The truth is, changing our habits to lead a healthier lifestyle is easier said than done. But what we need to realise is the importance of doing so. Choose to view things form a long-term perspective as you will thank yourself later for making healthy decisions for your body now.
SalamToday interviewed a consultant dietician from Malaysia, Indra Balaratnam who shared with us her 5 tips to maintain a healthy diet.
PREPARE IN ADVANCE
The phrase ‘if you fail to plan, then you plan to fail’, pretty much says it all. When leading a healthy lifestyle, it’s all making smart choices and planning. Prepping your meals in advance, say, for the whole week not only saves you from paying for expensive healthy meals outside, but you get to control what goes on your plate. Furthermore, having ready-stocked meals in the fridge will prevent you from opting for something unhealthy, like instant noodles.
“Learn to prepare something. At the end of the day, when you do the act of cooking your meal, you understand nutrition and you know your ingredients,” said Indra.
Consuming healthy ingredients doesn’t give you a free pass to overindulge. As important as it is to eat healthy food, the portion is equally vital. But you need to know your body type and weight in order to determine how much you can eat for the day. According to Harvard Medical School, a healthy plate consists of a quarter plate of whole grains, a quarter plate of healthy protein, plenty of veggies and a small portion of fruit.
“It’s all about portion. Even if you eat healthy food but if you overeat it, it’s too much calories that you consume and you don’t burn off those calories, you’re still going to gain, so portion is important,” she added.
INCLUDE A VARIETY OF INGREDIENTS
Incorporating a bevy of nutritious ingredients is of course important. A well-balanced diet means eating a variety of food from each food groups.
“When your variety becomes smaller and if you always eat the same type of food then that can become a problem too because you’re not getting the full spectrum of nutrients,” she said.
Different food items promotes various benefits and aids to reduce the risk against chronic disease. Among the five food groups such as vegetables, fruits, protein, grain, and dairy, you can experiment to make your meals interesting.
Of course, exercise should plays an integral part in leading a healthy lifestyle. Exercising regularly is one of the best things you can do for your health. Not only does it boost your energy levels, it regulates stress and anxiety. You need to exercise to compliment your habit in maintaining a balanced diet.
“You can’t just keep watching your diet all the time, you also need to move. The body is made for movement, so you have to stay active at all times,” said Indra.
Squeezing in a workout session can be hard especially for those who are always on the go and busy with work. But there’s no way to go about it, you must make time. As important as it is for you to attend that meeting, it’s equally important to pencil in a 30-minute workout.
Video: Abdul Rahim Rahman