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A Guide to Healthy Eating Habits

National Nutrition Month is celebrated in March in the United States. However, healthy eating habits are essential worldwide, and Kallima supported the cause by sharing valuable information and resources throughout March to promote healthy eating and nutrition education in South Africa.

Here are the important points we shared:

Healthy snacking, happy living: Snacking is an important part of a healthy diet as it helps keep your energy levels up throughout the day. However, it's important to choose healthy snacks that are nutrient-dense and low in calories, saturated fats, and added sugars. Examples of healthy snacks include fresh fruits, raw vegetables with hummus, nuts, and seeds. These snacks provide vitamins, minerals, fiber, and healthy fats that help keep you feeling full and satisfied.

Balance is key: A balanced diet is essential for maintaining good health and preventing chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer. A balanced diet includes a variety of nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Each food group provides a unique set of nutrients that your body needs to function properly. By consuming a variety of foods from each food group, you can ensure that your body gets all the nutrients it needs.

Try new recipes, one dish at a time: Trying new recipes can be a fun way to add variety to your diet and discover new foods that you enjoy. Experiment with different spices, herbs, and ingredients to create new flavor combinations that are both delicious and healthy. If you're new to cooking, start with simple recipes that require just a few ingredients and gradually work your way up to more complex dishes.

Drink water, feel good: Drinking enough water is essential for maintaining good health. It helps regulate body temperature, lubricate joints, and support organ function. Aim to drink at least 8-10 glasses of water per day, and more if you're physically active or live in a hot climate. To make it more interesting, you can infuse your water with fruits or herbs for added flavor and nutrients.

Fuel your body with knowledge: Understanding food labels is crucial for making informed decisions about what to eat. Reading food labels can help you identify hidden sources of added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium. Look for foods that are low in these nutrients and high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Additionally, research new ingredients and take the time to learn about the nutritional value of the foods you consume. This knowledge will help you make healthier choices and feel better about what you're putting into your body.

Get Cooking and Creative in the Kitchen! Cooking at home has numerous benefits, including better control over the ingredients you use and the portions you eat. It's also a great way to spend time with loved ones and explore new flavors and cuisines. Try incorporating more herbs, spices, and vegetables into your meals for added nutrition and flavor.

Support your Immune System: A healthy diet can help boost your immune system and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats contain vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that support immune function. Consuming these foods regularly can help reduce inflammation, improve gut health, and protect against infections.

Healthy Eating is Affordable: Eating healthy doesn't have to be expensive. Shopping at local farmers' markets is an excellent way to get fresh, locally grown produce at a reasonable price. Making a grocery list, stocking up on plain frozen vegetables, growing your own herbs, and cooking meals in bulk are other ways to shop and live smart.

Trying new fruits and vegetables: Trying new fruits and vegetables can introduce you to a range of beneficial nutrients you may not have been getting before.

Start a garden. Growing your own fresh produce is not only a rewarding hobby, but it can also save you money and improve your health. No yard? No problem! Container gardening is perfect for those with limited space. Give it a try and enjoy the fruits (and veggies) of your labour.

Boost your Energy, Naturally. Do you often reach for an energy drink when you're feeling fatigued? While it may provide a quick fix, the long-term effects of regular energy drink consumption can be detrimental to your health (dehydration, heart complications, anxiety, and other negative effects).

Instead, try these six simple strategies to naturally increase your energy levels without the negative side effects:

  1. Get more sleep

  2. Move more (adding physical activity to your routine could fight fatigue and increase energy levels)

  3. Limit alcohol

  4. Eat a nutritious diet (whole, nutritious foods provide essential vitamins and minerals for optimal functioning)

  5. Limit added sugar

  6. Stay hydrated

Say goodbye to fatigue and hello to feeling your best!

Finally, adding "Meatless Mondays" to your weekly meal plan can make a positive impact on your health. With so many tasty vegan and vegetarian recipes available online, you'll never run out of ideas for your meatless meals. By replacing meat with plant-based proteins like beans, lentils, tofu, and tempeh, you can reduce your intake of saturated fat and increase your fiber and nutrient intake.

Let's continue to prioritise healthy eating habits and nutrition education not just during National Nutrition Month, but all year round. By making small changes in our diets and lifestyles, we can improve our overall health and well-being. Remember, healthy eating is not just about what you eat, but also how you approach food.

We hope you found this article useful and may it bring you and your family an abundance of nutritional health!

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