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 be healthier and more sustainable.
At Pret-a-Train, we constantly strive to give you the best personal training, healthy tips, and nutrition advice to become healthy, which can help you in many areas of your life.
You can find in our blog many articles on the topic of nutrition and healthiness. However, we haven’t discussed the fundamentals of food and how to eat healthily 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 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, fruits and veggies.
A big mac contains 257 calories which is equal to almost 5 apples—taking into account that the average person should eat around 1800 kcal 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’ll understand how to eat healthily.
So to have well-balanced nutrition and thus to eat healthily, you need a portion. 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 and bad carbs: some are 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 maintaining 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 must eat a well-balanced diet and create healthy meals during the day.
Related –> What it Means to be Healthy
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 protein like eggs, chicken or tofu/beans for vegetarian/vegan, with some veggies and some friendly carbs like bulgur or quinoa.
Eating more carbs during the day is recommended as it’s more needed in our busy times and less before bed to sleep peacefully.
Related –> Best Easy Healthy Lifestyle Tips
Create your healthy meal
Now that you learned all the basics of eating healthy, it’s time for you to do, we guess, so. And actually, we’d like to make it simple for you. That’s why we want to give you a few easy tips to implement to create a healthy meal.
5 Tips to Create a Healthy Meal
Eating healthy will not only be helpful for you to lose weight but also to have a healthier lifestyle. Indeed, small changes during your meals will allow you to feel better in your physical and mental health.
We will advise you on your diet, how to eat and create a healthy meal.
1 – Buy healthy food
So firstly, before cooking or even simply eating, it’s essential to buy healthy foods that don’t contain too many bad fats or sugar. When you go shopping, prepare a list and stick to it. This will prevent you from buying all the junk food you like, and you’re used to taking it. You see these foods which aren’t necessarily good for your health.
Related –> Healthy food to put on your grocery list
2 – Cook healthy food from home
Then, cooking at home is much better for you than eating outside. For instance, when you go to a restaurant, you obviously and unfortunately take something fatter or less suitable for your shape.
Eating at home will prevent you from gaining weight and could make you save money at the same time if you’re careful about it.
3 – Drink water, eat fruits
Plus, when you’re eating or even during the day, try to pay attention to drinking enough water. We recommend you always have a bottle of water to avoid dehydration. And it’s preferable to drink water than any other sugary drink.
And more than drinking water, eating fruits is an excellent way to create a healthy meal. Anyway, it’s also better to eat fruits instead of drinking them. The problem with fruit juices is that they have all these fruits compressed, which can be too rich in sugar, significantly when some companies add some.
4 – Put some greens to create a healthy meal
Afterwards, what always accompanies fruits? Veggies, of course. Indeed, try to eat green as much as possible. We cannot emphasize this fact enough!!
You can increase your protein, omega-3, and vitamin D with, for instance, eggs for breakfast. Avoiding sweet food as much as possible when making a healthy meal is essential.
Moreover, when cooking, try to avoid fries and replace them with baked or sweet potatoes, which are better for your health. And when we’re talking about potatoes again, if you’re hungry, avoid crisps as much as possible and replace them with healthy snacks like nuts or popcorn, which are surprisingly healthy foods.
5 – Take your time to eat your healthy meal
Finally, slow down when you eat! It has been proven that people who eat too fast or vote more than average are more likely to become obese (see the study in our sources at the end of the article).
So, if you consider all these elements to create healthy meals, you’ll quickly see the positive effects on your health and shape.
Now find some healthy recipes you can enjoy whenever you want without worrying. So then, cook a bit and be healthy!
Some healthy meal ideas:
- Your own Buddha Bowl (vegan):
Mix healthy nutrients like avocados, brown rice, broccoli, spinach, cucumbers, courgettes, tomatoes, carrots, radishes, or sweet potatoes. You can also use soy sauce if you like it, to put some taste into your Buddha Bowl.
- Mushroom and onions omelettes:
Make your omelette with approximately 3 eggs, and add mushrooms, onions, ginger, and parsley. Spiced to your taste.
- Grilled chicken with lentils salad:
Mix your grilled chicken (without the skin because it contains fats) with lentils and green beans. If you like mustard, you can enjoy yourself with it.
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.