Top Foods For a Healthy Lifestyle
Let’s face it, we’re not as young as we used to be; a diet of Chippers, sandwiches and pizza isn’t going to cut it anymore. But who has the time to set out weekly meal plans? Not many of us, especially if kids are part of the equation. Here are some tips to help alter your daily diet to help see better results and maintain a healthier lifestyle without breaking the bank; plus you can still keep some favourites in your diet.
Before we get into a list of the best foods to stock in your pantry, remember:
- Look at the recommended serving size, you don’t want to be overeating. A proper daily dose should look like: 2-3 cups of vegetables, 1.5 – 2 cups of fruits, 5 to 8 ounces of grains, 3 cuts of fat-free or low-fat dairy, 5 to 6.5 ounces of protein foods and 5 to 7 teaspoons of oils.
- Everything comes back to diet … if you are wondering why your squats and sit-ups aren’t working, chances are your diet isn’t matching your needs. Having an apple but then two ham and cheese toasties? Nope. Not going to cut it.
- A pint here and there is fine, but going out on the lash can definitely hinder your workout results – affecting your performance for as much as five days after. Make sure to find a good balance of fun and healthy.
- At least 150 minutes of cardio a week is best for anyone over 50 to help keep those lungs strong and heart pumpin’ properly. That could be walking, jogging, yoga, pilates … etc.
- Don’t smoke. Enough said.
- Get tested regularly! Keep up with your annual checkups.
Now, to the star of the show, some of the best things to eat and drink to make the best of each day …
- Fruits and Vegetables: Make sure to eat five or more portions of fruits and vegetables a day to help prevent heart disease and even some types of cancer. Why? They’re chalk-full of vitamins, minerals, fibre (we all know the importance of this one), and of course, they’re low in fat! Some of the best fruits and vegetables include grapefruits, blueberries, avocado (hello good fats!), pineapple, spinach, asparagus, broccoli and sweet potatoes. Of course, there are one … or 50 other fruits and vegetables to choose from, but these are some of the superheroes of their world to add to your diet.
- Carbohydrates & Fibre: Bet you didn’t think you would be able tp keep carbs in your diet? Contrary to popular belief not all carbs are bad. In fact, your diet should absolutely contain foods rich in starch and fibre. What do those look like? Well … bread, rice, potatoes and pastas are a great source of energy as well as fibre, Vitamin B and can be a good foundation in each meal. Of course, having 10 pieces of a bread a day isn’t what we mean … we’re talking more high-fibre, wholegrain choises like wheat pasta, brown rice, or even as simple as leaving the skin on the potatoes. We also all know the benefits of fibre – such as preventing constipation to prevent common bowel obstructions, disorders or ailments.
- Protein: We’re not talking a steak a day to keep bad-health away … but obviously a steak here and there is great, and delicious! But if we’re looking at a daily dose of protein you’re going to have to broaden your horizon. You may be surprised to hear things like beans, peas and lentils are a strong alternative to meat but great source of protein, naturally low in fat, high in fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals! Wow! It’s like the Olympics of foods – has a bit of everything.
Not a big bean fan? Eggs are also a great source of protein and can be made so many ways; scrambled, sunny-side up, omelette, poached, etc.
We also mentioned fish … now, you either love fish or hate it. There isn’t really an in-between, is there? But it is so good for you! It is recommended to be eaten twice a week, one of which should be oily (tinned fish, salmon and mackerel are great for omega 3 fatty acides, great for the heart!)
- Dairy: Saving the best for last – DAIRY! Yes, believe it or not, milk and yoghurt and cheese are GOOD to have in your diet! All hail the Dairy Gods. Benefits include: calcium for strong bones, Vitamins A and D for vision, immune system, reproduction and keeping your organs working properly, and lastly, the likes of a glass of milk or cottage cheese helps nerve and muscle function.
Extra fact: worried coffee isn’t a good part of your diet? Oh, are you mistaken my friend. It has been shown to help burn fat, lose weight, stay altert and even known to reduce the risk of a stroke, certain cancers and Parkinson’s disease. That extra cup is a good idea after all … but maybe skip the cream and sugars each time.
We mentioned it before and will say it again, it. All. Comes. Back. To. Diet. You can do all the push-ups and jumping jacks in the world, but if you don’t change your diet to a healthy one you’ll never see a change. We aren’t promising you six-pack abs (we don’t even have those ourselves … sigh), but your heart and immune system will thank you in the long haul!