The Key To A Healthy Diet
To avoid the negative health risks to your, your diet needs to be nutritional and diverse. Small changes to your diet can make an immense difference to your health. It’s easier than you think, especially if you follow at least six of the eight goals outlined below.
- Make half your plate fruits and vegetables: The more colourful you plate, the more likely you are to get the vitamins, minerals and fibre your body needs, so be sure to choose a variety of red, orange and green vegetables (such as tomatoes, sweet potatoes and broccoli).
- Make half the grains you eat whole grains: eating whole grain foods such as whole-wheat bread will help you avoid processed grains high in empty carbohydrates. Look for whole wheat, brown rice, bulgur, buckwheat, oatmeal, rolled oats, quinoa or wild rice.
- Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk: Fat free and low fat milk contains the same amount of calcium and other nutrients as whole milk, but contains fewer calories and less saturated fat.
- Choose a variety of lean protein foods: Lean meats (meat with lower fat content) are far better than meat with large amounts of fat content. Select leaner cuts of beef, turkey breast of chicken breast.
- Compare sodium in foods: Use the nutritional facts included in the labels on food packaging to select foods containing low levels of sodium. Choose canned foods with labels stating low sodium, reduced sodium or no salt added.
- Drink water instead of sugary drinks: By drinking water or unsweetened, you can cut your calories substantially. Sodas and energy drinks are high in added sugar and calories, so be sure to avoid these. If you seek added flavor, try adding a slice of lemon, lime or watermelon to your glass of water.
- Eat some seafood: Seafood such as fish and shellfish are high in protein, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids (healthy fat). Try eating at least eight ounces of seafood a week if you are an adult.
- Cut back on solid fats: Major sources of solid fats are cakes, cookies, ice cream and processed meat. Try to avoid these to cut back on your solid fat intake.
By following the above eight goals, you will help your body get the nutrients it needs, while cutting back on unhealthy content. If you combine a healthy diet with regular physical exercise, your physical and mental health with begin to improve immensely.
An eating plan that helps manage your weight includes a variety of healthy foods. Add an array of colors to your plate and think of it as eating the rainbow. Dark, leafy greens, oranges, and tomatoes—even fresh herbs—are loaded with vitamins, fiber, and minerals. Adding frozen peppers, broccoli, or onions to stews and omelets gives them a quick and convenient boost of color and nutrients.
- Emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products
- Includes a variety of protein foods such as seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes (beans and peas), soy products, nuts, and seeds.
- Is low in added sugars, sodium, saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol.
- Stays within your daily calorie needs
Fresh, frozen, or canned fruits are great choices. Try fruits beyond apples and bananas such as mango, pineapple or kiwi fruit. When fresh fruit is not in season, try a frozen, canned, or dried variety. Be aware that dried and canned fruit may contain added sugars or syrups. Choose canned varieties of fruit packed in water or in its own juice.
Add variety to grilled or steamed vegetables with an herb such as rosemary. You can also sauté (panfry) vegetables in a non-stick pan with a small amount of cooking spray. Or try frozen or canned vegetables for a quick side dish—just microwave and serve. Look for canned vegetables without added salt, butter, or cream sauces. For variety, try a new vegetable each week.
In addition to fat-free and low-fat milk, consider low-fat and fat-free yogurts without added sugars. These come in a variety of flavors and can be a great dessert substitute.
If your favorite recipe calls for frying fish or breaded chicken, try healthier variations by baking or grilling. Maybe even try dry beans in place of meats. Ask friends and search the internet and magazines for recipes with fewer calories ― you might be surprised to find you have a new favorite dish!
Healthy eating is all about balance. You can enjoy your favorite foods, even if they are high in calories, fat or added sugars. The key is eating them only once in a while and balancing them with healthier foods and more physical activity.
Some general tips for comfort foods:
- Eat them less often. If you normally eat these foods every day, cut back to once a week or once a month.
- Eat smaller amounts. If your favorite higher-calorie food is a chocolate bar, have a smaller size or only half a bar.
