Eating Happily

Eating Happily

 

Can Eating Happily Mean Eating Healthily?

For many of us, days when eating meant only satisfying the hunger* or getting “fuel” necessary to live and do daily activities are over. These days, food is more about pleasure than a necessity, while cooking is often more about passion than a chore. We want to enjoy beautiful looking and delicious meal in great company and beautiful surroundings.

But can we achieve “food happiness” without any consequences? Can we enjoy delicious foods without worrying about our healthy weight, heart diseases and other illnesses caused by food? Luckily the answer is positive: yes, we can. However, we have to make some healthy choices.

 

What is a Healthy Diet about?

Right at the beginning of the article on the subject, Wikipedia says that “a healthy diet is a diet that helps maintain or improve overall health; it provides the body with essential nutrition: fluid, macronutrients, micronutrients, and adequate food energy”.

That’s the definition, but then many different recommendations from various official bodies come. And I guess this is how it is with us: a healthy diet probably means something slightly different to each person. Some people will say it is about reducing salt or saturated fat intake; others will eat more fresh fruit and vegetable. Somebody else may suggest replacing animal-based with plant-based protein. So who is right? Possibly all of these answers are correct because there is not just one way of eating healthy. But to make sure we are on a path of eating healthy food, instead of concentrating on one aspect of our diet, we should take a step back and look at it as a whole. And the following key characteristics can help us to determine if our way of eating can be called “a healthy diet”:

  • Adequacy – every day, we should eat sufficient amounts of nutritious food from each nutrient group: carbohydrates, protein, fats, vitamins and minerals. That means that we shouldn’t avoid food from any of the groups, including, e.g. the dreaded carbohydrates. Instead, we should make smart food choices, and for instance, replace white bread with whole-grain bread or regular pasta with wholewheat pasta.
  • Balance – daily, we should eat food that represents each of the food groups: proteins, grains, pulses, dairy, vegetables and fruit. Here, making healthy choices and reading food labels is also very important. Cereal for breakfast is an excellent idea but choose a healthy breakfast mix {or even better, make yourself!} rather than sugary breakfast cereals.
  • Variety – it is better to consume a range of foods in small portions than few types of foods in massive quantities. Like in all other aspects of our life, balance is crucial, and a balanced diet is no different here.
  • Correct amounts of calories and nutrients that are based on our age, sex and activity level. At this point, it is just impossible not to mention the importance of physical activity. It helps us stay fit and accelerates calory burning, which reduces the risk of obesity. And in truth, we are not talking about spending long hours every day in the gym. As per the physical activity guidelines – adults should do a minimum of 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity.

 

The Importance of Healthy Eating Pattern 

Following the above general guidelines will help us ensure our diet will provide us with adequate nutrients. In turn, they will promote our health and, if not prevent, then at least reduce the risk of heart disease or any other illness.

And what about “bad” food that is often connected with eating happily? Our favorite comfort food or sugary foods that bring smiles to our faces and at the same time make us feel a bit guilty? Having an occasional exception from eating healthy food, in general, is not a problem. Obviously, as long as this is an exception and not the rule. Because there are no “bad” foods, there are only bad diets. 

 

Live Healthily

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