It’s Monday morning again, grmmh grmmh, the alarm sounds , Shola hisses and gets up from the bed, dashes into the shower, dashes out five minutes later. Ten minutes after, she is out of the house. She gets to the junction, her favourite snack seller is there, she says to Shola, the usual right? Shola smiles and says yes please, she hands to her hot steaming puffpuff wrapped in newspapers and a chilled soda drink.
Shola is now seated inside the bus, it’s 7: 15 am. She gobbles down the puffpuff and soda drink. Something whispers to her drop it! drop it!. She replies in her mind, but I need to eat. But I will stop soon, I promise. The voice replied back, you said that yesterday and the day before and all through last year. Shola said to herself , oh no! I really have to stop. I have got to eat healthy from now on!
If you’ve pledged to get healthier and develop healthy eating habits in the new year, like Shola, then this is for you. Finally, you are going to eat less sugar, ditch junk food and soda, get that whole portion control thing down, snack on actual fruits and veggies, and stop downing a pint of ice cream right before bed. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it, so brace yourself, because in the not so distant future, your body will thank you for it. So let’s get right into it, here’s how to start eating healthy.
- Say no to sugary drinks. Other than the obvious risk of Type 2 diabetes and obesity, consuming sugary beverages can also cause to the liver, premature aging and anxiety. So, instead of sipping packaged juice or soda, go for unsweetened beverages or infused water.
- Eat fruits and vegetables: Fruits and vegetables contain many vitamins and minerals that are good for your health. These include vitamins A (beta-carotene), C and E, magnesium, zinc, phosphorous and folic acid. Folic acid may reduce blood levels of homocysteine, a substance that may be a risk factor for coronary heart disease. So incorporate fruits and vegetables into your daily meal.
- Eat less Carbohydrate: The typical Nigeria Diet is heavy on Carbohydrate, a sample daily food consumption might include: Yam for breakfast, Eba/garri for lunch and Rice for supper. Most food guides recommend 6-7 servings of grain products (Carbohydrate based) for adult female and 8 servings for adults male. To put things in perspective, daily carbohydrate requirement for the average adult, based on a 2000Calories diet will be 300g/day. In food Lingo, 300g of carbohydrate will consist of: 2 slices of bread for breakfast (70g), 2 cups of garri (156g) for lunch and 11/2 cups of rice for supper (68g).
- Cook more: The best way to know what’s in your food is by making it yourself. You can also better control your portion sizes— studies have shown that “If you serve yourself, you tend to eat less” So, plays around with spices to create flavorful dishes you love with less sugar and salt than you’d find at a restaurant.
- Drink more water: You need to stay hydrated all day every day, not just when it’s hot outside or you’re sweating it out at the gym. “When it’s cold we forget that,” Baumrind says. “Focus on making sure you’re drinking enough water” by employing tricks like keeping a water bottle at your desk or using an app to track how much you’re drinking. So next time you are craving soda or any sugary drink, drink water instead!