Healthy eating can be difficult for some people as they don’t know what it means to have a balanced diet without being too restrictive or simply having an enjoyable and sustainable journey. This was an initiative by Harvard University to simplify healthy eating by illustrating it on a diagram, where vegetables and fruits (1/2 of the plate), whole grains (1/4 of the plate) and protein (1/4 of the plate) and hence the name (211).
It serves as a way to debunk that low-fat is the only way to a healthy and balanced lifestyle, as people needs to consume healthy sources of fat as well. Healthy plant oils should be consumed in moderation, drink water, coffee, tea (omitting sugar whenever possible).
The figure of the running man serves as a reminder to get some movement in your day whenever possible, as once the physical body is taken care of, the mental benefits will naturally come.
For the breakdown:
Vegetables & fruits (1/2 part): lots of different colours gives a huge variety and also helps to keeps things fresh, while not getting bored of the same thing
Whole grains (1/4 part): whole wheat bread/pasta, brown rice, quinoa and oats are the preferred choice as they are a good source of fiber and keeps you fuller for longer. However, there is nothing wrong with the occasional bread and white rice too, but limit them if possible.
Protein (1/4 part): lean protein (fish, chicken breast, beans, tofu) is preferred. It is best to limit red meat, cheese, bacon, cold cuts and other processed meats.
Healthy oils: olive oil and canola oil can be used in cooking or even as salad dressings. Butter isn’t encouraged but can be consumed once in a while and avoid trans fats (which is found in mostly fried foods)
If you’ve watched the news, you’ve probably heard something negative about processed foods. They’ve been blamed for the national rise in obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes. But what exactly are processed foods, and are they really all that bad for you?
According to the Department of Agriculture US, processed food are any raw agricultural commodities that have been washed, cleaned, milled, cut, chopped, heated, pasteurized, blanched, cooked, canned, frozen, dried, dehydrated, mixed or packaged — anything done to them that alters their natural state. This may include adding preservatives, flavors, nutrients and other food additives, or substances approved for use in food products, such as salt, sugars and fats.
Minimally processed foods have a place in healthy diets. For example, low-fat milk, whole-grain or wheat breads, precut vegetables and fresh-cut greens are considered processed foods. However, chemically processed foods, also called ultra-processed foods, tend to be high in sugar, artificial ingredients, refined carbohydrates, and trans fats. Because of this, they are a major contributor to obesity and illness around the world.
To balance the diet or make it more healthy, a person can replace ultra-processed foods with whole foods, including grains, nuts, seeds, lean meats, fruits, vegetables, and legumes.
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