted toward excessively fatty, sugary, or high-calorie foods, such as fast food. The desire for specific food types can be seen because of limited consumption, or specific taste preferences and perceptions.  For example, if you are feeding your body restricted fat and carbohydrates, maybe you start craving French fries. Also, cravings may be signals of biological needs. For example, if you are craving chocolate, this may be a precursor to magnesium deficiency, or craving dairy products may be signals of calcium deficiency. Besides, salty foods and milk products are usually desired when you’re hungry.

How Do I Control Food Cravings?

Food Choices According to Mood

People show different kinds of nutritional behaviors depending on their mood and stress level. Food intake increased in people who feel unhappy and tired.  The body may need some food to compensate for the decrease in some mood-related hormones. For instance, high fat and sugar content foods trigger the release of insulin and endorphins. Endorphin secretion makes a person feels better. For this reason, people in negative moods are more prone to consume carbohydrates and high-calorie snacks to feel satisfied. This may be why some people eat more chocolate when they are unhappy or feel depressed. On the other hand, some individuals tend to have a larger appetite when they are in a positive mood, rewarding themselves with food. They tend to consume indulgent foods, such as chocolate and salty popcorn.

Association between gender and cravings

Gender makes a difference in food cravings. Many women desire more sweet treats, like chocolate, while men generally desire salty or savory foods. Additionally, research has shown that cravings are more frequent in women and resisting cravings is harder for a woman than it is for a man. This difference was thought to be related to the different functioning of hormone mechanisms. Especially during the menstrual cycle, cravings are the strongest before menses and continue during menstruation.

How Do I Control Food Cravings?

What should we do to avoid craving?

Choose the Healthy One

Replacing cravings with more nutritious and healthy foods can be a better option.

When you feel you need to eat chocolate, you should consider other magnesium sources. You can exchange chocolate with ½ cup of pumpkin seeds, 12 almonds, or 1 tablespoon of peanut butter.  Similarly, other carbohydrate sources can be preferred. Rather than reaching for cakes and bakery products, reach for fruits and whole-grain products. Dry fruits can be a good choice to satisfy your sweet tooth.

In calcium deficiency, the demand for milk products increases.  Dairy product intake can decrease the desire to eat milk-based desserts and increase calcium levels.  You may prefer 1 cup of yogurt instead of ice cream. Consuming fiber-rich products daily supports your feeling of satiety for a long time and helps with adequate nutrient intake.  Making a good breakfast, like leaving 1/3 cup of oatmeal in 1 cup of milk overnight, is a good choice for breakfast and includes both calcium and fiber. Fresh fruits and vegetables with the skin on should also be preferred as rich fiber sources.

Relationship Between Craving and Nutrition

Relationship Between Craving and Nutrition

In the studies conducted, it was observed that craving increased if one diet type was used for a longer-term. If you’ve been eating the same kind of food for a long time, that may be the reason why you desire other foods. Small changes may help to prevent you from making unhealthy food choices. Furthermore, check whether you get enough energy or not. Many people who are dieting may experience eating attacks due to energy restrictions. Try not to be hungry for a long time, as that will push you too high caloric foods. The increasing frequency of meals can help you control your food desires. You feel more satisfied when you eat more frequently and do regular meal plans.

When you eat less from specific food groups (such as low-fat, low-carbohydrate, low-protein) your desire to eat fast food and snacks will increase.  A balanced diet plan increases your satiety and helps you to control your eating behaviors. Eating protein-rich food, such as meats, poultry, and seafood, keep you satiated for longer. Egg contains various nutrients and is a protein-rich food, preferred as a protein source. Furthermore, seafood, like one salmon steak or one can of tuna, reduces sodium deficiency and can help decrease your desire for salty foods and snacks.

How Do I Control Food Cravings?

Liquid Consumption

Drinking inadequate water causes you to feel hungry. If you are desiring to drink sugar-sweetened beverages, or have a tendency to consume juices, the reason for this craving may be that you consume less water than your body needs. Drinking water at frequent intervals can help you resist your cravings for sugary drinks. You can also choose mineral water instead of acidic beverages.

Related: Emotional Eating Is Not the Solution

How Can I Be Resistant to Colds?

How Can I Be Resistant to Colds?

With the change of weather, especially in the beginning of the winter, our body resistance can be lower than normal, and we may become more vulnerable to illness. In these times when the body is exposed to external dangers, we can see illnesses such as upper respiratory tract infections, colds, and flu. Illnesses, like the common cold, show some symptoms like fatigue, headache, sore throat, sneezing, coughing, runny nose, fever so that they affect daily life negatively.

Supporting your immune defense system can help in preventing illnesses or reducing their symptoms.

In a survey of people with the common cold in the USA, even though antibiotics are not an effective treatment. Survey results exhibit that nearly half of the affected people used antibiotics. For this reason, strengthening the body with zinc and vitamin C supplements that support immunity and taking care of your diet may be better alternatives.

resistant to colds and illnesses

Specifically, in children and in the elderly, zinc is beneficial for decreased risk of common colds and upper respiratory tract infections. Furthermore, vitamin C helps to reduce the duration and severity of the common cold by improving antimicrobial and natural killer cell activities. So, how can we support our bodies in terms of vitamin C and zinc? Some zinc-rich food groups include whole-grains, meat and meat products, milk and dairy products, and fish. Vitamin C is not stored in the body. So, it is important to consume fresh vegetables and fruits on a daily basis.

Some plants may support our immunity when we look at food-based help.

For instance, adding garlic to your meals during these seasons may be a good option. Some substances in the garlic support immunity, as it has antiviral and antibacterial effects. Since they regulate the activities of enzymes, it may be useful to include some plants in the diet as a way to prevent disease. Blueberries, red onions, kale, cranberries, broccoli, and green tea includes a substance named quercetin. This substance protects the body from bacteria. Moreover, green tea contains vitamin C, and green tea extract inhibits viral proliferation.

herbal tea for illnesses

It is important to support the immune system to increase body resistance in seasonal changes.

In these periods, paying attention to diet by choosing foods with varied and rich nutrients. It may be a good way to support the body’s defense mechanisms. You can make small changes by editing meal contents. You can add fish to your menu for a couple of days in the week. Eat the meat on other days, and consume the products every day for consumption of adequate zinc. Also, whole grain bread can be a good alternative to zinc intake.

Remember to consume fresh vegetables and fruits on a daily basis, especially citrus fruits that contain vitamin C.

Due to their antioxidant, antibacterial, and antiviral effects, some plants are very useful for immunity. Daily consumption of green tea (vitamin C) with its antioxidant and antiviral effect will reduce the symptoms and the risk of illness.

Related: The Food Nutrients to Supercharge Your Immune System