Improving Nutritional Habits for Health and Wellness

Good nutrition is one of the key aspects of a healthy life. A diet consisting of foods that contain all the essential vitamins and minerals sustains a healthy immune system and ensures all organ systems work accordingly.

If you’re dealing with a health problem or risk factors such as high blood pressure or cholesterol, following a healthy meal plan can keep the condition under control and might even improve your symptoms. Optimal nutrition also helps you maintain body weight within healthy levels and avoid metabolic syndrome, a condition linked to several complaints.

And although everyone has a rough idea of which foods are beneficial and which should only be consumed in moderation, that doesn’t mean everyone’s diet is healthy. There’s more to having an optimal diet than throwing a few vegetables on your plate every now and then. It’s also not only about what you eat but how you prepare the meals and the times of the day when you’re eating too.

Improving Nutritional Habits for Health and Wellness

Homecooked Dinners

There are so many apps and restaurants nowadays that it’s easy to be tempted to order takeout every evening and forget about cooking dinner. While it’s certainly more convenient, especially after a long day at the office, preparing your own meals at home has several advantages you might not be aware of. The first and most important is that the food is proven to be healthier. Restaurant meals typically contain higher amounts of saturated fats, sodium and calories than home-cooked lunches and dinners.

Moreover, when you cook, you’re also in full control of the ingredients and can be confident that everything you used was fresh and wholesome. A typical fast food meal averages between 1200 and 1500 calories, making up a large portion of a person’s recommended daily intake. Cooking at home means that you can watch your calories and remain within a healthy weight range.

Being able to cook at home means having a well-stocked kitchen that enables you to create all the recipes you need. Therefore, you need several pots and pans at your disposal, a spice rack, ovenware and bakeware. Choose kitchen cabinets that enable you to fulfil all these practical purposes while maintaining a stylistically pleasing look. There’s a wide range of designs you can choose from, including matt textures to acrylics, solid wood, gloss, and Shaker. There’s definitely something out there to fit any taste, budget and kitchen design.

Family Choices

Cooking at home more often and making healthier choices is also better for your children. Kids generally copy their parents or older siblings’ eating habits and eat what is available at home. Therefore, creating healthy routines while they’re young ensures optimal development during their growing stages and guarantees a lifetime of healthy eating.

To improve children’s food choices, you should make them active in getting groceries, meal planning and food preparation. When you go shopping, you should always have a list and try to stick to it as much as possible. Going through the aisles, it’s tempting to fill your cart with crisps, cakes and other snack foods, but you need to take a stand against it and reduce the number of unhealthy foods that end up in your home.

Doing so guarantees you eat less of them, too, since not seeing them in your fridge or pantry reduces cravings, and you’ll have to replace them with healthier alternatives to curb hunger pangs.

You can substitute classic favourites with healthier alternatives, such as swapping regular pasta for whole grain. For healthier snack alternatives, diced or cubed fruit, granola, rice cakes and yoghurt are all good options. You can also choose vegetables and dips, such as carrots and cucumbers with salad cream or peas with hummus.

Reduce Sugar

If you’ve spent some time online, you’ve probably noticed that many people on social media claim that reducing your sugar intake or even aiming to eliminate it has a plethora of health benefits. In fact, research suggests that there are several benefits associated with reducing the amount of sugar you eat, including a lower risk of heart attack, a lower risk of chronic health complaints, and, of course, a reduced incidence of tooth decay.

But doing so can be challenging, especially since sugar is present in most foods. Hidden sugars are another problem since many foods contain them, often in considerable quantities, even if they don’t taste sweet. Some common examples include breakfast cereals, ketchup, barbecue and pasta sauces, and other savoury processed foods. These sneaky sugars add up, and as a result, your daily sugar intake is significantly higher.

One of the most obvious ways to reduce your consumption is to eat fewer sugary beverages, such as fizzy and energy drinks, sweetened teas and sports drinks. Replace them with black or green teas and, of course, plain water. Choose fresh fruit, yoghurt with cinnamon or dark chocolate instead of desserts high in sugar and eat more whole foods. Full-fat foodstuffs, including peanut butter, salad dressing, yoghurt and cream, are lower in sugar than low-fat alternatives.

Eating Habits

We’ve already established that it’s not only about what you eat but also how and when you eat. Dietitians advise the general public to avoid skipping meals, particularly breakfast. Doing so means you’re cutting several essential nutrients out of your diet. When you skip breakfast, you don’t give your body sufficient energy throughout the day. This leaves you with lower stamina and unable to concentrate, making you more prone to impromptu snacking, especially on foods high in carbs, unhealthy fats and sugars.

Planning meals in advance also helps you avoid unhealthy alternatives such as fast-food dishes. You won’t be in a hurry and grab the most convenient thing because you suddenly become hungry. Avoid emotional eating, and eat only when you’re hungry. Relying on food as an emotional crutch when you’re anxious, sad or bored is unhealthy in the long run.

Moreover, enjoying meals with your family means you get to spend some quality time together.
Creating healthier eating habits depends on several different things. However, it’s essential to improve your eating patterns to enjoy a healthy life.