22 Jun 7 Healthy Things to Look Out For When Planning Your Next Healthy Meal
Maintaining a proper diet is very important in staying healthy, it is important to ensure one gets the necessary nutrients needed for the body to function properly. Although maintaining a healthy diet isn’t something difficult, you’ll still need to put in a conscious effort to maintain a balance. The importance of keeping a healthy diet can not be overstated.
When planning a meal, there are several things you need to look out for to make sure it’s as healthy as it can be. We’ll help you list and explain the major things you need to look out for when planning a healthy meal, they might not be food recommendations but are just what you should make sure you can derive from the meal. These include Healthy fats, Protein, Carbohydrates, Fiber, Vitamins, etc.
Protein is one of the major nutrients important in building body tissues and cells, maintaining them, and repairing them. Most health experts recommend a daily protein intake of 0.8 grams per kilogram of your body weight. This adds up to 56 grams each day for the average man though it varies depending on the individual’s lifestyle. People who have a sedentary lifestyle won’t need as much as those who exert themselves for most of the day. It is necessary to make sure each meal contains a good amount of protein though you should be careful not to go over the recommended amount.
The good thing is you can get protein from a variety of plant and animal products which are quite easy to get. We recommend a balance of both plant and animal products( If you’re not vegan) to get the necessary amount you need per day. There are many healthy options to choose from, you can get high-quality protein from animal products such as Salmon, Sardines, Chicken, Eggs, Yogurt, etc. We’d advise you to limit the consumption of red meat and processed meat also as they may pose some health risks under some conditions. Some plant products like beans, nuts, soy products, Almonds etc are also very healthy sources of protein. They are very easy to get and are quite affordable. There are many varieties of meals you can prepare with these products, just make sure they aren’t overcooked so as to get the full nutrients.
Carbs often have a bad rep because some refined carbs can cause rapid weight gain, increase in blood sugar, and other health issues. However, healthy carbs are a source of energy and a major source of the calories you need daily. Most health experts suggest making carbs the major component of the daily calorie intake of around 45-65 percent. So that means for a normal 2000 calorie diet, you should take around 250 grams per day. It could be more or less, depending on your energy requirements.
When planning your next meal, it is important to get the right amount of healthy carbs, you should try to limit the number of refined carbs you take each day. Most of them have little nutrients and can cause an increase in blood sugar levels. These unhealthy carbs include white rice, white bread, sugary drinks, and snacks, etc. Eating too much of these can cause unhealthy weight gain and increase the risk of diabetes. You should try to get more of unrefined carbs, though differentiating between refined and unrefined carbs may look difficult, there are some features you’ll need to look out for that will make identifying them easier.
Some sources of healthy carbs include whole grains such as whole wheat, barley, oatmeal and whole-grain bread, vegetables such as green beans, broccoli, spinach, and celery, legumes, nuts, and most fruits. There are many recipes available for cooking these food items, with the proper cooking recipe, they’ll taste just as nice as the unhealthy some people crave for.
Carbs and protein aside, fiber is a very important part of a healthy diet, any type of food can contain fiber which is very important in maintaining normal digestive processes and flushing harmful substances out of the body. Medical experts recommend taking around 25 to 30 grams of fiber from food each day. Some foods high in fiber include legumes such as beans, lentils and peas, vegetables like artichokes, carrots, broccoli, etc, whole grains, fruits, nuts and seeds, and some cereals. The two types of fiber are soluble and insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber dissolves easily an helps to regulate cholesterol and blood sugar levels. These can be gotten from most watery fruits, nuts, and whole grains.
Insoluble fiber is that visible roughage found in fruits like oranges, apple, strawberries, pear, dates, and raisins. This type of fiber is a major help with digestion and prevents constipation. If you take the required amount of fiber daily, the effects will be easily noticeable. Most refined foods are low in fiber so you should keep that in mind when planning your next meal.
