There are lots of foods I’m sure we all wish we could eat all day every day, but aren’t the healthiest of choices.
Life is all about balance. However, in a world full of deceptively unhealthy food, it’s important to be mindful of what we are putting into our bodies to ensure that we’re making healthy choices.
In this article, I cover 3 foods to eat daily and 3 to avoid, so you have a better idea of how to eat mindfully while still allowing yourself treats every now and then!
Keep reading to find out more.
3 foods to eat daily
If you’re a regular gym-goer, then you will already know how important protein is to incorporate into your daily diet.
As the building block of your muscles, protein is fundamental for muscle growth. Eating adequate amounts of protein helps you maintain your muscle mass and promotes muscle growth when you pair it with strength training. Additionally, protein is great to eat if you’re trying to lose weight as it keeps you fuller for longer.
Good sources of protein include:
- Chicken, other poultry, and eggs.
- Fish and seafood – Fish, prawns, mussels, lobster.
- Dairy products – Milk, greek yogurt, cheese.
- Nuts – Almonds, walnuts, pine nuts, hazelnuts, cashews
- Legumes and beans – All beans, chickpeas, lentils, tofu
While berries can feel indulgent as they’re so tasty, they are among the healthiest foods you can eat. Aside from being delicious, berries are packed full of antioxidants, and blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries have the highest antioxidant activity of commonly consumed fruits. Several of these antioxidants including anthocyanins, ellagic acid, and resveratrol, may reduce cancer risk.
Additionally, berries are a good source of fiber, including soluble fiber. Soluble fiber is known to slow down the movement of food through your digestive tract, leading to reduced hunger and increased feelings of fullness.
Alongside this, berries have strong anti-inflammatory properties and are good for heart health.
This might sound like a boring answer, but vegetables are dense in nutrients, are packed full of fiber, and are rich in vitamins and minerals without being too high in carbohydrates.
Non-starchy vegetables are great because they fill you up with minimal impact on your blood sugar. While starchy vegetables such as potatoes are absolutely delicious and can be a good source of carbohydrates, they are incredibly easy to over-consume on a regular basis.
Common non-starchy vegetables include but are not limited to:
- Baby corn.
- Brussels sprouts.
- Sugar snap peas.
3 foods to avoid
When you live a busy lifestyle, it can be easy to heavily rely on snacks to get you through the day. That being said, there’s a reason why the dentist is always telling you to only eat healthy snacks on a daily basis. 80% of packaged or processed food contains added sugar.
A few common foods that contain sugar include but are not limited to:
- Condiments. Dipping sauces such as ketchup, honey mustard, and bbq sauce all have added sugar.
- Cereal. While some people might consider cereal a healthy breakfast option, unless it’s homemade, it is often packed with added sugar.
- Sweetened yogurts.
- Snack bars.
You don’t want to be snacking on processed foods on a daily basis. Instead, pack fresh fruit or rely on homemade alternatives. Alternatively, you can try making your own granola bars at home.
Although fried foods are rich and delicious, they’re one of the unhealthiest foods you can consume on a regular basis.
Fried foods are significantly higher in fat and calories than non-fried foods. Take the humble potato, for example. You can significantly affect the nutritional content of a single potato just by changing the cooking method. One small baked potato (100 grams) contains 93 calories and 0 grams of fat. On the other hand, the same amount (100 grams) of french fries contain 319 calories and 17 grams of fat.
Calories add up incredibly quickly when it comes to eating fried food. Additionally, eating fried foods regularly can put you at a higher risk of developing diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.
As a result, it’s best to avoid eating fried food on a daily basis and stick to non-fried foods to ensure you are maintaining a healthy, balanced diet.
Red and processed meat
While red meat is a rich source of protein, it shouldn’t be consumed on a daily basis. Regular consumption of red meat has been linked with increased incidences of heart disease, colorectal cancer, and type 2 diabetes.
In addition, the conversion of land for beef production is a leading cause of deforestation in many tropical regions. Additionally, cattle ranching has been linked to an increase in fires and land clearing in the Amazon. Alongside this, deforestation accounts for 8% of total greenhouse gas emissions. This is why many people either cut red meat out of their diet entirely or treat eating red meat as a special occasion.
Additionally, processed meat has consistently been linked with harmful effects on health. Processed meat contains harmful chemical compounds that may increase the risk of chronic disease.
Eating a lot of processed meat products on a daily basis for a long period (years) may increase the risk of chronic disease, especially cancer.
Common examples of processed meat include but are not limited to:
- Corned beef
Life is about moderation, but on a daily basis, you should be mindful of your diet and what you’re putting into your body.
While it’s good to have treats every now and then, you should always check the nutritional content of your meals. If it’s processed, it likely has added sugars and other ingredients that aren’t nutritional to eat on a regular basis.
Eating whole foods, such as fruits and vegetables on a daily basis is the best way to live a healthy, balanced lifestyle. After all, you are what you eat.