Following the basics of healthy eating can prevent the risk of premature stroke and heart diseases by approximately 80% (1). But what does healthy eating really mean? Does it mean restricting your food choices or just having healthy food? Healthy eating goes beyond eating just healthy food. It is about knowing the food you are eating, spending time planning and preparing the meals; and ultimately building a relationship with the food (2).
Healthy eating is a practice that can be made possible by creating a journey of building a positive relationship with food which requires a lot of efforts, patience and consciousness (2,3). Here are few tips that can help you start the journey and guide you through the way.
Planning your meal in advance and being aware of what, when and where to eat gives you control over your eating habits (1).
Cooking your own food can give you chance to select recipes with lots of vegetables/fruits and to choose ingredients that are minimally processed over highly processed items (1).
Include variety to your plate by welcoming foods from gains, proteins, vegetables/fruits and dairy groups to ensure required amount of energy intake from all food groups (1).
Know the foods and avoid myths about foods. One myth is that all carbohydrates are bad (4). Studies actually suggest that intake of whole grains can decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease (5). Another myth might be that you should avoid all fats (4). In reality, foods high in monounsaturated fats such as nuts, avocado, and olive oil can be beneficial in lowering 'bad' cholesterol and reducing risk for heart disease (6).
Making healthy eating into a habit is a time consuming process, but can be achieved day by day through enjoying foods, getting more involved in food preparation and having a non-judgemental point of view towards foods (2,3).
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. (2020). Healthy eating basic. Retrieved February 17, 2021, from https://www.heartandstroke.ca/healthy-living/healthy-eating/healthy-eating-basics
HwalthLinkBC. (2013). About healthy eating. Retrieved February 17, 2021, from https://www.healthlinkbc.ca/healthy-eating/professionals/healthy-eating-meaning
Davidson, K. (2020, December 03). How can I improve my relationship with food? Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/fixing-a-bad-relationship-with-food
Gelman, L. (2020, January 15). Healthy Eating: 21 food myths you still think are true. The Healthy. https://www.thehealthy.com/food/common-food-myths/
Aune, D., Keum, N., Giovannucci, E., Fadnes, L., Boffetta, P., Greenwood, D., Tonstad, S., Vatten, L., Riboli, E., & Norat, T. (2016). Whole grain consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and all cause and cause specific mortality: systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies. BMJ, 353, i2716–i2716. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i2716
MedlinePlus. (2021, February 08). Facts about monounsaturated fats. Retrieved February 17, 2021, from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000785.htm