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Eating right can be challenging. It’s sometimes hard to know what we should or shouldn’t eat, and there is often the temptation to grab a burger when you are in a rush or have some ice cream after dinner. This is okay, as long as you do it in moderation.
In general, most of us know the basic rules of healthy eating:
- Lots of fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains, legumes and lean meats
- Limited sugar, sodium and saturated fat
However, there are certain nutrients that you need more during certain stages of life. Registered dietician Leslie Beck provides some insight into the types of nutrients we should be consuming as we age in the Globe and Mail.
Here is what she suggests:
In your 20s
- Focus on: calcium, iron, folate
- Food sources: red meat, soybeans, lentils, chickpeas, spinach, raisins
In your 30s
- Focus on: calorie intake, magnesium
- Food sources: halibut, almonds, spinach, Swiss chard, plain yogurt, cashews
In your 40s
- Focus on: antioxidants
- Food sources: green and red peppers, broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes, strawberries, almonds, Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds
In your 50s and beyond
- Focus on: calcium, vitamins D and B12
- Sources: supplements
Tips for healthy eating
As the saying goes, you are what you eat. What you eat can have a huge impact on your health, well-being, mood and emotional state.
According to Helpguide.org:
Studies have linked eating a typical Western diet—filled with processed meats, packaged meals, takeout food, and sugary snacks—with higher rates of depression, stress, bipolar disorder, and anxiety. Eating an unhealthy diet may even play a role in the development of mental health disorders such as ADHD, Alzheimer’s disease, and schizophrenia, or in the increased risk of suicide in young people.
Clearly, it’s important to be conscious of what you eat, how it impacts your body and how it makes you feel. Here are some healthy eating tips to use as a guide:
- Prepare your meals at home
- Choose a variety of foods to get enough protein, carbohydrates and micronutrients
- Read the label before you buy
- Take a multivitamin
- Drink plenty of water
- Eat smaller portions and don’t allow yourself to get really hungry
- Eat healthy fats and cut out unhealthy fats
- Minimize sugar and salt intake
- Eat foods high in fibre
- Eat lots of fruits and vegetables
- Try new foods and recipes
At the end of the day, eating healthy is about moderation and making good food choices. Indulge every now and then – everyone deserves a treat!
Every time you eat, you are making a conscious decision. Whether you are at home preparing dinner, travelling for business, on vacation or at a friend’s house, make the best food choices available.
Not sure where to start? Make an appointment with your doctor or a registered dietician to help you improve your eating habits and your overall health.