Balance is everything: achieving a healthy balanced lifestyle is not difficult if you take it in steps, adding another layer of good healthy habits to the ones you have already conquered. Remember that a healthy balanced diet, regular exercise, and no smoking are the pillars of a healthy lifestyle.
Eating healthy is all about balance. Although the majority of our diet should be made of nutritious foods, every now and then it’s perfectly okay to have a small slice of pizza for lunch or a piece of pie after dinner. After all, treats are a part of life – but it's important to recognize when we're pushing things too far. Indulgent food should be savored, but only occasionally.
1. It’s not just greens; variety is key
When it comes to veggies, eat the rainbow: different colors provide you with a variety of nutrients your body needs to stay strong and healthy! Think orange (for carrots and sweet potatoes), red (for beets) and white (for cauliflower).
2. Cook from scratch
This is one of the essential life skills you should master. It is the only way to get full control over what goes into your food.
3. Balance your diet
Make it your goal to eat a balanced diet that is based primarily on the good carbs (fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains), good fats (olive oil, fish, and unsalted nuts), and lean, low-fat protein (skinless white meat, low-fat dairy, beans, and soy).
4. Understand what you eat
Know where your food comes from. Is your milk produced in a local, organic, dairy farm? Is your beef raised without antibiotics? Peaches from Georgia and lentils from Oregon? Go for them!
5. Avoid empty calories; eat the full ones, instead
Consent only to those calories that provide your body with minerals, vitamins, antioxidants, fiber, lean protein, and good fats. Say no to empty calories coming from cookies and desserts. Make every calorie count!
6. Never skip breakfast
Breakfast not only kick-starts your metabolism but it also helps you be awake and alert throughout the day. Always in a hurry? Grab a banana and a coffee before you leave home and have grapes in a plastic container once you arrive at work. An apple around 10.00 am will carry you smoothly to your lunch break.
7. Read the fine print
Reading food packaging correctly is critical. Does the recommended portion size fit your size needs? Don’t forget to focus on the salt, sugar, and saturated fat content.
8. Drink more water
Water should be an essential part of your diet. Drinking plenty of water and avoiding empty calories from sugary beverages like sodas, energy drinks or sugar-containing juices, helps you feel full for longer. Choose to eat your calories; don't drink them.
9. Keep active
Exercise is an extremely important factor in staying healthy so try to be as active as you can. Maximize the time you stand up and walk at work or at home, and minimize the time you sit. Opt for a combination of aerobic exercise, light weight lifting and stretching exercise at the gym.
10. Get some shut eye
Making sure you get enough sleep (7-9 hours for most of us) is an essential part of being healthy. Solid REM sleep directly affects how well we are able to grow and act in life. While we're asleep, our bodies have the time to repair.
11. No smoking
Smoking or chewing tobacco or smoking cigars, hookah, vapor, or e-cigarettes, releases thousands of destructive chemicals into our system, damaging our arteries. Smoking can also cause emphysema and several forms of cancer.
12.If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation
Small amounts of alcohol, that is one alcoholic drink per day for women or one-to-two drinks per day for men (one drink is about 15 gm of alcohol, approximately the amount of alcohol contained in one beer, 4 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of spirits) is consistent with healthy lifestyle and is good for our health. However, alcohol in larger than recommended quantities becomes a poison for our brain, heart, pancreas and liver and can cause several forms of cancer, depression and is responsible for many deadly motor vehicle accidents. While having one beer per night every day of the week is OK, having seven beers on Saturday is not (even if you don't drink any alcohol for the rest of the week).