This two-part article from Robyn Chuter elaborates on her top tips for healthy eating. It will help you fully grasp the profound impact implementing these tips can have on your wellbeing.

Tip #1 – Make fruit and vegetables the central focus of every meal you eat!

The ‘five a day’ programs adopted by many around the world, to promote the consumption of five serves of fruit and vegetables per day, is so passé!

The Australian Government now recommends adults eat at least two serves of fruit and five of vegetables each day, while the US departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services recommend nine servings per day for an ‘average’ person on a 2000 calorie per day diet.

My meals are appealing to my senses – vibrantly colourful, with a satisfying variety of textures and flavours. This helps me feel satiated after every meal, so I’m not constantly ‘grazing’.

Tip #2 – Choose whole and minimally processed foods over refined, fractionated foods.

Eat whole natural food, not components of food reassembled into food-like substances!

Whole brown rice is nutritionally superior to pasta or crackers made from brown rice flour. And traditional soy foods, such as tofu and tempeh, are far more health promoting than soy cheese or fake meat made from isolated soy protein.

Whenever we process a food by separating out its components, grinding it up, altering its structure or any of the myriad other forms of processing and refining – we change the nutritional composition of the food and the way it behaves in our bodies.

Tip #3 – Eat as many green, leafy vegetables as you can possible fit in!

Greens are the cornerstone of a healthy diet. High in protein, minerals, vitamins and antioxidants, low in carbohydrate and glycaemic load, greens are the secret of great muscular strength. Just ask our nearest relatives – the gorillas.

Eating green leafy vegetables raw – or very lightly cooked increases their nutrient value.

Delicious ways to boost your intake of these superfoods include:

  • blending them into a green smoothie
  • adding them finely shredded to soups and stews – just before serving so they’re not overcooked.
  • adding several bunches of nutritious Asian green vegetables such as bok choy and choy sum into your stir-fries – again this should be just before you serve so they’re still rich in goodness.

Tip #4 – Eat a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains.

Challenge yourself to try a new food every week. Eating a limited diet isn’t just boring, it reduces your chances of meeting your body’s nutrient needs. There are over 40 000 phytochemicals (compounds produced by plants) that fight disease and boost our health and wellbeing – eating a limited range of food deprives our bodies of this nutrient symphony.

You don’t have to eat every single fruit, vegetable, nut, seed, legume and grain every single day! Many nutrients can be stored within your body, so if you take in an abundance of a particular nutrient on one day, the excess will be kept for a later time when you’re eating little or none of it. All you need to do is vary the kinds of plant foods you eat from day to day. This makes meals far more exciting as well as ensuring your nutrient needs are met.

Tip #5 – Favour legumes over grains

Legumes are much more nutrient-dense than grains and they’re higher in resistant starch which helps you feel fuller for longer. Legumes also improve your bowel health and have a much lower glycaemic index than grains.

One of the biggest mistakes I see people make when they begin moving toward a plant-based diet, is to fill their plates with refined grain products, such as pasta, rice noodles, corn cakes and bread. These foods are lower in friendly bacteria-feeding resistant starch and depleted of much of their fibre.

In contrast to grains, legumes are abundant in resistant starch and fibre, which strongly promote weight loss and protect against other diseases. I advise eating at least a cup of cooked legumes per day – some at lunch, and some at dinner.

Legumes are plants that have pods with their seeds inside such as beans peas and peanuts.

Article from Hopewood contributor Robyn Chuter.

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