Healthy nutrition – embedded in a conscious and active lifestyle can be the key to a long and symptom-free life. A balanced diet not only increases well-being, but also reduces the risk of various diseases. However, this does not necessarily mean less enjoyment and increased effort.
What does a healthy diet look like?
Nutritionists speak of a healthy diet when a balanced mix of all relevant nutrients is found in the daily menu. You realize this variety by eating lots of fruits and vegetables.
A healthy diet provides you with all the relevant nutrients. These include:
By the wayThat a healthy nutrition requires the complete renouncement of coal hydrates or fats, is a widespread nourishing error. They are just as important as vitamins or minerals. However, they should only be consumed in moderation.
To ensure that you cover the six nutrient groups in a suitable weighting, you should in any case eat more plant-based foods than animal-based foods. This means that fruit and vegetables, as well as cereal products, should make up a larger proportion of your daily menu than meat, fish, eggs or dairy products.
In addition, a healthy diet includes the reduction of salt, sugar and fat in the diet. Furthermore, it is important to ensure sufficient fluid intake, so that you not only eat healthy, but also "drink healthy". In this concise rule of thumb for a balanced diet, animal products are included – does this mean that vegan or vegetarian diets are not healthy?
What is the healthiest diet?
There are numerous ways to eat healthily. However, it is difficult to determine which of them is the healthiest one. Vegetarian and vegan diets are current health trends. But also the Paleo nutrition is considered as health-promoting.
More and more people are going vegetarian or vegan. Vegetarians do without meat, fish, seafood and sausage. Vegans also eliminate eggs and dairy products as well as honey from their diet. Still other people return to a Stone Age-like dietary pattern. This so-called Paleo diet consists of foods such as fish or nuts, which were already present in the Stone Age in the same texture. Each of these diets has its pros and cons from a health perspective.
However, there is no such thing as "the healthiest form of nutrition". Whether a diet is healthy or not depends mainly on how varied it is and how many nutrients it provides. This can be realized with conventional as well as with vegan, vegetarian or Paleo nutrition.
What are the arguments for a healthy diet?
Healthy eating can benefit physical and mental health in many ways. It is not only key to sustainable weight loss. The quality of life can also be increased by a balanced diet.
The following arguments speak for a healthy diet from a medical point of view:
- Immune and nervous system healthBy consuming vitamins, trace elements and minerals, the immune and nervous systems of the human body can work better.
- Gastrointestinal healthColorectal cancer in particular, but also chronic diseases along the digestive tract, are linked to unhealthy eating. Healthy eating is central to prevention – incidentally, this is true for all cancers. By eating more whole grains, you can also stimulate digestion.
- Cardiovascular health: In particular, the low proportion of animal fats within a healthy diet plan supports in the prevention of diseases of the cardiovascular system. Among other things, the risk of heart attacks and arteriosclerosis decreases.
- Cognitive health: Healthy eating affects the functioning of the brain. It reduces the risk of developing dementia and makes strokes less likely.
- Bone, muscle and joint healthAdding enough dairy products to your diet can help improve bone health and prevent osteoporosis and osteoarthritis, among other things.
- Healthy weight management: Healthy eating usually leads to longer-term and stable weight loss, intentionally or unintentionally. In this way, a balanced diet helps to curb obesity and the consequences of increased body weight. And that, without dieting or fasting.
So healthy eating helps maintain health and reduces the risk of various diseases. Especially when combined with adequate exercise, healthy eating can contribute to overall well-being and enjoyment of life well into old age.
How to establish healthy eating in everyday life?
In order to embed a healthy diet in your daily life in a new way, the first thing to do is to examine your own motivation. Only if you yourself are convinced of a health benefit, the project can succeed. But what else helps to establish healthy eating habits?
The following tips can simplify a long-term change to a healthy diet:
- Choose timing consciously: Tackle the dietary change at a quiet stage in your life. Because shopping and cooking fresh food every day initially takes a lot of time. When professional or private changes are imminent, the change can therefore quickly generate frustration and excessive demands.
- Positive attitude: Be optimistic and speak well of yourself. See the change in diet as a way to do something good for yourself and look forward to possible changes and challenges.
- Realistic goalsBy setting achievable goals, you avoid frustration and early "giving up". Every step counts – even if you notice little change at first.
- Social support: Involve family, partner and friends in your diet change plan. They may be enthusiastic and join in. Otherwise they support you.
All beginnings are difficult. The individual tips can support you especially in the beginning. Over time, you will develop a sense of what is healthy and what is unhealthy, how big a portion should be, and what distinguishes hunger from appetite. Until you reach this point, it all comes down to planning.
