We are in an era where being healthy is a central issue. In fact, by adopting a healthy lifestyle, we can change ourselves, getting healthier and happier and living longer. Moreover, that can also help the environment to be more healthy and sustainable.
You can find in our blog many articles on the topic of nutrition and healthiness. However, we haven’t talked about the fundamental of food and how to eat healthy properly.
So here’s a concise guide on how to eat healthily. But before answering the “how-to”. Let’s talk about the “what”. What are foods and nutrients?
Let’s first understand some basics, like what a calorie is and what are carbs, fats, proteins, minerals, and vitamins. In this guide, I will try my best to talk in the most straightforward ways for you to understand some basics and quickly grasp how to eat healthily and build yourself your perfect healthy meals.
What are foods, nutrients, and calories?
As the dictionary states: “any nourishing substance that is eaten, drunk, or otherwise taken into the body to sustain life, provide energy, promote growth, etc.”
In principle, we have 2 kinds of nutrients, macro and micro. Nutrients can be calories. Nutrients are what compose food, which gives energy as calories. And nutrients are needed to be healthy, especially the right and healthy ones.
So let’s keep digging into our topic…
There are 3 most important nutrients to know. Macronutrients are nutrients that provide energy in the form of calories, compared to micro-nutrients. These 3 nutrients: Carbohydrates (carbs), fats, and proteins are the ones we will talk about most in this guide.
Micronutrients are food also in any food. There are known chiefly as vitamins and minerals. We need some of them also to be healthy and have energy and no lack of anything such as iron, zinc, magnesium, and all kinds of vitamins. A lack of iron could cause fatigue called anaemia, for instance.
As said, nutrients are calories. Calories are needed for us to have energy and function properly. The more you do sport, the more you move, and the more you need calories. Even when you use your brain, calories are needed. Brains love healthy fats, for instance, there are mainly composed of this substance. That can be the reason why you feel tired after having overthought.
We also need calories to have an everyday life as calories help us to digest; that’s why everybody has a metabolic base rate to cope with daily activity without doing any sport.
In short words, for Every action, our body does need calories.
Good and Bad Calories
Then you have good and bad calories. Good calories will be good fat, protein, and carbs.
Bad calories would be processed food like Macdonald’s and Nutella, sugary drinks, and alcohol. We often call them empty calories for most of them, they will satisfy your desire and appetite, but like any sugar or lousy fat, they will be consumed and digested too quickly and in the long term making you not healthy as you will crave more and more.
Instead of good calories like eggs, chicken, quinoa, veggies, fruits, etc…
This is a quick tab from Healthline showing how many calories are in different ingredients for you to have an idea:
- Celery: 14 calories per cup (100 grams), 95% water
- Carrots: 52 calories per cup (130 grams), 88% water
- Lettuce: 5 calories per cup (35 grams), 95% water
- Broccoli: 31 calories per cup (90 grams), 89% water
- Grapefruit: 69 calories per cup (230 grams), 92% water
- Tomatoes: 32 calories per cup (180 grams), 94% water
- Cucumbers: 8 calories per cup (50 grams), 95% water
- Watermelon: 46 calories per cup (150 grams), 91% water
- Apples: 53 calories per cup (110 grams), 86% water
These are very healthy foods from mother nature, known as fruits and veggies.
A big mac contains 257 calories which are equal to almost 5 apples—taking into account that the average person should eat around 1800kcal per day.
I hope you follow me… Let’s continue…
Carbs, Fat, Protein, what are they?
As said, these 3 are nutrients and macronutrients, and they are necessary. And this is how now you’re going to understand how to eat healthily.
So to have well-balanced nutrition and thus to eat healthily, you need a portion of them. Then how much will depend on your age, condition, and goals? But the daily recommendation for ordinary people grossly will be between carbs, protein, and fat 50/25/25.
Carbs – 1gr of is 4kcal
There is 2 kind of carbs: Simple carbs and complex carbs.
In a few words, simple carbs are sweet and go fast to the digestive system. Complex carbs take longer and can contain fibre which takes more time to digest and can have more benefits for our energy level in the long run.
Carbs are the most vital source of nutrients that our body needs. They can be food in pasta, rice, potatoes, veggies, and fruits.
You have good carbs and bad carbs: some are just more sugary than others. As if you look at the label of any food, you’ll find Carbohydrates and just under which sugars and here, the more you have sugars the more it can be not-so-healthy. Cause, yes, sugar is a carb. But not every carb is equal then, as there are some healthy carbs (which contains no sugar) like the ones in veggies or in whole grains like quinoa and lentils, for instance.
Protein – 1gr of is 4kcal
As for carbs, 1gr of protein is also 4kcal, but they don’t have the same benefits. Proteins are famous for building and maintain our muscles, but that’s not it. Proteins are also good for protecting the skin, the brain etc…
Protein is found in animals and also in plant-based food. Here we have listed the top healthy protein for one of our previous articles:
- Tofu (Soya)
Fat – 1gr of is 9kcal
Ha, that’s the big, haha. Yes, for 1 gr of fat, we have 9 calories, as it’s double of what you can find in carbs or proteins. It’s essential to have fat in our diet. Focus on the good ones.
Bad vs good fats
Again, if you look at a label on the back of any food you find, you can see Fat, and under that line, here comes” of which saturates”. Saturates are like bad fats. So the more you have saturated fat, the more it can be unhealthy. But it’s hard to say that is so bad cause having a bit of some lousy fat is not that bad! Hum.. try to get more healthy fat like poly and mono-saturated, which can be found in avocado, fatty fish or nuts as there are essential for the excellent function of, as we said, our brain and our body, in general, they can even help to absorb more vitamins in our body when eating and digesting.
So how to eat healthy?
Now my goal is for you to answer this question quickly. The easier you digest information, the simpler you can reply.
As seen previously, you need to eat a well-balanced diet and create healthy meals during the day.
Well, balanced diet sample day:
Having a good breakfast with good fats, proteins and carbohydrates will help you to get healthy from the start of the day.
The best-balanced breakfasts that we eat and recommend to the people we work with are omelettes, bowl cake, or well-composed porridge with pumpkin seeds which will give you the healthy fats you need.
I also want to debunk something here: eating healthy is not about eating less it’s about eating better.
Breakfasts are one part; you can have nuts as a healthy snack to get enough fat.
The general meals will be composed of protein like eggs, chicken or tofu/beans for vegetarian/vegan, with some veggies and some friendly carbs like bulgur or quinoas.
Eating more carbs during the day is recommended as it’s more needed in our busy time and less before going to bed to sleep peacefully.
Related –> Best Easy Healthy Lifestyle Tips
As I say, being healthy can be the base of everything, and by knowing the basics of nutrition and how to eat healthy, you are in an excellent way to be healthy and to enjoy your life with better health. I hope this article helps you make better decisions about how you eat. So, enjoy your healthy meals.