Maintaining a normal weight and making sure you are active or do some sort of physical activity on a daily basis is the ideal way to live and it should become a way of life for all of us! It’s alright if every now and then you have a sweet or some food that is a little fattier (meaning saturated fats and trans fats). It’s normal to get a craving for these things but it is best if it is always done in moderation so that you don’t reach the point where you are constantly gaining weight.
Following you can find a 12 steps guide to better health and better living, that is based on the rules of the World Health Organization (WHO). If you make these steps a habit, you will see many changes in your daily lives and health.
1. Follow the rule of 5:2 vegetables and fruit. Add at least 5 vegetables and 2 fruits to your diet daily. This ratio will help you get all of the vitamins, minerals and fiber your body needs to work properly on a daily basis.
2. Choose whole wheat products… They are able to make you feel full for longer and they contain more fiber than the usual white flour products. Fiber helps your digestive system and your bowel function.
3. Drink enough water! Water is an essential part of our diet since our bodies need to hydrate properly throughout the day. If you are a woman, make sure you drink at least 2L (8 glasses) of water daily. If you are a man, 2.5L (10 glasses). This of course can vary according to how much you exercise as well as the temperature in the environment.
4. Eat small meals, often! Make sure you eat small meals every two to three hours and don’t let your body go hungry!
5. Avoid processed foods. Learn how to cook and make foods from scratch! This means that you will know exactly what each food contains, how it has been cooked and this also allows you to add the right amount of food to your plate when serving. Avoid buying ready-made meals or ordering out often!
6. Eat breakfast! The meal that seems to have positive effects on the body, helps lower obesity and also maintain a balanced weight is… breakfast. This is why you should never skip breakfast since it will fill you up with the energy you need to start your day!
7. Learn to chew your food many times and to eat slowly! Eating your food slowly helps with the digestive process… since it will also give you the time needed to stop eating from the time you feel full.
8. Add exercise to your daily routine. The World Health Organization advises that an adult should work out for at least half an hour at a moderate or intense pace, at least 5 times a week. Make sure you do some form of activity – intense walking, swimming, dancing, bike riding or elliptical trainer – for at least 30 minutes.
9. Reduce your sugar consumption. Eating some sweets some days out of the week is not what will automatically cause serious health problems. Overconsumption of sugar and sweets can have negative effects. An adult who consumes 2000 kcal daily, should not exceed 50 g (12 teaspoons of sugar) a day in order to prevent from any health problems.
10. Limit your salt intake. Make sure you don’t exceed 5 g daily. This way you can prevent any health problems that are connected with the heart or with blood pressure.
11. Get 7 to 8 hours of sleep daily. Sleep is a part of a healthy way of living. Sleeping a sufficient amount of hours allows our body the time it needs to rest correctly and “charge” its batteries. It is essential for your body to work at its best!
12. Reduce stress… a healthy, balanced psychological condition is essential! Try to do things that make you feel good and try to have fun with the people that are around you. This is also an important part of your overall health and well-being that will help you face anything that might come up in your daily life... in the best way possible.
This article was written in collaboration with Kitchen Lab’s Nutritionist Anna Maria Volanaki, MSc, BDA, SENr.