Healthy eating is never about following fad diets or remaining extremely thin. It is all about making healthy food choices and consistently following healthy eating habits.
The healthy eating meal plan starts at your plate. While you might be aware of which foods make up a healthy meal, you should also be aware of the right portion sizes that provide your body with the essential nutrients to maintain good health.
Making healthy food choices
A healthy eating plan comprises of foods from all the food groups, namely vegetables, fruit, grains, protein and dairy products in the right proportion. The US Department of Health has replaced the food pyramid with the new MyPlate icon which gives us an excellent idea of what the proportion of food from different groups should be.
According to the new healthy meal guideline, half the plate must consist of vegetables and fruits. These include leafy veggies like spinach and kale, cucumbers, tomatoes, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, etc., preferably avoiding starchy vegetables. You can include all kinds of fruits to your plate. Grains make up another portion of your plate where you can choose to have whole wheat pasta, brown bread, brown rice or whole wheat tortillas.
Proteins also form an important part of a eating healthy plan. Ensure that you choose lean meats like chicken without skin, lean cuts of pork and beef as well as seafood and fish. Do not forget to balance out your meal with low fat or non-fat dairy products, like yoghurt or milk.
Typical healthy eating meal plan
Many of us have a skewed perception about which food is healthy and what comprises the right serving sizes. Restaurant food and packaged stuff are to blame for these distorted perceptions, which must be done away with. Lunch of an oversized burrito is very high in fats and lacks vegetables and fruit. If you've picked it up from a diner or take-away joint, more often than not it is enough for two persons.
Larger the food portion, the more you tend to eat. Instead, make a conscious effort to limit the portion sizes and include foods from all food groups. In our lunch example above, you could replace the large-sized burrito with a regular-sized one prepared with grilled chicken (lean meat), a vegetable salad (without dressing) and whole wheat tortilla. This is a much healthier option than the usual rich fare dished out at restaurants and fast food joints.
For many, the traditional breakfast generally consists of eggs, white bread and sausages, which again packs on the calories and leaves no option for fruit, vegetable or grains. To follow a healthy meal planing for breakfast, replace the sausages with a large helping of fresh fruit like papaya or strawberry, a whole wheat vegetable sandwich and round it off with a small glass of low-fat milk. If you like eggs, use only the egg whites which give you the protein without the added fat.
When it comes to snacks, avoid reaching for a bag of chips and choose to eat healthy. Try out a handful of nuts or a piece of fruit instead. A small cup of low fat, unsweetened yoghurt topped with fruit of your choice makes for a healthier snack option while following a daily diet meal plan.