A Simple Guide to Being Healthy

19 Aug

This post is inspired by a comment I received from Mary on my recent Just Taking It Back post.

Mary says:

“I would love to see a post on what we should eat. ie. healthy food pyramid, what serving sizes and how much exercise. There seems to be a focus out there on diets, but not much concise information about what to do to follow a healthy lifestyle.”

Well, you are in luck my friend!  This one goes out to you and all you other readers that want to make some quick, healthy changes to their diet!  Don’t I sound just like a regular blogger now?  Do I love it?  Yes I do.

Before I continue, I am not a dietitian nor do I have any qualifications in the world of fitness, I am just a girl who has struggled with her weight for a long time and found the following to work.

To find out the amount of calories you need per day please visit this site.

HEALTHY FOOD

Everyone says it – your mum has probably told you, your Doctor, people on TV and in magazines – it’s important to have 3 well balanced meals throughout the day and 2 healthy snacks.   But what constitutes ‘healthy’?

In my opinion, healthy food is:

  • fresh vegetables and fruit
  • low in salt, sugar and saturated fat
  • whole grains and low GI carbs
  • minimal processed or packaged foods
  • low in calories

When you eat healthily you will see and feel the difference, from the outside in.  You will have long lasting energy, your skin will look radiant, your eyes will be clearer and you will sleep sounder.

The following are examples of the meals that I stick to.

Breakfast Ideas

  • 1/2 cup of instant oats with 1/2 cup of skim milk and a small banana
  • Low GI cereals  (3/4 cup servings of bran, natural muesli, Kellogs Guardian, Kellogs Sustain) with 1 cup of skim milk and a few sliced strawberries
  • 2 pieces of grainy (multigrain or soy & linseed) toast spread with 1 tablespoon of low-fat hommus and sliced tomato
  • 1 cup of sliced apple and orange with 200g low-fat yoghurt with 1 tablespoon of LSA
  • 2 pieces of grainy  toast with 2 boiled or poached eggs and one apple

The possibilities are endless – you just need to ensure that you are sticking with the correct serving sizes and you are getting a good mix of low GI carbs and protein to fuel you throughout the day.

Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day so make sure it is a good one!

Lunch Ideas

  • Garden salad (can include any of the following – 2 cups of lettuce, 1 small tomato, half a small lebanese cucumber, half a capsicum, sliced stick of celery, 1/4 of an onion, 1/3 cup of shredded carrot) with 100g of lean protein (tuna, salmon, poached or grilled chicken, 1 boiled egg or low-fat cheese like cottage or ricotta), some ‘good fats’ (half an avocado or 6 olives) with a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar and a slice of grainy bread
  • 2 slices of grainy bread with lettuce, tomato,  shredded carrot, a slice of low fat cheese, serving of lean protein (as above) and an apple
  • salmon and chickpea salad
  • garden salad (as above) with 100g of tinned tuna and a small tin of four bean mix with 1/2 an avocado

Again, endless possibilities.  Lunch should be slightly less calories or about the same amount of calories as breakfast as you will require more energy at the beginning of the day than you will require towards the end.

Dinner Ideas

Check out my recipe section for specific meals.

I basically stick with this rule:

  • 1/4 of the plate should be lean protein (about 15og – 200g depending on your daily energy requirements) such as grilled fish, steamed, grilled or poached chicken breast or lean cuts of beef, lamb and pork
  • 1/4 of the plate should be low GI carbs such as legumes, basmati or brown rice, steamed baby chat potatoes or thin varieties of pasta such as angel hair, risoni or spaghetti (again, this depends on your daily energy requirements but I stick to 1/2 a cup or 1 cup)
  • 1/2 of the plate should be filled with fresh, low GI vegetables

Dinner should be your smallest meal of the day (as you don’t require much energy overnight during sleep) but that doesn’t have to mean it’s not the most delicious!

Try not to rely too much on packaged or tinned sauces/marinades (full of sugar and salt) and where possible make your own.  To add flavour to your meals include the juice of lemons or limes, garlic, fresh or dried herbs, vinegars, ginger and chilli.  Let your imagination take over!

Snack Ideas

I like to include 2 snacks in my day but, sounding like a broken record here, this will depend on your energy requirements.

  • Diced apple with 100g of low-fat yoghurt (Jalna is a good choice – try to steer clear of yoghurts marked ‘diet’ as they often have loads of fake sugar which just tantalises your taste buds into wanting more sugary foods – bad, bad, bad!)
  • Celery or carrot sticks with 1/2 cup of low-fat hommus or tzatziki
  • Small handful of nuts or seeds
  • 1 slice of grainy bread with 1 slice of low-fat cheese
  • A piece of low GI fruit
  • A glass of skim milk
  • 1/2 cup of natural muesli with 100g of yoghurt

I steer clear of muesli bars and other packaged snack foods as they are often full of sugar and fat.  Fresh is best!

Because I’m on a weight loss path I don’t include ‘treat foods’ everyday but  I do like to have some dark chocolate here or there and I’m prone to a couple of lollies but I always know my limit.  Check the serving sizes on the back of the packet and do not go over them!

I also will add an extra workout to my week if I know I am going out to dinner or having a few drinks with friends just so I can relax a little rather than worrying the whole night about what I’m eating or drinking.

It’s all about balance for me.  When I eat well, I feel well and when I feel well I want to put 100% into my workouts.  So watch this space for a post on some great fat burning workouts!

What’s your FAVOURITE healthy snack?

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6 Responses to “A Simple Guide to Being Healthy”

  1. Chanel August 19, 2010 at 3:16 pm #

    Yummy suggestions! And it’s not bland, boring food – loads of flavours there. I’m excited haha! 😀
    My favourite snack at work is Jalna low-fat vanilla yoghurt layed with sliced strawberries in a wine glass – parfait style! I enjoy putting it together, it looks indulgent but isn’t (eating with my eyes!), and it’s delicious! 😀

    • Amanda August 19, 2010 at 3:19 pm #

      The best flavours come from nature!

  2. kittykitty August 19, 2010 at 4:23 pm #

    Hmmm I think home-made hommus with toasted wholemeal pita crisps would be my favourite healthy snack at the moment.
    Michelle Bridges’ ‘Crunch Time’ book is really helpful in decoding a low calorie diet, but I would also focus on a low GI diet rather than a low calorie one. It can get really obsessive if you are trying to keep calories down rather than eating foods that will keep you fuller for longer.
    And if you want to lose weight, portion control, portion control, portion control!!

  3. Mary October 24, 2010 at 11:58 pm #

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!!!!!! I don’t know what happened as I subscribed to receive comments but I didn’t see this post. I actually couldn’t have come across it at a better time. I’ve decided to try and stop/reduce my intake of processed foods and sugars. Although I generally try and eat fairly well, I’ve noticed that these foods creep into my diet so quickly and easily. Your suggestions are fantastic and I’ve got some great inspiration from you. I’m so sorry that I didn’t see this post earlier so I could thank you!

    • Amanda October 25, 2010 at 8:09 am #

      You’re welcome Mary! Once you start to remove processed foods from your diet you are going to feel so much better! Come back and let me know how you go. 🙂

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. A Simple Guide to Being Healthy | Me vs. The Bulge | Low-GI | if you do the low-gi diet you need supplementing - August 20, 2010

    […] Original post by Amanda […]

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