What does a healthy eating plan look like?
For healthy eating to become an integral part of your daily routine, some planning is required. Both daily plans and weekly schedules help ensure a balanced nutritional composition. While the daily plan provides guidelines for the number and composition of daily meals, a weekly plan is designed for the entire week.
A daily plan gives you a rough idea of what you should eat over the course of a day and how big a portion should be. It refers to:
All these components should be based on the so-called food pyramid. This provides for a healthy diet the following weighting of foods on the menu:
- Water: Make sure you drink enough fluids, at least two liters of water or thin juice spritzer per day.
- Fruit, salad and vegetables: You can have some of this every day. The German Nutrition Society (DEG) recommends five portions of fruit and vegetables throughout the day.
- Cereals, bread and side dishes (z.B. Potatoes): Carbohydrates must not be missing either. Whole grain products and legumes in particular contribute to a healthy diet, as they contain a lot of fiber and thus stimulate digestion.
- Dairy products: This includes milk, cheese or yogurt. Among other things, they are rich in calcium. In limited quantities, dairy products are an important part of a healthy diet.
- Fish, meat, sausage and eggs: These animal products can be enjoyed in moderation. Sea fish is particularly rich in omega-3 fatty acids and is therefore highly recommended. : Experts of the German Society for Nutrition e.V. advise mainly vegetable oils such as rapeseed or olive oil, as they are rich in healthy fatty acids. They should still be used sparingly.
- Special: Sweets and snacks should be consumed infrequently if possible. Reducing the consumption of sugar and salt in general to a minimum.
The food pyramid can help you make decisions: Important nutritional components such as water, fruit and vegetables form the basis. You can consume these without hesitation. The more unhealthy a food is rated, the higher up the pyramid it is (meat, for example) and the less of it should be eaten.
The weekly plan helps you implement the recommendations from the food pyramid on a daily basis. The weekly planning is mainly about which recipes you want to cook at what time, when you realize and pre-cook the weekly shopping. In addition, using leftovers is part of planning for the week.
Advantages of weekly planning are the following:
- You realize a balanced and healthy diet
- You can cook fresh every day without being overly stressed
- You discover new and delicious recipes every week
- You save money and time
- You need to throw away less food
The whole plan is not about eating only strictly according to rules. Swapping and skipping meals is possible and even encouraged. The weekly plan also has something in store for the – quite human – ravenous appetite and the need for a small snack in between meals.
What alternatives for chips& Co are on the healthy diet plan?
There are plenty of healthy yet delicious alternatives for snacks and sweets. By replacing chips with a slice of crispbread, for example, or gummy bears with trail mix, a healthy diet also makes room for snacks between meals.
|Conventional snack& Drink||Healthy alternative|
|Chocolate or gummy bears||Nuts, dried fruit or fresh fruit|
|potato chips or salty cookies||Crispbread, nuts or carrot|
|sandwiches made from white flour||Wholemeal bread or crispbread with low-fat toppings z.B. Honey, vegetable spread, smoked pork and other low-fat sausages|
|Cakes and cookies||Nuts, dried fruit, rice cakes or fresh fruit|
|sweetened yogurt, fruit yogurt||Natural yogurt, sweetened only as needed with honey or other natural sweeteners|
|Yogurt drink, milkshake or ice cream||Buttermilk natural, kefir natural or homemade low-sugar fruit sorbet|
|Lemonade, straight fruit juice, beer, wine or cocktails||Water, tea, thin juice spritzers or non-alcoholic beer|
Tip: Think about what you often eat or drink in between meals. You’re bound to think of some typical sweets and drinks. For each snack, you can consider healthy alternatives. When you go shopping for the following week, take the healthy alternative with you instead of the usual unhealthy snacks. So you can still enjoy a snack without having to throw all your good intentions for a healthy diet overboard.
Conclusion: Healthy eating – more than just losing weight
Healthy eating is not necessarily synonymous with doing without: on the contrary, if you have found tasty dishes that you like to prepare and that mainly contain fresh fruit, vegetables or salad, you can eat your fill with a clear conscience.
Those who have made a conscious change to a healthy and balanced diet usually feel stronger and more energetic than before. Plus, healthy eating can reduce the likelihood of certain diseases or risk factors. So weight loss is just one of many reasons to make dietary changes.
Our editorial team consists of numerous experts from the fields of traditional medicine and herbal and general medicine. The team informs you about the background of diseases and medicinal plants, as well as about topics such as partnership and love.