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“Prevention is better than cure” – we all know this statement, which is hard to disagree with. Many diseases and health problems can be avoided by leading a healthy lifestyle. Its most important elements are proper nutrition and physical activity. This article aims to present the basic principles of healthy eating and explain why they are the way they are, and how they affect our body. So what is healthy eating ? We invite you to read.

The basis is regular meals

The first change you should make to take care of your healthy eating is the regularity and number of meals. A problem that affects many people is eating one or two large meals a day (for example, breakfast and dinner/lunch) with many snacks in between. By eating in this way, we guarantee ourselves hunger pangs between these large meals. What’s more, both with meals and snacks, we do not pay attention to what they consist of, because we are driven by strong hunger. Junk food, overeating, sweets and sugary drinks… Many bad dietary habits, which will be discussed later, are the result of irregular meals. So how should you eat? Four to five meals a day, approximately three hours apart, are recommended. This way the blood sugar (glucose) level is never too high or too low. Don’t eat right before bedtime – give your digestive system some time to take care of dinner before it goes into a nightly state of reduced activity along with your entire metabolism. Two hours should be enough. Do not wait too long with breakfast, try to eat it within an hour of waking up. Of course, in the case of more meals, the portions will be much smaller, but this should not be a problem. On the contrary: if you eat regularly, you won’t get hungry as much as if you eat 3 or even 2 meals a day. This is the first step to preventing obesity, diabetes or excess cholesterol.

Always eat vegetables and fruits

The basis of the food pyramid is (often underestimated in the prevention of diet-related diseases) physical activity. On the floor above there are vegetables and fruits. This means that they should actually be present in each of the five meals mentioned above. In what quantities? The Institute of Food and Nutrition recommends a minimum of 400 grams a day, of which 3/4 (or 300 grams) should be vegetables, and the remaining part (100 grams) – fruit. Both groups are rich in vitamins and minerals, as well as other nutrients: antioxidants , selenium, folic acid, flavonoids and, above all, dietary fiber. So why shouldn’t we eat too much fruit? Because they are also a source of simple carbohydrates, which in too much can lead to high blood sugar and weight gain. However, it is worth making them a healthy snack. Diabetics and obese people should be especially careful with the fruit. On the other hand, we can eat vegetables without limits, and the more, the better. The fiber contained in them regulates the work of the digestive system, gives a feeling of satiety and binds water in the intestines. These effects of the presence of fiber in the diet are especially appreciated by slimming people. In addition, they are a rich source of the above-mentioned nutrients and vitamins. Vegetables are tasty in any form, although they are best eaten raw or steamed. Then they retain the most nutritional value. They can also be boiled or baked. It is worth making vegetables a healthy snack. And here, for example, instead of classic chips, they tried, for example, kale chips. Well-prepared vegetable snacks can be really valuable and tasty.

Choose whole grain cereal products

Helpful in determining how to start eating healthy is the food pyramid mentioned in the previous point. On its next level, after fruits and vegetables, there are cereal products. This means they should be present in most, not all, of your meals. Why should a healthy diet be based on whole grains? Among other things, because they contain much more fiber. Insoluble fiber forces you to chew food longer, which in turn stimulates the secretion of saliva (thanks to which it is better digested) and makes you feel full faster. It also stimulates the intestines to work more intensively, which prevents constipation. In addition, a diet rich in fiber reduces the risk of colorectal cancer. Products such as wholemeal bread and pasta, buckwheat, barley and wholegrain brown rice have a low glycemic index. Thanks to this, they do not cause a sudden jump in blood sugar, but the carbohydrates contained in them are released gradually. As you can see, the nutrition principles we’ve quoted here repeatedly highlight the problem of blood sugar levels. Too much energy supply is the cause of many civilization diseases such as obesity, diabetes or problems with the circulatory system – therefore, every day you should pay special attention to how many calories and in what form you provide your body.

Drink milk and eat dairy products

Milk and its derivatives are an important element of a healthy diet. Why? First of all, they contain calcium, well known to all mothers and children. How many times have we all heard that drinking milk will strengthen our bones? In fact, rennet milk and cheese are the best source of well-absorbed calcium for our bones. However, the emphasis should be on milk, because cheese is a high-fat product. When limiting fat intake, it is also better to replace heavy cream with natural yoghurt. Dairy products can also be a source of probiotic bacteria for our body – bacterial flora that will support the digestive system and intestinal function.

Limit the amount of meat in your diet and choose substitutes

The diet of many of us today consists of too much meat – this is the result of its easy availability. In the past, apart from the homes of the rich, meat was eaten in moderation, and in the kitchens of the poorest people it found its place on the table only on holidays. Contrary to appearances, such a “shortage” of meat does not have to be bad for health. On the contrary, a reduced consumption of meat along with an increased consumption of meat substitutes is a good recipe for those who are wondering how to eat healthily. How much meat per week can be considered healthy food? Here, once again, the Institute of Food and Nutrition comes to the rescue, encouraging that it should be only 500 grams a week. In addition, lean meat (poultry, rabbit) and occasionally pork and beef are recommended. The reason for such drastic restrictions for some are saturated fatty acids of animal origin contained in meat. We now know that high consumption of red meat increases the risk of certain cancers. We also know that unsaturated vegetable fatty acids are much more beneficial for our body. Meat contains large amounts of protein, an essential source of energy, and amino acids, the main building blocks of our tissues. It is a complete protein – this means that it contains all the essential amino acids, i.e. those that our body is unable to produce on its own. Therefore, when reducing the meat content in your diet, you must act wisely and choose good substitutes. Chicken eggs come first. They are considered to be an exemplary source of amino acids needed by humans. In addition, they are a source of B vitamins, vitamins A, D, E and K and a wide range of minerals. You just need to be aware that it is a caloric product, so do not overdo it with its consumption. Considering the nutritional value of eggs, it seems safe to eat 1 egg a day. Another substitute for meat are plants, mainly legumes. Peas, soybeans, beans – these products also provide a large amount of proteins and amino acids. Due to the popularization of vegetarian and vegan diets, the range of products prepared on the basis of legumes has significantly increased. It is worth noting, however, that the mere fact that a product is intended for vegans/vegetarians does not mean that it is a healthy product. So let’s read the composition of all available products. Finally, the equally important fish. Especially marine species – they contain omega-3 unsaturated acids, which have a positive effect on our circulatory system. They should be included in the weekly menu, but taking care of their origin (fish from polluted seas can be a source of unwanted heavy metals) and not frying them, but baking or steaming them. In this way, they will retain all their nutritional values ​​that could be lost in the frying process.

