The basics of healthy eating for those who decide to change their eating habits to more beneficial ones.
You already know what real healthy food is. This is what grew on a tree or in the ground. Floated in the sea or river, ran along the grass. Meat, fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts, cereals, eggs are all examples of real food.
And you also know what bad food is. This is fast food or what is delivered to you in finished form in a box or package.
Do not give up everything at once
Only a few people can immediately give up their favorite dishes and completely switch to a healthy diet. By doing this, a person will become irritable and sullen. The person can also suffer and quickly give up the idea of eating right.
Maybe you are one of the people who can easily give up any delicacy. But if this is not the case before you start a diet, determine for yourself the right balance between the speed of obtaining results and the level of suffering in the process.
The main thing – do not overestimate yourself. Even very slow steps to success are 100% better than a quick defeat.
Set a goal
If you want to eat right, without having a clear idea of what it is for, then every day without your favorite food will be real torture.
Define a goal for yourself and keep it in your head. You keep yourself from junk food not because you love to suffer, but because you want to live better, be healthier and maybe, set a good example to your children.
Remember that you always have a choice. Companies which supplying harmful food are trying to make it as attractive as possible. Stop giving them your money by buying what slowly kills you.
Count the calories
First, memorize a simple equation. One kilogram of fat in a human body corresponds to 7,716 kilocalories. This means that if you are going to lose a kilogram of fat per week, then you need to create a deficit of 1,102 kcal per day (7,716 kcal divided by 7 days, it turns out 1,102 kcal).
To create this deficiency, you first need to know the calorie content of your diet. Track the calorie content of any food you consume, including occasional snacks. When you find out how many calories you consume per day, determine your goal according to the formula.
For example, if you want to lose weight by 5 kg before vacation, for example, in two months, then 7 716 kcal should be multiplied by 5 kg and divided by 60 days. It will turn out 643 kcal – this is exactly how much you need to eat less every day.
But even if you want to lose weight very quickly, you should not reduce the calorie intake dramatically. It is better to gradually reduce the daily rate of several hundred kilocalories every week.
However, it is important not only to track calories but also to take into account the quality of food.
Consider food quality
2,000 kcal from eating a box of cookies will not give you the same benefits as 2,000 kcal from meat, vegetables, or fruits.
Let’s take a look at what nutrients your body needs and how to make a basic healthy diet.
Our body needs protein to build cells (including muscles), maintain tissue elasticity, and produce hormones and enzymes.
Protein is an essential component of a healthy diet, and it must be present in every meal. Aim to consume 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.
The maximum amount of protein per day is 200 g. Useful sources of protein include chicken breast, eggs, beef, fish, nuts, beans, and most dairy products.
If you like fish – pay attention to tuna. This is a real champion in protein content: 25–30 g of protein per 100 g of product (more than in chicken breast).
These nutrients are absolutely necessary for our body, but it is important to distinguish between good fats and harmful fats.
Fats can be saturated – unhealthy – and polyunsaturated and monounsaturated – useful and necessary.
Saturated fatty acids are contained in margarine and butter, fatty meat, palm and coconut milk. When saturated fatty acids entering the body form spherical fatty compounds that narrow arteries. As a result, the risk of cardiovascular diseases increases.
Unsaturated fatty acids contained in avocados, almonds, vegetable oils, walnuts, fish (salmon, herring, mackerel), fish oil. When released into the blood fatty acids are not combined and pass freely through the arteries.
Unsaturated fatty acids support immunity, improve brain function and condition of the skin, prevent the formation of blood clots.
When adding unsaturated fats to your diet, remember that they do not participate in the formation of subcutaneous fat. This is done with refined and processed carbohydrates.
Carbohydrates are converted into glucose (sugar), which helps in the production of energy for any function of the body. Sources of carbohydrates that are good for health are vegetables and fruits.
However, there are harmful carbohydrates – processed and refined, which are better to exclude from the diet. They are found in sweets and pastries, jams, soft drinks and alcohol.
