World Food Day takes place every year on 16th October. It was established as a global phenomenon by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to help bring awareness to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. While it was intended to reduce world hunger, what you’ll discover is that the benefits of healthy food habits are wide reaching – you’re not the only person who will gain from them. Healthy food habits are more conscious of the environment, waste processing, and more. In addition to this, inculcating a healthy diet into your lifestyle works hand-in-hand with your health insurance. As per several reports, busy work days in conjunction with poor eating habits have led to a rise in diabetes and cardiovascular-related diseases. Therefore, good eating habits, coupled with a good health insurance policy such as the one available on Finserv MARKETS, will ensure you stay healthy, happy, and fine.
1. Keep yourself updated
Remember the food pyramid we all learned in school as children? Well, some nutritionists believe it may not be the most accurate way to guide healthy food habits. Instead, experts at Harvard’s School of Public Health suggest using a Healthy Eating Plate1 in conjunction with a Healthy Eating Pyramid2, which looks quite different to what we learned as kids.
Harvard School of Public Health, The Nutrition Source, Healthy Eating Plate
Harvard School of Public Health, The Nutrition Source, Healthy Eating Pyramid
2. Take your lifestyle into account
Healthy eating looks different for different people. If you’re sat at a desk for most of the day working on a computer, your meal should not be the same as someone who does manual labor all day. Therefore, try and take into account your needs and requirements from your meals before prepping them. If you’re performing more physical activity, you’ll need more carbs. If not, add more fruits and veggies.
3. Donate your leftovers
Cooking specifically the right amount for all the members in your family is no easy job. Our moms may have made it look simple, but there’s more to it than you would think. If you find yourself throwing out leftovers at the end of the week or even right after the meal, stop right there. Place the leftovers in a (preferably recyclable!) single-use container and donate it to someone who needs it. They’ll be thankful for a hot meal and you would have saved good food from going to waste.
4. Go meatless
If you made a loud gasp, don’t worry. We hear you. Going meatless can be a difficult – and even blasphemous – lifestyle change for many. However, studies have shown that a plant-based diet may be the way forward if you want to feel healthier. According to Mayo Clinic3, “A plant-based diet, which emphasizes fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, legumes and nuts, is rich in fiber, vitamins and other nutrients. And people who don’t eat meat — vegetarians — generally eat fewer calories and less fat, weigh less, and have a lower risk of heart disease than vegetarians do.” Plus, it’s better for the environment too.
5. Cut down on sugar
We know you love your sweet chais and festival sweets, but it may be time to cut down on sugary foods. A high sugar diet has lots of disadvantages, including weight gain, which Cancer Research UK4 suggests could lead to various forms of cancer. Although you can stay prepared for such diseases with a robust health insurance plan, it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
6. Don’t fall for fad diets
While it seems like everyone is on a new diet every season, from Paleo to Keto to intermittent fasting, fad diets aren’t a sustainable lifestyle in the long-run. No matter what drastic improvement you see, the benefits of healthy food habits can only be realized when you make active and feasible changes to your way of life. So, make incremental but meaningful revisions to your diet.
7. Eat smaller portions
If you’ve been told to eat from a smaller plate and thought, “Well, I would just get up and get myself another serving,” then you know why that solution doesn’t really work. Instead, serve yourself a smaller portion and take your time while eating. Should you still feel hungry, you can help yourself to a second serving. It takes about 20 minutes for us to actually feel “full” once we’ve eaten, so smaller portions and slow eating are key ways to maintain a healthy diet.
8. Fewer processed foods
As more and more processed food arrives on our supermarket shelves, it’s important to remember that you aren’t really in control of sodium, sugar, and calorie content when you buy processed foods. Therefore, make some easy switches in your pantry and fridge. Instead of purchasing a pack of chips, chop up a potato and bake it in the oven with spices of your choosing. This way not only are you reducing the amount of plastic waste you create, but you’re also more in control of your diet.
9. Reduce ordering in
We get it. After a long day, who really wants to labor over the stove for two hours in order to eat a hot meal when it’s just so much simpler to tap a few buttons on a screen? However, ordering in on the regular will only lead to negative implications for your health. Besides, it’s also hard on the wallet and the environment because of all that plastic packaging. Instead, try to meal prep on the weekend so it’s easier to have home cooked meals throughout the week.
10. Eat what makes you feel good
Listening to your body is a skill that we weren’t really taught as children. Does eating cheese make you feel a little sick afterwards? Or does a paratha laden with too much ghee nauseate you a little bit? Identify these little responses your body naturally has to the food you eat and monitor them. Over time, eat what makes you feel good throughout the day rather than eating out of obligation.
11. Practice the ‘5 A Day’ rule
Based on recommendations from the World Health Organization, the 5 A Day rule is a great way to make sure you’re getting all the nutrients you need. Simply consume five portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day. A portion is about 80 grams, so it’s easy to include your 5 A Day throughout all the meals you eat in a day.
12. Buy a good health insurance plan
To really make sure you experience all the benefits of healthy food habits, complement your lifestyle with a robust health insurance plan such as the one available on Finserv MARKETS. Whether you opt for an individual or family health plan, Finserv MARKETS offers an extensive network of healthcare providers, customization, swift claim settlements, and more.
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