Prepare and season your meals properly

As you could see in the previous point, the principles of proper nutrition are not only the right products, but also the way they are prepared. How to prepare dishes to keep as much nutritional value as possible and take care of health? Nutrition should be based on cooked foods. Of course, vegetables, if possible, should be eaten raw. On the other hand, dishes that require it are best cooked in water or steamed. Baking is next, without fat. Frying is a last resort – best avoided. During frying, many nutrients are irretrievably destroyed. In addition, it requires the use of fat. If you have to fry something – use the right fats, avoiding frying, e.g. in lard. Avoid too much salt in your food. It leads to cardiovascular diseases, heart attacks and strokes. Use salt in small amounts. Also, pay attention to how many of the products you use in the kitchen are already salted. Therefore, sometimes even if you do not salt anything, you can take a large portion of salt if it was previously present in the dish. For some, this advice may take away the desire to eat healthy. Does it mean that healthy food has to be bland? Nothing similar! All you need is spices and herbs. Many of them, apart from the fact that they effectively enhance the taste of dishes, are also rich in compounds beneficial for the body – they can have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant or antiseptic properties. A few spices that you can successfully use in your kitchen: basil, cinnamon, garlic, ginger, turmeric, mint, oregano, pepper, rosemary, sage and thyme.

Say no to fast food and junk food

The above principles of healthy eating should lead to a very important conclusion – there is no place for junk food and fast food in a healthy menu. So are instant products, soups and powdered dishes, ready to be reheated. All of them can be collectively referred to as highly processed food. In the course of this processing, most of the nutrients contained in the basic products that make up such dishes have been irreversibly degraded. In addition, the process of heating such dishes at home often deprives them of their nutritional value even more. However, these are real calorie bombs, thanks to which you can gain weight very quickly and get many lifestyle diseases. Animal fats, on which meat is fried, thick, heavy sauces, many products based on white flour, The same goes for sweets. It is best to remove them from your diet and replace them with a portion of fresh fruit. In this way, the body will get the sugar it needs. Nuts are also a good snack.

Drink plenty of water and unsweetened beverages

It is not without reason that it is said that the human body can withstand some time without food (which, of course, we do not recommend), while dehydration very quickly leads to serious disorders in its functioning. To prevent this, drink at least 2 liters of water every day. In addition, the water that the meals contain also counts. You can also drink unsweetened tea and coffee ( in moderation). We also recommend herbal infusions and vegetable juices. It is worth remembering that in the case of taking medications, the consumption of herbs should be consulted with a doctor. Many herbs interact with various medications. Fruit juices can also be consumed, but due to the sugar content, you cannot drink too much of them, as we mentioned in the section on vegetables and fruits. However, healthy eating strongly interferes with drinking highly sweetened drinks and alcohol. Both types of fluids are calorie bombs. In addition, alcohol has a dehydrating effect and when consumed in excess, it leads to many serious diseases and addiction. If you want to know how much water you should take during the day, you can use the Nutrion-Me water calculator available on our website. There, by entering your weight, you will find out how many milliliters of water to drink – including the water contained in meals.

Take care of the variety and freshness of meals

The principles of healthy eating are not only the result of the thoughts of modern, professional nutritionists. The above advice, the last in our article, was present in pre-war guides. Already then people knew how to eat healthy – no matter if it was intuition or practical wisdom passed down from generation to generation. Good and healthy cuisine means fresh meals every day. Prepare exactly the portions that you and your household will eat. Reheated food loses much of its original nutritional value, not to mention taste. A common mistake made in households is also treating some family members as “leftovers utilisers”, who eat, for example, what children leave behind. They do it even when they are full – because it’s a shame to waste food. This is of course true, but this way of managing leftovers is certainly not good for their health. To avoid this situation, when preparing meals each day, practice the correct assessment of appetite and try to adjust the portion size to the hunger and capabilities of each household member. Healthy eating is also about variety. The more products in our diet, the greater the range of nutrients and vitamins will go to our body. Eat colorfully – combine vegetables of different colors on your plate, because they differ in the vitamins and minerals they contain. A varied diet is also more fun and encourages healthy eating. You can discover new flavors every day.

Or maybe someone will take care of it all for you?

If you would like to introduce the principles of healthy eating presented by us to your menu, but you do not have the desire or the ability to devote so much time to planning, shopping and cooking during the day, you can take advantage of the Nutrion-Me dietary catering offer . Everything we wrote about here can be taken care of by our nutritionists and cooks. You will receive ready (but not fast food), tasty and healthy meals. This is a great offer for busy people who want to eat healthy. Browse through the menu of our box diets and see for yourself how convenient it is!