It is impossible to talk for long about healthy eating without calling to mind fruit and vegetables. These are the cornerstone of any healthy diet and are a low-preparation option for a snack on the go. What is more, there is almost infinite variety in the fruit and veg aisle at your supermarket, so there is always something new to try.
One of the more popular options for any dieter trying to break the stranglehold that chocolate has on their diet is the banana. Bananas are an excellent snack food, especially if you have a long working day ahead of you. They are packed with potassium, which is excellent for slow release energy, meaning that you can rely on being on point right up until the last tick of the clock.
For desserts, a good fruit salad is always a fine option. There are so many possible combinations – you can buy it tinned, but if you want to get the best out of a fruit salad it is ideal to buy the fresh fruit yourself and mix it together. A little bit of chopping is as much preparation as it requires, beyond stirring it lightly to mix it all up. What you put in is up to you, but fresh peaches, pineapple, strawberries and grapes are always popular, as is melon and mango.
The humble apple is also an option to be considered. They are low in calories, juicy and what's more, excellent for your teeth. As well as an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, getting a lot of fruit in your diet is easy and fun.
When people go on a diet they often make the mistake of assuming that because they are having to limit what they eat, they will necessarily have to cut out everything that doesn't conform to the “no fat, no frills, no fun” stereotype. This extends to thinking that there can be no more snacking – just three meals a day which must be made out of green stuff. And it could not be further from the truth.
You can still snack when you are on a diet. Of course, this does not mean that as long as you eat three healthy meals you can eat whatever you want at any time. Rather, you can eat healthy snacks if you get peckish between meals. Apart from anything else it is a much better alternative than overeating at the next meal and giving your digestive system too much to deal with.
Healthy snacks include fresh fruit and nuts, or a slice of crusty bread spread with a healthy margarine and topped with a thin slice of cheese. One of the best and surprisingly healthiest snack options is peanut butter. It can be spread on grain crackers and even enjoyed with a stick of celery
If you get hungry between meals, another good option is a bowl of cereal. Obviously, a healthier cereal will be better here – an option containing whole bran, or a bowl of cornflakes is naturally preferable to something chocolatey or coated in honey. It's not too filling and it's not unhealthy, and it takes no time at all to prepare.
The importance of eating healthily is known to us all. Without the right diet, it is hard to live the life we would all like to, keeping energy levels high and being able to do the things we enjoy. However, it is not all about the physical benefits of a healthy diet. Eating the right things can have a beneficial effect on your mental well-being too.
The truth is that mental health and physical health are interconnected. If you are eating too little, or too much of the wrong thing, then you are going to suffer mentally for it as well as physically. Your brain requires nourishment every bit as much as your body, and a lack of protein in your diet can result in the onset or aggravation of depression.
If you suffer from depression, then one of the main negative effects of the illness is a lack of energy, a situation which affects your ability to fight the condition. Eating the right things is important, and while often depression sufferers will feel that they do not want to eat at all it is important that they make the effort. Rather than eating “comfort food” - which is rarely very comforting – getting some fresh fruit and veg, as well as carbohydrates from pasta or potatoes can help.
Drinking plenty of fluid is also important for mental health. Ideally, five glasses or more of water a day will prevent you from becoming dehydrated and depriving your body and mind of the fuel that is so important. Having the energy and the sharpness to send the symptoms of depression packing is essential, and your diet will play a big part in this.
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