Change Your Diet, Change Your Life

Change Your Diet, Change Your Life

Change Your Diet, Change Your Life may have heard before, but it really is true: changing the way you eat can change your life and change it for the better. 

With obesity at near epidemic levels in South Africa, and as being overweight has been found to be a significant factor in the risk of developing a life threatening case of COVID-19 should you encounter it, managing your weight is more important than ever. 

But that isn’t all healthy eating will do for you. You’ll find that you have more energy, have skin, hair and nails that are clearer and even younger looking, and healthy eating helps boost your immune system, which is especially important right now. It can even improve your mental health. 

It’s easier than you think to start eating healthy and change your life with food! Take small steps each week to improve your nutrition and move toward a healthier you. Here are some tips to help you get started. 

Change Your Diet, Change Your Life

Load Your Plate with Colour 

Along with other vegetables, choose red, orange, and dark-green vegetables like tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and broccoli. As part of main or side dishes or as dessert, add fruit to meals too. The more you make your plate fun and colourful, the more likely you are to get the balanced vitamins, minerals, and fibre your body needs. 

Change Your Diet, Change Your Life

Make More of Your Grain Whole 

Switching from a refined-grain diet to a whole-grain food is a simple way to consume more healthy whole grains. Eat whole-wheat bread instead of white bread, for example. Read the list of ingredients and choose products that list a whole-grain ingredient first. Look for things such as: “whole wheat,” “brown rice,” “bulgur,” “buckwheat,” “oatmeal,” “rolled oats,” “quinoa,” or “wild rice.”

Change Your Diet, Change Your Life

Choose a ‘Skinnier’ Milk

Switch to milk that is fat-free or low-fat (1%): these contain the same amount of calcium and other vital nutrients as whole milk, but fewer calories and less saturated fat. Try doing without milk altogether, many people unknowingly suffer ailments from drinking milk but supplement this with other forms of calcium.

Change Your Diet, Change Your Life

Look for Low Sodium Versions of Everything! 

Change Your Diet, Change Your Life

To find reduced sodium versions of common, everyday foods such as soup, bread, and frozen meals, use the Nutrition Facts label. Choose foods labelled “low sodium,”

“reduced sodium,” or “no added salt.” Don’t spoil the healthy benefits by adding more salt when you eat though. To add flavour if you need to, try other common condiments like pepper instead. 

Change Your Diet, Change Your Life

Get Fishy 

Fish (such as salmon, tuna, and trout) and shellfish (such as lobster, mussels, and oysters) are included in the seafood group and aside from being very tasty have a lot to offer in terms of good nutrition. 

Seafood has Omega 3 fatty acids (heart-healthy fat) protein, minerals, and more. Adults should aim to eat a variety of fish, at least eight ounces a week. Kids can also eat smaller quantities of fish and reap some big benefits too. 

Change Your Diet, Change Your Life

Other Easy Healthy Eating Swaps and Tips to Try 

  • Mix vegetables into your go-to dishes. Try spinach with pasta or peppers in tacos.
  • Use fresh, frozen, and canned fruits and vegetables. They all offer the same great nutrients. Just be sure to watch the sodium on canned vegetables and look for fruits packed in water or 100% juice (not syrup).
  • Choose baked or grilled food instead of fried if you’re eating out and implement this at home, too.
  • Serve fruits as everyday desserts-like baked apples and pears or a fruit salad.
  • Make water and fat-free or low-fat milk your go-to drinks instead of soda or sweetened beverages.
  • Use smaller plates to control portion sizes.
  • Enjoy your food but eat less: Take the time to fully enjoy your food as you eat it. Pay attention to hunger and fullness cues before, during, and after meals. Use them to recognize when to eat and when you’ve had enough.

As each week passes you will notice a difference in your overall wellbeing, increased energy and stamina and a diminishing waistline. Eating healthily is a wonderful way of life and will ensure you and your family are well and strong.

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