What does a healthy diet actually look like?
It can be hard when you want to be healthy but there are so many conflicting messages out there. The simplicity of a healthy diet isn’t ‘sexy’. It’s very basic thus is easily drowned out by the more marketable ideas spouted by celebrities and health food companies. More often than not these hyped up diets do more harm than good.
Food is good for you. Theres a place for all kinds of food in a healthy diet. If you like mint chocolate brownies being healthy doesn’t mean never eating them. In the words of the Moderation Movement “Health is not about rules, deprivation nor guilt”.
So where to start for a healthy lifestyle?
Adults are recommended to get at least half an hour of exercise a day. This can be as simple as going for a walk. Find a type of exercise that you love, so you’ll always look forward to it. My mother loves hiking. She loves the social aspects of being out in a group and the chance to be outdoors in such a beautiful country. My sister loves yoga. She likes the relaxation. I love boxing. I like that being with a trainer means I’m pushed harder than I can push myself and I can focus on the technique. I also love how strong it makes me feel.
“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” Balance, variety and moderation are the keys. The Australian Dietary Guidelines a daily variety of these five food groups:
- Vegetables – in different types and colours (including legumes/beans)
- Grains – mostly wholegrain
- Lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds, and legumes
- Milk, yogurt, cheese and/or their alternatives (mostly low-fat)
If you like to cook, keep a bunch of recipes on hand that cover these groups.
If you’re exercising and eating a wide variety of these foods, you’re good. You can enjoy a brownie every now and then. Don’t attach guilt or anxiety to food. If you open yourself to a large varitey of food and choose to eat the foods you like, your natural instincts will turn you towards what you need. Food is good. Enjoy it.