Have you decided to change your diet? Congratulations! Whether you need to boost your immunity, lose a few kilos or would like to eat more responsibly, we have some tips for you on how to do it correctly and, most important, painlessly. Eating healthily while enjoying your food is easier than you think! This has also been confirmed by the famous gastroenterologist, MUDr. Peter Minárik.
HALF A KILO PER DAY
That’s about how much fruit and vegetables the average adult should consume in one day, preferably in the form of five smaller portions. In fact, only 5% of Slovaks follow this healthy rule. Why? The main reason is lack of time, not only for the preparation of healthy snacks, but also for the actual shopping. An even more serious problem is poor eating habits; instead of a fresh apple, people indulge in sweets and many people last saw vegetables one week ago in a soup. The fact remains that a diet poor in fruit and vegetables leads to various health problems, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer or obesity.
The solution is not complicated at all. All you have to do is add a portion of fresh vegetables to each meal. Cut up a pepper with tomatoes to go with your morning eggs and make a mixed salad for lunch. In the evening you can put a few root vegetables and a handful of mushrooms in a frying pan, add spices and the perfect side dish is ready. By the way, you can comfortably take a sliced carrot, cucumber or apple with you to school and work and have it as a regular snack. After a few days, you will see what a miracle a daily dose of fresh fruit and vegetables does for your digestion and how effectively it can drive away “wolfish hunger” and a sweet tooth.
DON’T EAT LESS, EAT BETTER
If you want to lose your excess kilos, there is no worse decision than to starve yourself. It puts your body under stress and deprives it of valuable nutrients and minerals. In addition, this state is not sustainable in the long run and you will end up back at the beginning. Avoid trouble and unnecessary frustration by slightly adjusting the food that you normally prepare. Experts also call this method a “properly divided plate”.
Half of the plate should be mixed vegetables, a quarter whole grains or another starchy accompaniment containing fibre, and the other quarter is left for “lean” protein, i.e. animal or plant-based foods that are rich in protein and low in fat and energy. Soya and tofu spreads are a good choice, as they are healthy, low-fat proteins. A plant-based diet is a rich source of fibre, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, which provide the body with natural protection against serious diseases. Plant-based foods should generally make up two-thirds of everything you eat.
SMALL STEPS TOWARDS MAJOR CHANGE
One of the most effective measures against poor eating habits is to replace unhealthy foods that you are normally used to with lighter versions. In practice, this means that you do not have to throw all your favourite foods “overboard”, but try to supplement them with a more nutritious ingredient. You can replace white rice with brown, wild or basmati rice, while normal pasta can be replaced with wholemeal pasta. Discover more adventurous side dishes such as bulgur, couscous or quinoa and try how vegetables taste with hummus or purely plant-based spreads.
Another effective way to keep your tastes under control is, wherever possible, to add herbs, spices, mushrooms, nuts and seeds. Your food will come to life in a natural way and enchant you with tempting scents. Last but not least, try to prepare food by steaming and stewing rather than frying or baking in the oven. You don’t need to have a hot dinner every day – the fresher your meal, the more it will please your digestion and your immunity.
Did you know that our resolutions to eat better most often fail at breakfast, and snacks are also problematic? Usually you miss them out or, under time pressure, you grab something that completely ruins your plan for a healthier “me”. That’s why, in addition to a portion of vegetables or fruits, always have something tasty and healthy on hand to fill you up. Try, for example, 100% plant-based spreads – you can combine them with lettuce, baked potatoes, vegetables in the form of a dip or just spread them on fresh sourdough bread. A healthy diet doesn’t have to be complicated at all.