There are many ways to add more fiber to your diet and most natural foods contain a decent amount of fiber. Foods like potatoes and most vegetables contain a high amount of fiber, a large baked potato contains around 6 grams of fiber which makes up to 18 percent of the daily fiber intake. So when planning a meal, it is quite easy to select from the many options available to ensure you maintain a balanced diet.
Mentioning “fats” often brings a negative connotation due to the many harmful effects people normally say they have. However, there is good fat and bad fat. Fat is a nutrient like carbohydrates and proteins and is helps to supply energy, helps in absorbing vitamins, and keeps the heart and brain health. It also helps in regulating body temperature and the production of important hormones. The two major types of fat are saturated and unsaturated fats. Saturated fats are the stereotypical bad fats as they raise cholesterol levels, cause weight gain, blocks arteries leading to stroke and heart disease. Saturated fats can also be found in low amounts in some plant and animal products but the intake should be limited. The most dangerous type of saturated fats are trans fats, this type of fat raises the LDL cholesterol level and puts you at risk of stroke and heart disease.
However, it is still important to choose a healthy amount of unsaturated fats when planning a meal. Omega 3 acids are particularly beneficial and are found in fishes like Salmon, Sardines, Trout, Tuna, and Herring. They can also be found in plant-based sources like Algae, Beans, Spinach, Walnuts, Mayonnaise, and Soybean. Though it might not be easy to measure the amount of fat present in each meal, the best thing to do would be to incorporate lots of vegetables, fish, lean meat and nuts into your diet. Though animal products contain saturated fats in varying amounts, you can still take them in decent amounts as they have some healthy nutrients too. There are several alternatives you can use instead of the usual unhealthy fat, you can use olive oil instead of butter, add more delicious fruits like avocados to your diet, you can also cook the fish and lean meat with healthy spices to make them delicious. For a 2000 calorie diet, a daily fat intake of around 44 to 77 grams is recommended. That’s about 20 to 35% of the total calorie intake per day for most adults.
Vitamins are very essential nutrients because of the numerous functions they perform in the body, it is important to get the adequate amount needed for the body to function properly. If you don’t get enough vitamins and minerals from your diet, you’ll be sure to notice the effects of vitamin deficiency for a long time. Though there are many vitamin supplements available, prolonged use can lead to some unwanted effects as the vitamins have been processed. The best option is to get these vitamins from natural sources like fruits.
Vitamins are quite different from minerals, vitamins can be affected and destroyed by heat or acid while minerals are inorganic and are largely unaffected by heat and acid. This is why it is very important to make sure you don’t overcook plant products or fruits. The best sources for vitamin A and C are plant products and citrus fruits like carrots, oranges, lemon, spinach, tomatoes, soy, avocado, etc. Some essential minerals can also be gotten from animal products like meat, poultry, Salmon, Tuna, Sardines, Eggs, Dairy, etc. When planning your next meal, it is important to have as much of fruits and vegetables as possible, make sure the fruits and veggies are fresh and have not been exposed to too much heat, also cook any animal product you want to eat at a reasonable temperature, high enough to remove all germs and impurities and low enough to make sure the essential nutrients don’t get destroyed.
Go as Natural as Possible
When planning a meal, it is important to make sure the food items come from natural sources. There are many refined and modified food products out there which aren’t particularly healthy, they are filled with additives and sweeteners which all-cause harmful effects on the body. When you go for natural food products and use them to prepare a healthy meal, you’ll notice the visible positive effects on your body. So keep this in mind when planning your next meal.
Like it is commonly said, variety is the spice of life. There are many varieties of healthy products for you to choose from. Many products usually have different major nutrients they contain which is why it’s good to choose as many options as you can to get the full nutrients you need. You can also spice up your cooking by using a variety of ingredients and spices.
These and many more are the things you should look out for when trying to prepare a healthy meal. A proper diet can be the difference between living a healthy life and frequent doctor visits. Remember, following a healthy diet is a conscious effort.