Healthy Eating 101

Most often healthy eating is mistaken with weight loss. Also, healthy eating is wrongfully associated with boring food. However, being foodies we are happy share some thoughts on healthy eating.

Content in a typical diet

The focus of a healthy diet has few areas of interest.

  • Effect on levels of body cholesterol and hormones
  • Sufficient energy/carbohydrate content
  • Sufficient proteins

While carbohydrates supply the required energy, proteins support the maintenance and growth of body including the cellular regeneration.

  • Anti-oxidants

As the term sounds, anti-oxidants helps reduce the cellular damage by oxidizing agents. These include the food emulsifiers, flavor enhancers, and free radicals from food processing. These oxidizing agents can mutate and damage the cellular structures in important body organs leading to diseases like cancer, liver diseases, kidney malfunction and diabetes.

Credits: https://www.differencebetween.com/difference-between-carbohydrates-and-vs-proteins/

Content in a healthy diet

Carbs

Carbohydrates nowadays are less desired due to increased risk of diabetes and heart diseases among the population. However, a certain percentage of energy is needed for the body to function. Hence, it is essential that one pick sufficient energy sources to meet the daily energy requirements. These are few typical food items with carbs.

  • Fast food including breads, cakes, biscuits, chips, fries
  • Rice, Wheat
  • Processed cereals
  • Sweets including ice-cream, milkshakes, sweetened fruits (canned fruits in syrups)
  • Soft drinks (unless sugar free)
  • Pizzas and Pastas

Proteins

Proteins are usually loved especially during the BBQ times. These are also preferred over carbs due to the lower amounts of sugars included. However, proteins usually comes with fat which can give rise to higher cholesterol levels. Few food items with proteins.

  • Eggs
  • Nuts and grains including almonds, lentils, chickpeas, mung beans, etc
  • Meats – Chicken, Pork, Beef, etc
  • Cheese and Milk products
  • Top vegetarian choices
    • Broccoli
    • Brussels Sprouts
    • Broccolini
    • Beans
    • Peanuts and Cashews
    • Moringa

Anti-oxidants and other essential nutrients

It is worth noting anti-oxidants alongside with other vitamins and minerals. This is because the modern society is facing the threat of cancers and other regenerative diseases that arise due to cellular damage over time. Following are few anti-oxidant rich food items. (source)

  • Dark chocolate
  • Berries (Strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, etc)
  • Peppers (Capsicum, Jalapenos)
  • Green tea, tea
  • Kale and cabbage
  • Spinach
  • Beets

Food items with vitamins

  • All untreated and organic fruits
  • Fish
  • Meats
  • Leaves
  • Asian and south Asian spices (improves immunity and adds flavor)

Essential fatty acids can be gained from following food items

  • Fish (fish oils)
  • Vegetables
  • Nuts and seeds

Simple Healthy Recipe Ideas

Following are few healthy recipes that you can make fast and almost one-pot in style.

Baked chicken and broccolini with nuts and hummus

In this recipe, I baked chicken thighs together with broccolini. The broth from chicken was mixed with garlic paste, chili paste and tomato paste to make the dressing you see on chicken. I added some hummus and cashews along with few snacks. You can marinate the chicken with a paste of your desire. I used south asian curry powder, pepper and salt. You can always use a mesh to bake chicken so the oils will leave the meat. Brocollini/Broccoli could be treated with olive oil, pepper and salt for flavor.

Beef with spinach, cashew and capsicum

You can prepare the above platter with some beef (cooked to your level of desire, I prefer medium to well-done). Wash spinach well and mix with some diced capsicum. Treat with some salt and pepper. All good to go. Perfect dinner!

Lamb shanks with spinach and bread

Here I have slow cooked lamb shanks in red-wine (which is totally optional). The puree on top is the carrots and celery blended after being slow-cooked in wine with the lamb. So it is very nutritional and contains spices for the perfect flavor. Two slices of toasted bread for the carbs. 🙂

Being Sri Lankan, I find it very difficult to resit a good plate of rice once in a while. However, it is not a routine choice given the not very active life style of ours. But when I cook, I make sure the taste and variety is at its best. I agree, the amount of rice in the image could be lower. 😀

I hope you enjoyed reading this post. Have a lovely day with good health!

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