Best food choices

IMPORTANT FOOD GROUPS

THE POWER OF PROTEIN:

Protein is the main component of muscles, organs and glands. Protein needs to be consumed regularly in the diet as it supplies the body with many of the amino acids (building blocks) that are crucial to ongoing good health. Whether you are a vegetarian or a non-vegetarian, there are many foods that contain good sources of protein along with vitamins and minerals.
The ideal recommendations

Red Meat


  • 2 days per week

Chicken


  • 2 days per week

Fish


  • 2 days per week

Legumes also fall under the protein group, even though they are partly made up of carbohydrates.

Examples of legumes are peas, lentils, kidney beans, butter beans, sugar beans and chickpeas. Legumes also contain essential fibre, vitamins and minerals.

Pure proteins (e.g. chicken, fish, eggs and red meat) have no GI value and therefore when eaten on their own have very little effect on blood sugar levels. In fact, pure protein may lower the total GI value of a meal.


THE FATS OF LIFE:

Fats are remarkable nutrients. Even though consuming too much fat in your diet is often the cause of excess weight and obesity, it is important to know that a deficiency of certain fats can affect mental “happiness” and physical well-being.

There should be a balance of mono-unsaturated fats and poly-unsaturated fats in a healthy eating plan. Mono-unsaturated fats are found in olives, olive oil, avocados and nuts. Poly-unsaturated oils are found in oily fish, sunflower oils and walnuts.


FRUIT AND VEGETABLES:

Fruit and vegetables are a crucial part of a healthy diet. They supply us with a wide variety of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that contain essential health boosting properties.


ESSENTIAL FATTY ACIDS – THE “GOOD” FATS:

Essential fatty acids are necessary fats which the body cannot produce. Foods that are rich in omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids help to support mental vitality, cardiovascular health and the functioning of the nervous system. These fats also help to maintain good cholesterol levels and improve immune function. Omega 3 fatty acids are found in rich quantities in oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring, tuna, and also in linseeds (flaxseeds). Omega 6 fatty acids are found in foods such as sunflower oil, sunflower margarine and evening primrose oil. Generally we get a sufficient amount of omega 6 fatty acids in our daily food intake, but we need to make more of an effort to eat foods that contain omega 3 fatty acids. Eating a variety of fish three times a week will supply your body with protein and sufficient amounts of omega 3 essential fatty acids.
don’t go hungry
The aim of this section is to enrich and empower you to make smart food choices while ditching old habits and learning new healthy lifestyle habits. There will always be moments when you have to choose between what’s right and what’s easy. To lose excess fat you will have to make a decision to make smart choices most of the time. There is no use in mentally beating yourself up whenever you give into temptation. You can use some of the following guidelines to prevent these temptations from steering you off your journey.
Your body needs food every few hours. To keep your metabolism working efficiently, eat small, regular meals and snacks. An erratic food intake will leave you feeling tired and irritable. Plan three main meals and then add some snacks in between. There is no rule that prevents you from healthy snacking, in fact, you will be surprised how this stops cravings dead in their tracks.

If you are unsure about which foods you can snack on – foods that are low in guilt and high in nutrients – here is a list to help you out.

Whenever you are hungry, fill up on the following fresh vegetables:
Carrots, (chopped, sliced or whole), lettuce, mixed peppers – green, red, yellow or orange; cucumbers, tomatoes, gherkins, celery, cauliflower, asparagus, broccoli, mushrooms, onions, spring onions or courgettes.

It may surprise you to see carrots on this list as they have an intermediate GI. However, dieticians largely agree that you would have to eat large quantities of carrots for them to have an effect on blood sugar levels.

  • Foods that keep you full
  • Foods that stabilise your blood sugar
  • Eat a varied diet
  • Avoid energy slumps