Your support can turn a life
With a little planning, you can easily make your diet healthy. While no diet is perfect for everyone, determine what works for you through these steps, recommends Ushakiran Sisodia, Chief Dietician, Nanavati Hospital, Mumbai.
- Learn the dietary guidelines.
- Write down a list of your favourite foods. If you like to eat junk food, include them.
- Write each day of the week on the top of seven separate pieces of paper and make a place for three meals and two snacks for each day.
- Plan each meal. Try to include a high-fibre source, at least one fruit or vegetable, and at least one lean protein source for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- Include one serving from your favourite food list each day. Limit the amount of servings from the less-healthy choices, but don't deprive yourself of foods you enjoy.
- Try to incorporate seafood or other sources of omega-3 fatty acids at least every third day.
- Include plenty of legumes. Beans are rich in fibre, high in protein, and low in dietary fat.
- Plug in additional fruits, vegetables and side salads for your snacks to ensure you have 3-5 vegetables and 2-4 fruit servings every day.
- For days you will eat out, determine what type of foods you will need to complete your daily requirements before you go. Find a meal that meets your needs, and if necessary, make substitutions.
- Got Calcium? If you don't eat dairy, make sure to incorporate plenty of kale, broccoli, and/or soy in your diet. If you do eat dairy, include 2-3 servings per day.
- Analyse your plan. Use the diet analysis resources on the internet or purchase an inexpensive nutritional software package. If needed, make adjustments to your plan.
- Limit sugar and alcohol intake. If you enjoy sugary foods, only eat them when they are included in your plan; don't graze on candy between meals. If you drink, do so in moderation.
- Drink water. Include plenty of fluids in every meal.
- Practice portion control. Learn what a cup of cooked vegetables or three ounces of meat looks like on your plate.
- Stick to your plan. Once you've fine-tuned a diet that meets the dietary guidelines and is within your caloric needs, stick with it. If you get off your plan, get back on track the next day.
- If you have a specific medical condition, consult a qualified nutritionist or physician.
- Keep a multi-vitamin around for those days when you can't eat well-balanced meals. Remember, they cannot replace natural foods.