Mindful eating: Focus on foods you must include, not exclude from your diet

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The first thing we typically do while trying to achieve our health goals is exclude specific foods from our diet. After all, we are all aware of the importance of avoiding junk food and the fact that our bodies will benefit from our decision to refrain from consuming sodas, fried foods, and sweets that are high in sugar. Although it is true, the secret to preserving a happy attitude and a healthy connection with food is to concentrate on what we should add to our plates rather than what we should completely banish from our lives.

Here’s what you need to add to your diet to promote good health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases as well as keep your diet interesting with different flavours and textures. We have trillions of cells in our body to feed and nourish, making it imperative to focus on eating a variety of nutritious-dense foods.

Mindful eating is important for good health

It is recommended to eat a variety of foods from the 5 major food groups. The 5 food groups are:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Protein-rich foods like meats and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds
  • Cereals mostly wholegrain or high-fibre varieties, legumes and beans
  • Dairy including low-fat milk, yoghurt, cheese or alternatives
Focus on foods you should include rather than foods that you should exclude. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

A diverse and well-balanced diet with a range of foods from each of the five food groups is recommended to consume on a daily basis in the recommended serving sizes. It is important to select a range of foods from each food group as it provides you with a variety of nutrients to nourish trillions of cells. Also, making your meals interesting by incorporating a variety of foods helps prevent you from getting bored with your diet.

Foods to avoid eating to achieve health goals

Several of the frequently consumed foods in modern diets don’t fall into any of the five food groups. These foods are categorised as junk discretionary options or occasional foods, and while they can be occasionally enjoyed, they shouldn’t be a regular part of a balanced diet. As they contain excessive amounts of saturated fat, added sugars, added salt, or alcohol, as well as inadequate amounts of vital nutrients like fiber.

These foods and drinks can also be too high in calories. Regularly consuming more calories than your body needs will lead to weight gain.

Eating the wrong foods can lead to weight gain! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Some examples of occasional foods are:

  • Sweet biscuits, cakes, desserts and pastries
  • Processed meats and fatty, salty sausages
  • Fast foods like burgers and pizzas
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Ice cream and other confectionary and chocolate
  • Commercially fried foods like potato chips, crisps and other fatty and salty snack
  • Foods, including some biscuits
  • Cream, butter and spreads which are high in saturated fats
  • Sugar-sweetened soft drinks and energy drinks

It is okay to indulge in some of these foods occasionally as a treat. However, eating these foods frequently can increase your a risk of obesity and chronic conditions like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and some types of cancer.

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