healthy eatingI’m pretty sure everybody knows that eating healthy makes sense, but it’s easy to forget it when you’re going through a tough time or you’re simply too busy to even think about things you eat. Nowadays, there are even diet food delivery services or apps that can do the portion and meal control instead of you, so lack of time becomes a lousy excuse for unhealthy diet habits. I’ll try to remind you of the good things associated with eating healthy, smaller portions and I’ll give you several useful tips on portion control.

Benefits of Eating Healthy

Weight Control – A balanced diet and regular physical activity helps avoiding excess weight gain and maintaining a healthy weight. Being active means walking instead of driving or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. When it comes to a balanced, calorie-managed diet, it’s highly recommended to start your day with a healthy, nutritive breakfast in order not to become overly hungry later. ADA (American Dietetic Association) recommends having at least five servings of vegetables and fruits a day, because these foods are high in nutrients and low in calories, so eating them helps with weight control.

Mood & Cognition Improvement – Eating healthy leads to a better physique making you feel better about your appearance and that can surely boost your self-esteem and confidence. Short-term exercise of healthy lifestyle habits are ability to think better and decreased stress. Well-balanced diet is associated with a lower incidence of anxiety disorders and depression compared to a common “western” diet high in processed foods, fat and sugar. Also, foods high in antioxidants helps brain cells maintain a good communication between each other while promoting generation of neurons into old age. The overall result is improved cognitive functioning.

Diseases Prevention – Healthy eating habits prevent several severe health conditions such as high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease by helping to keep blood pressure, cholesterol and similar biomarkers within their targets. Proper diet combined with being physically active prevent or manages a wide range of health issues including arthritis, depression, diabetes, metabolic syndromes and even some types of cancer. Saturated and trans fats are known to cause a major risk factor for stroke and heart attack, atherosclerosis. Foods high in “bad” cholesterol can contribute to the arterial damage, too. Alcohol, fried and processed meats are associated with an increased risk of the colon and liver cancer. Furthermore, obesity is one of the factors contributing to developing cancer, so foods that make you fat can indirectly damage your overall health.

Energy Booster – Have you ever experienced that lethargic feeling after eating unhealthy food or too big portions? Eating a well-balanced diet including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean meats and healthy dairy products means your body will get the necessary fuel to manage energy levels. If more calories mean more energy, how come we should eat low-calorie foods? A calorie is a unit of measure for energy stored in foods and we need that energy for every function of the body, including physical activity, healing, growth and thought. But, it’s of high importance to eat foods that contain an equal amount of calories and nutrients. Simple carbs such as white flour and sugar are low in nutrients and high in calories and that makes them a poor choice for producing energy. On the other hand, complex carbohydrates like fruits, vegetables and whole grains provide a balance of nutrients and calories. Here, I need to say that regular physical exercise helps deliver nutrients and oxigen to body tissues, therefore helping cardiovascular system work more efficiently. Proper nutrition and physical activity gives you more energy to go about your daily activities, while also deepening your sleep and helping you fall asleep faster.

Longevity – Practicing healthy habits significantly boosts your chances of a longer and happier life. Looking forward to spending more time with people you love and care for is a good reason to keep eating healthy and being physically active.

Portion Control

portion control plateLarger portion sizes contribute to the high obesity by encouraging over-eating, which is very often seen across developed and developing countries. In addition, many people are confused about how much of some product should be eaten, as well as recommended daily portion size of common foods such as pasta, fish, meat, cereals, fruits and vegetables. Frankly, it’s very difficult to determine how much you should eat, what is enough, what is less than recommended and what would be described with “over-eating”. “Be moderate” is something I really hate to hear, because it simply leaves you with your own good (or bad) judgement about the portion size. And, when I like some foods, “moderate” becomes “as much as you want”, which isn’t really recommended, is it?

Luckily, nowadays, we have health-friendly restaurants and diet food delivery services (such as Hearty Meals) offering freshly prepared healthy meals that meet your own healthy eating habits. Plus, there are some useful tips on controlling your portion sizes I will share with you!

Never Skip Meals – When you’re starving, you are more likely to eat a larger portion. For that reason, for most people it is ideal to eat three well-balanced, smaller meals, and one or two snacks. Avoid going longer than 5 hours without eating. Of course, this doesn’t mean you should get up in the middle of the night, but you should try not to skip meals while you’re awake.

Weigh and Measure – As I’ve already said, I’m such a poor judge and I believe I’m not the only one. So, get out your measuring cups (or buy them in case you don’t have them) and start with measuring and weighing your food portions today!

Portion-Control Dishes – Have you heard about portion-control plates? These are handy plates with smaller plates or painted lines that are useful for measuring proteins, carbohydrates, vegetables, sauces, cheese etc.

Good Eating Habits – Before you eat other foods, fill up your plate with vegetables and try to get full on them. Also, if you’re at the restaurant specialized in mega-portions, ask the servers to only put half of the meal on a plate and pack the other half to go.

Diet Plan – Plan what you’ll eat, write that down and eat slowly. Snacks are the trickiest part, because we usually tend to eat larger portions than recommended, so plan your snacks ahead. In general, a healthy snack should contain less than 100 calories and less than 15 grams of carbohydrate.