- Try a lower-calorie version. Use lower-calorie ingredients or prepare food differently. For example, if your macaroni and cheese recipe includes whole milk, butter, and full-fat cheese, try remaking it with non-fat milk, less butter, low-fat cheese, fresh spinach and tomatoes. Just remember to not increase your portion size.
Below is an example diet for maintaining a healthy weight for life:
It is not by any means the only balanced diet out there. Feel free to chose anyone that works for you. Remember he key is to follow it consistantly. Everything in moderation, and keep the cheating to a minimum.
The Mayo Clinic Diet is a long-term weight management program created by a team of weight-loss experts at Mayo Clinic.
The program has been updated and is designed to help you reshape your lifestyle by adopting healthy new habits and breaking unhealthy old ones. The goal is to make simple, pleasurable changes that will result in a healthy weight that you can maintain for the rest of your life.
Why choose the Mayo Clinic Diet?
The purpose of the Mayo Clinic Diet is to help you lose excess weight and find a healthy way of eating that you can sustain for a lifetime.
It focuses on changing your daily routine by adding and breaking habits that can affect your weight. Simple habits, such as eating more fruits and vegetables, not eating while you watch TV, and moving your body for 30 minutes a day, can help you lose weight.
The Mayo Clinic Diet is based on the latest behavior-change science, which will help you find your inner motivation to lose weight, set achievable goals and learn to handle setbacks.
You might choose to follow the Mayo Clinic Diet because you:
- Want to follow a program that has been developed by medical professionals
- Are looking for a diet that fits your food preferences
- Like the idea of being able to eat unlimited vegetables and fruits
- Seek expert strategies on how to drop unhealthy lifestyle habits and gain healthy ones
- Want to improve your health, reduce your health risks and feel great
- Don’t want to eliminate food groups or count calories
- Want a program you can stick with for life, not a fad or quick fix.
- Are looking for easy-to-follow advice that will inspire you to eat better and move more
Remember to check with your health care provider before starting any weight-loss program, especially if you have any health conditions.
How does it work?
The Mayo Clinic Diet is the official weight-loss program developed by Mayo Clinic experts. It is based on research and clinical experience.
The program focuses on eating delicious healthy foods and increasing physical activity. It emphasizes that the best way to keep weight off for good is to change your lifestyle and adopt new habits that you enjoy and can stick with. This program can be tailored to your own individual needs, health history and preferred eating style.
The Mayo Clinic Diet has two phases:
- Lose It! This two-week phase is designed to jump-start your weight loss, so you may lose up to 6 to 10 pounds (2.7 to 4.5 kilograms) in a safe and healthy way. In this phase, you focus on lifestyle habits that are associated with weight. You learn how to add five healthy habits, break five unhealthy habits and adopt another five bonus healthy habits. This phase can help you see some quick results — a psychological boost — and start practicing important habits that you’ll carry into the next phase of the diet.
- Live It! This phase is a lifelong approach to health. In this phase, you learn more about food choices, portion sizes, menu planning, physical activity, exercise and sticking to healthy habits. You may continue to see a steady weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds (0.5 to 1 kilograms) a week until you reach your goal weight. This phase can also help you maintain your goal weight permanently.
To support your weight-loss journey, the Mayo Clinic Diet also makes available electronic tools, such as a food and exercise journal and a weight tracker, to help you stick with the program.
Focus on choosing healthy foods
The Mayo Clinic Diet makes healthy eating easy by teaching you how to estimate portion sizes and plan meals. The program doesn’t require you to be precise about counting calories. Instead, you’ll eat tasty foods that will satisfy you and help you lose weight.
Mayo Clinic experts designed the Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight Pyramid to help you eat foods that are filling but low in calories. Each of the food groups in the pyramid emphasizes health-promoting choices. The pyramid encourages you to eat virtually unlimited amounts of vegetables and fruits because of their beneficial effects on both weight and health.
