Don't just eat right, eat smart in 2023

Representative image: Shutterstock/colnihko

Nutrition plays a big role in our lives, and yet maintaining a healthy lifestyle with a focus on nutritious foods can be a challenge. With New Year resolutions kicking in, one needs to focus on eating healthily and staying fit too. But where to start? How do you pick the healthy from the unhealthy? How much is too much? And so many such questions bombard our minds and bring us down. Well, not anymore.

Celebrity nutritionist and Founder QUA Nutrition, Ryan Fernando, joins hands with California Walnuts to share five tips to help up your nutrition game.

Welcome omega-3 into your diet

Omega-3 is an essential nutrient, but our body can't make it from scratch; hence, we must get it from foods. Omega-3 is a source of good fats, and the nutrient is associated with several potential and proven health benefits. For instance, it may play an essential role in reducing the risk of heart disease, may help support a healthy immune system (as part of a healthy diet), and help maintain brain health among other functions. Consuming walnuts is a great way to ensure a healthy supply of omega-3 into your body. They are the only tree nut that is significantly high in plant-based omega-3 ALA.

Protein makes you feel fuller

In addition to omega-3 fatty acids, you must ensure you're getting enough protein in your diet. A macronutrient that your body needs in large amounts to stay healthy, protein helps curb unnecessary cravings, build lean muscle, and maintain a healthy weight. This nutrient is also used by our body to build and repair tissues. Eggs, chicken, dairy products, and California walnuts are a few good sources of protein to incorporate into your daily diet.

Ripe walnuts. Photo: Shutterstock/ Tatiana Popova

Snack smart

If you plan to snack, how about choosing options that may not hinder your healthy lifestyle? Avoid snacks that are high in sugar, salt, and fat, and opt for fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole-grain snacks. Pairing black raisins with a handful of walnuts is a great way of also beating sugar cravings post meals.

Practice portion control

Don't just watch what you eat, but also watch how much you eat - and this isn't limited to weight-watchers. Whether you are bored, want to finish up leftovers, feel sad, or just have an elaborate spread in front of you - overeating can occur under any circumstances, and you must avoid it. If not, in the long run, it may lead to a variety of illnesses, including obesity and diabetes.

Portion control involves eating a healthy mix of foods in limited quantity, which helps you keep a tight check on how many calories you consume. Use a measuring cup, if needed. Ideally, half your plate should be vegetables, another half should be grains and lean protein.

Try the bowl method to easily shed weight
Representative image: iStock/vaaseenaa

Read that label!

The first step towards making smarter and safer dietary choices is to read the nutrition label on all the food and drinks that you buy. Aiming for a healthy diet isn't just about cutting calories or portion control; it also includes paying attention to the ingredients and their nutritional content. This practice also helps you identify if the food contains ingredients that you may be allergic to or intolerant to.

Lastly, don't overwhelm yourself with too many goals at a time. We all have to start somewhere, carefully select our goals and do our best to achieve them year after year.

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