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guide to healthy eating

Fuel your body! The complete guide to healthy eating

How can you know what healthy eating is? This article will give you the basics on how to get started with your own version of a healthy diet

Last week we looked at one of the most important factors when it comes to leading a healthy lifestyle: exercise. However, exercise alone cannot give you the body of your dreams, and much less lead to a life full of energy and vitality.

The other side of the coin is healthy eating. However, just as there are an endless number of starting diets and exercise programs out there, there are also conflicting messages about what constitutes healthy eating. How do you make sense of it all?

Luckily, if you’re looking to get started with healthy eating, you’ve come to the right place! In this guide, we will teach you the basics of healthy eating and provide tips for how you can stick to a truly nourishing diet. We’ll focus on the «big picture» items and fundamentals, so you can start making changes to your eating habits with a clearer picture in mind.

Let’s get started!

Get your fundamentals right

The first and most important step in eating healthy is to get your fundamentals right. This means learning about the different nutrient groups and what role they play in a balanced diet. Once you have a good understanding of the basics, you can start making changes to your eating habits.

There are six main nutrient groups: carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water. Each one of these plays an important role in keeping your body healthy and functioning properly.

Contraty to what most people think, the key to leading a healthy lifestyle is not focusing on specific foods; but giving your body the right amounts of macronutrients (carbs, proteins and fat).

Let’s explore what makes up a healthy diet and give you some other tips that can help you on your journey to a great body and lifestyle!

1- Limit simple carbs

One of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to eat healthy is focusing too much on carbs. Although carbs can be part of a balanced diet when used properly, truth is most people eat them in too large quantities. In fact, most cases of obesity and other related illnesses come about when people start adding too many carbs to their daily meals.

It is important to limit your intake of simple carbs, such as those found in white bread, pastries, and sugary drinks. Simple carbs are quickly broken down by your body and can cause spikes in blood sugar levels.

This does not mean you should stop eating carbs at all, however. Instead, focus on complex carbs, such as those found in fruits and vegetables; and if you tolerate them properly, add in legumes, tubers and maybe some whole grains too. These foods are slowly digested by your body and provide lasting energy throughout the day.

2- Eat more protein and fat

Another mistake people make when trying to eat healthy is not getting enough protein and fat. 50 years of cholesterol scares have drilled into many people’s heads that fats are basically evil, and protein should be taken with caution, too. However, although complex carbs are an important part of a balanced diet, they should not be the primary thing you’re eating.

Protein and fat are essential for your body to function properly. Protein helps build and repair muscle tissue, while fat provides energy and helps with the absorption of vitamins and minerals. They also play a fundamental role in the regulation of some pretty important body systems, like our hormonal regulation or our sleeping patterns.

Where, then can you get protein from? You can get it from a variety of sources, including meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, beans, nuts, and seeds. It’s usually believed that animal protein is richer and denser in nutrients, making it a better option in most cases, but you can find alternative sources in case you’re trying to stay away from meat.

When it comes to fat, focus on healthy fats such as avocados, olive oil, nuts, and seeds. These foods will help keep you full and satisfied throughout the day. Another great source of healthy fat comes from eggs, which have been demonized for a long time now but are actually among the healthiest foods you can eat.

3- Sugar is your enemy!

We’ve already talked about how simple carbs can be bad for you, but we need to talk about sugar specifically. Sugar is probably the worst thing you can eat if you’re trying to lead a healthy lifestyle.

What’s the problem with a little bit of sugar, you ask? Basically, it’s all empty calories with no nutritional value whatsoever; and it’s been linked to some pretty serious health problems, such as diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and even cancer.

The best way to avoid sugar is by eating whole foods that are naturally sweetened, like fruits and vegetables. You can also use alternative sweeteners such as stevia or honey; but be careful not to overdo it, as they can still have negative effects on your health if consumed in large quantities.

4- Avoid processed food as much as possible

Processed food is another enemy of healthy eating. These are foods that have been stripped of their nutrients and often contain harmful additives and chemicals. They are also usually high in calories, salt, and sugar; and low in fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Some examples of processed foods include white flour, white rice, most breads, cereals, snacks, fast food, processed meats, and sugary drinks. Basically, if a food comes in a package or box, it’s likely to be processed.

The best way to avoid processed foods is by cooking your meals from scratch using whole ingredients. However, this may not always be possible; so when you do buy processed foods make sure to read the labels carefully and choose products that only include ingredients you can recognize!

5- Quit empty calories

Last but not least, one of the worst things you can do when trying to eat healthy is to consume empty calories. These are foods that provide little to no nutritional value and are often high in sugar, bad fat, or both.

Some examples of empty calories include candy, cake, cookies, chips, soda, and most junk food. These foods might give you a quick burst of energy, but it won’t last long and you’ll end up feeling even more tired than before. Not to mention the fact that they’re terrible for your health!

Again, the best way to avoid empty calories is by eating whole foods that are rich in nutrients. This includes fruits, vegetables, lean protein sources, healthy fats, and whole grains.

If you stick to these recommendations, after an initial adaptation period you’ll start feeling much better and having tons of extra energy. We truly believe eating healthy can change your life; but of course, your food habits are just another piece and will work better when paired to other habits, like exercising often or sleeping well.