The main message is simple: Eat most of your food from the groups at the base of the pyramid and less from the top — and move more.
Increase your physical activity
The Mayo Clinic Diet provides practical and realistic ideas for including more physical activity and exercise throughout your day — as well as finding a plan that works for you.
The program recommends getting at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day and even more exercise for further health benefits and weight loss. It provides an exercise plan with easy-to-follow walking and resistance exercises that will help maximize fat loss and boost mental well-being. It also emphasizes moving more throughout the day, such as taking the stairs instead of an elevator.
If you’ve been inactive or you have a medical condition, talk to your doctor or health care provider before starting a new physical activity program. Most people can begin with five- or 10-minute activity sessions and increase the time gradually.
What’s a typical daily menu?
The Mayo Clinic Diet provides a choice of five different eating styles at several calorie levels. Whether you would like to follow the Mayo Clinic Diet meal plan, are vegetarian or prefer the Mediterranean eating style, you will find an abundance of recipes and meals that won’t leave you hungry.
Here’s a look at a typical daily meal plan at the 1,200-calorie-a-day level from the Mediterranean eating plan:
- Breakfast: Overnight oats with berries and pear
- Lunch: Tuscan white bean soup with pesto drizzle
- Dinner: Sheet-pan roast chicken with broccolini, onion and tomatoes
- Snack: 1 cup sliced bell peppers and a banana
What about dessert? You can have sweets but no more than 75 calories a day. For practicality, consider thinking of your sweets calories over the course of a week. Have low-fat frozen yogurt or dark chocolate on Monday, and then hold off on any more sweets for a few days.
What are the results?
The Mayo Clinic Diet is designed to help you lose up to 6 to 10 pounds (2.7 to 4.5 kilograms) during the initial two-week phase.
After that, you transition into the second phase, where you continue to lose 1 to 2 pounds (0.5 to 1 kilograms) a week until you reach your goal weight. By continuing the lifelong habits that you’ve learned, you can then maintain your goal weight for the rest of your life.
Most people can lose weight on almost any diet plan that restricts calories — at least in the short term. The goal of the Mayo Clinic Diet is to help you keep weight off permanently by making smarter food choices, learning how to manage setbacks and changing your lifestyle.
In general, losing weight by following a healthy, nutritious diet — such as the Mayo Clinic Diet — can reduce your risk of weight-related health problems, such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and sleep apnea.
If you already have any of these conditions, they may be improved dramatically if you lose weight, regardless of the diet plan you follow.
In addition, the healthy habits and kinds of foods recommended on the Mayo Clinic Diet — including lots of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, beans, fish and healthy fats — can further reduce your risk of certain health conditions.
The Mayo Clinic Diet is meant to be positive, practical, sustainable and enjoyable, so you can enjoy a happier, healthier life over the long term.
Are there risks?
The Mayo Clinic Diet is generally safe for most adults. It does encourage unlimited amounts of vegetables and fruits.
For most people, eating lots of fruits and vegetables is a good thing — these foods provide your body with important nutrients and fiber. However, if you aren’t used to having fiber in your diet, you may experience minor, temporary changes in digestion, such as intestinal gas, as your body adjusts to this new way of eating.
Also, the natural sugar in fruit does affect your carbohydrate intake — especially if you eat a lot of fruit. This may temporarily raise your blood sugar or certain blood fats. However, this effect is lessened if you are losing weight.
If you have diabetes or any other health conditions or concerns, work with your doctor to adjust the Mayo Clinic Diet for your situation. For example, people with diabetes should aim for more vegetables than fruits, if possible. It’s a good idea to snack on vegetables, rather than snacking only on fruit.
southgatemedical.com, “The Bad Effects Of Eating Junk Food.”; cdc.gov, “Healthy Eating for a Healthy Weight.”; mayoclinic.org, “The Mayo Clinic Diet: A weight-loss program for life: The Mayo Clinic Diet is a lifestyle approach to weight loss that can help you maintain a healthy weight for a lifetime.” By Mayo Clinic Staff;