Heart healthy diets is just a part of a complementary lifestyle approach towards better health – to help you get in shape, feel fitter and energized. You can adapt the dietary changes gradually, rather than all at once. You’ll be surprised by how even the smallest of changes can make a significant difference.
Balanced Diet and Lifestyle Changes for A Healthy Heart
When it comes to healthy eating, a balanced dietary approach is the best. There are no clear boundary about good or bad foods and you can still enjoy the odd indulgence occasionally, guilt-free, provided that you consume the following diets in your major meal intake:
- Plenty of fruit and vegetables including legumes, nuts and seeds
- Plenty of bread and other cereals (like pasta, rice) and potatoes
- Moderate amounts of milk and dairy foods, low-fat where possible
- Moderate amounts of lean meat and fish
- Small amounts of fatty and sugary foods
Not smoking and taking plenty of physical activity are also part of this lifestyle package. If you enjoy keeping active and follow the dietary advice above, you will manage your weight and feel all the better for being in control.
Weight Management for Healthy Lifestyles
The concept is easy rather than practice. Energy taken ‘in’ from the daily food consumption should equal to the energy we exert ‘out’ in the form of energy needs of our body and in our daily physical activity. If ‘energy in’ exceeds ‘energy out’, this will result in weight gain. Our energy balance is so fine that it only takes an extra biscuit each day to gain 2kg in a year! We also have to eat 3500 calories less to lose 0.5kg and that is why losing weight is so difficult. It is much better to lose weight slowly (0.5 – 1 kg per week) and maintain the weight loss than to do crash dieting only to regain the weight quickly, then diet again. Following the healthy lifestyle advice in this article will help you to make the changes necessary to control your weight for good, by eating a heart healthy diets and taking more physical activity.
Feeding the Family in Healthy Ways
Most parents want to give their children the best possible start in life. Making the best food choices for our children helps them to develop good eating habits and attitudes to food that will influence their tastes and well-being far into the future.
Key action points to instill good eating habits in children from young:
- Get your children involved with choosing, planning and preparing meals and in shopping.
- Hands-on cooking with children encourages a love of food and cooking and can be fun too.
- Just cook one meal for the whole family which you can enjoy eating all together.
- Always serve vegetables, bread and water with your meal.
- Keep the fruit bowl well stocked with a variety of fresh produce to eat whenever you feel peckish.
- Try new foods with old favorites.
Key action points to adapt traditional family recipes to health diets:
- Reduce the amount of fat used.
- Change the type of fat by using a monounsaturated or polyunsaturated variety.
- Cut down on salt intake.
- Reduce the amount of meat and add more legumes.
- Replace pastry in pies with mashed potatoes, e.g. shepherd’s pie.
- Reduce the amount of sugar used; sweeten instead with dried fruit or fruit juice.
- Use yogurt or fromage frais instead of cream.
- Use half-fat cheese or smaller quantities of stronger cheeses, e.g. Parmesan.
- Grating cheese makes it go further.
- Instead of high-fat roux-based sauces, make sauces with corn flour and skimmed milk; flavor with mustard and black pepper.
Always bear in mind that forming good eating habits is just part of a lifestyle package and encouraging children to be more active and not to smoke is equally important. Living together in a pro-active environment and teaching by example is an invaluable lesson.
Gladys is passionate about health. She believes in natural healing and is an advocate in healthy diet, exercise and positive thinking.
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