To quickly find out which carbohydrates are beneficial and which are harmful, use indicators such as the glycemic index and glycemic load.
Not all carbohydrates are absorbed by our body equally. The glycemic index (GI) shows this difference, distributing carbohydrates by their effect on blood sugar levels.
By consuming low GI carbohydrates, those that cause minor fluctuations in blood sugar levels and a slight increase in insulin, you reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes, as well as reduce weight.
GI ranges from 1 to 100, where 100 is the fastest and strongest effect of the product on blood sugar levels, and 1 is the slowest increase in sugar levels.
If you consume foods with a low GI, nutrients enter the blood slowly, which means they will provide the body with longer energy. In response, your body will produce less insulin, and you will feel less hunger.
However, this does not help calculate the correct serving size. For example, a watermelon has a GI of about 73, and milk chocolate has 70. Does this mean that you can eat more chocolate than watermelon? Not. Because the GI is calculated on 50 g of carbohydrates in each product, and the amount of carbohydrates in watermelon and chocolate varies greatly.
Milk chocolate contains 60 g of carbohydrates per 100 g of the product, and watermelon contains only 8 g per 100 g of the product. It turns out that 83 g of chocolate will cause about the same increase in blood sugar levels as 625 g of watermelon.
To make it easier to calculate the serving size, use another parameter – the glycemic load (GL) of the products.
Take care about serving size
To calculate the GL, you need to divide the number of carbohydrates per 100 g of the product by 100 and multiply by the glycemic index of the product. For example, the GL of the watermelon will be 8: 100 × 75 = 6.
Processed foods, refined carbohydrates, and sugar have a high glycemic load, while fruits and vegetables tend to have a low load.
Try to consume foods with low GL during the day, and with high GL – just before exercise: carbohydrates will immediately burn. You can also use foods with high GL immediately after exercise, in combination with protein. In this case, carbohydrates are used to build muscle, and not precipitate as fat.
Thus, by counting calories and determining the glycemic load of foods, you can make a healthy diet. But if this is too difficult and long for you, you can try an easier way to eat properly – the paleo diet.
Try paleo diet
Paleo diet assumes that you will eat only what was available to our distant ancestors: meat, poultry, fish, eggs, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils. The rest is banned.
No calorie counting or eating on schedule. Just eat what you want, how much you want and when you want.
Such a diet is quite difficult to follow if you often have to eat in a cafe and have a snack in fast food places or travel a lot. However, in combination with strength training, it will provide you with rapid progress and significantly improve your health.
If you need to lose a lot of kilograms in a short time or greatly reduce the percentage of body fat, the paleo diet is your option. The main thing is that you manage to abandon the whole variety of bakery, dairy and confectionery products.
Decide whether this diet is right for you. If you manage to consume enough protein from meat and fish, the diet will be effective and beneficial. However, if you do not have time to cook meat and buy a variety of products, the body will not thank you.
Find a diet that’s right for you
If you want to be healthy and return to normal weight, choose a GI count: avoid food that causes a sharp rise in blood sugar.
If you are aiming for a divine figure, try a paleo diet. But keep in mind that in order to achieve results you must have suitable genetics, a serious program of strength training, patience, and iron will say a firm “no” to all products that do not fit into such a diet.
In addition, you can make your own diet and change existing ones. For example, for six days you can keep a strict paleo diet, and on a day off, arrange yourself cheating – you can eat any food. Some people need a strict diet without cheating because they can break at any moment, others feel quite comfortable, from time to time breaking strict rules. Choose what is right for you.
Final thoughts on healthy food guide for beginners – basics that you need to know
Just don’t forget that during the diet life goes on. You change food to live better. And not sometime in the future, when you lose weight, but right now. Enjoy the feeling of lightness, the realization that you are improving your health and body shape, and do not blame yourself if you have failed.
Why not start right today? Throw junk food away, remove the candy from the table, choose a diet and try to stick to it.
Start with small changes right now. It may take some time before you find your method of healthy eating. The main thing – do not give up and look for what works.