The Five Key Guidelines to Building a Healthy and Sustainable Diet Plan
According to The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2020 report, nearly 2 billion people lack regular access to safe, nutritious, and sufficient food.
However, even those who have access frequently struggle with establishing healthy eating patterns. Here are five key guidelines to help you build a healthy, sustainable diet plan:
1. Balance and Variety
A balanced diet incorporating a variety of foods guarantees all essential nutrients are included.
Actionable Tip: Use a plate model - half of your plate should be fruits and vegetables, one quarter complex carbohydrates, and one quarter protein.
Mistake to avoid: Steer clear of diets completely excluding food groups, as this method often lacks key nutrients.
2. Portion Size Control
Understanding portion sizes can help to avoid overeating while ensuring you get sufficient nutrients.
Actionable Tip: Use smaller plates to naturally control portion sizes.
Mistake to avoid: Avoid eating directly from packages, since it's harder to monitor how much you're consuming.
3. Regular, Balanced Meals
Regular meals help manage hunger and maintain energy levels.
Actionable Tip: Aim to eat every 3-4 hours to maintain blood sugar levels. This could be 3 meals and 2 small snacks.
Mistake to avoid: Avoid skipping meals – instead of saving calories, you'll likely feel starving later and overeat.
Proper hydration aids digestion, nutrient absorption, and maintains overall health.
Actionable Tip: Carry a refillable water bottle and aim for 8 glasses a day.
Mistake to avoid: Stay away from sugary beverages as they contribute to hydration as well as excess calories and sugar.
5. Preparation and Mindfulness
Preparation prevents unhealthy, last-minute food choices. Mindfulness ensures you enjoy your food and recognize your body’s hunger and fullness cues.
Actionable Tip: Prepare meals in advance and always have healthy snacks on hand. Practice mindful eating by eliminating distractions.
Mistake to avoid: Don’t eat while you’re distracted by devices. This leads to overconsumption.
Each person's journey towards a healthier lifestyle is unique, and the most valuable tool in that quest is knowledge. Start with these basic guidelines, be patient with yourself, and remember: the ultimate goal isn't temporary diet transformation, but long-term dietary lifestyle shift.