“Eating and drinking keep body and soul together” – who doesn’t know the saying? But what about our knowledge of nutrition? Do we eat healthy, wholesome, balanced? What do we mean by healthy eating?
Good food is one of the most beautiful things in life and is very important for our quality of life. Despite the food scandals, it is still possible to enjoy and, increasingly important, to choose your food naturally, seasonally and freshly. The nutrition experts also agree on this. Today, a healthy diet is understood as a varied, balanced and fresh mixed diet that can be prepared imaginatively.
Broken down to a short formula, healthy nutrition means: more plant-based foods (fruit, vegetables, grains) than animal-based foods (meat, fish, dairy products, eggs) and only small amounts of fat, salt and sugar. Plenty of fluids are essential: best water, teas, juice spritzers and the like. If you then eat versatile and varied – with enough leisure – then you are actually already eating healthy!
Healthy nutrition for every day
Thinking about what to cook for your family every day is not only a headache at times. It has to be fresh, healthy and tasty. It should also be quick in everyday life , several times a day – because with three large and two small meals we are optimally supplied with energy, nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Breakfast, lunch and dinner can be a bit larger, the two snacks in between are intended for small snacks. For example, crispbread with cheese or an apple and a handful of nuts.
So that the essential nutrients, proteins, fats and carbohydrates are used, it is beneficial to consume them in a certain ratio. In healthy adults, the proportion of the total number of calories is approx. 15% protein, 30% fat and 55% carbohydrates. All three building blocks are important; in combination with vitamins, minerals and trace elements, they fulfill life-sustaining functions. In order for this to work well, it is best to consume the food in sufficient quantities throughout the day. For a healthy diet you need ideally per day:
- 6 glasses of water or 6 cups of unsweetened fruit or herbal tea
- 2 servings of fruit
- 3 servings of vegetables
- 4 servings of pasta, rice, bread or other cereal products and potatoes
- 3 servings of milk, yogurt, quark or cheese
- 1 portion of meat, fish or sausage
- 4 tbsp oil, margarine and butter
The body can only be supplied with all the nutrients it needs through a combination of different food groups. The plant foods like grains, fruits and vegetables contain fiber, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. The body gets high-quality protein from animal foods. Those who follow a vegetarian diet get the protein from milk and dairy products as well as from legumes and cereals. The cells are supplied with essential fatty acids via vegetable oils.
Healthy nutrition: basic knowledge of carbohydrates, protein & fat
Carbohydrates provide energy
Whenever we are hungry, our energy source is empty – liver, muscles, tissues and blood only store around 500 g of carbohydrates. If the brain needs new energy, it signals: Feed me simple (e.g. sugar, figs) or even better starchy carbohydrates (such as bread, cereals or rice). We need them to regulate blood sugar levels. If this has dropped, we occasionally feel a slight tremor in addition to hunger. With a healthy diet, one tries to prevent this as much as possible: It is better to keep the blood sugar level as constant as possible and to prevent highs and lows.
The muscles get the energy they need in the short term from blood sugar. Starchy carbohydrates, also known as complex carbohydrates, are more beneficial because they are absorbed more slowly and last longer. This works especially well if you choose the whole grain products. In addition, carbohydrates influence our mood: They put you in a good mood because they stimulate the production of the happiness hormone serotonin. Bread, rolls , cereal products, pasta and potatoes are particularly filling.
Proteins make up all body cells
Proteins are the giant molecules most frequently found in cells. They have to be ingested with food, as our body cannot produce all the protein building blocks itself. The main task is to form the cells and the tissue and to constantly renew them – which is particularly important in the growth phase of children. Proteins build hormones and enzymes and maintain the transport of metabolic products and blood clotting – without them, nothing works! So bring on milk, cheese, meat, fish, legumes, tofu and eggs for a healthy diet.
Keep the balance when it comes to fat
Fat tastes good and helps to add flavor to the food: So it helps make the food taste good to us. But not only that. We also need fat so that our body can absorb certain vitamins and to supply the body with essential fatty acids. That’s the page. On the flip side, fat also contains twice as many calories as protein or carbohydrates. Those who take in too much fat gain weight. That is why it is important to find the right balance in a healthy diet. Vegetable fats and oils are healthy because they contain a lot of unsaturated fatty acids. Fatty sea fish should also appear on your plate at least once a week, as they also provide iodine.
Healthy nutrition for every situation
A healthy diet is always possible: Regardless of the age, whether you do a lot or little sport, whether you work in the office, have a lot or little free time or are expecting a child.
Healthy nutrition for children
The recommendations for healthy eating in children are no different from those for adults. Sure, the portions are smaller, but children also need a lot of fruit, vegetables, pasta, potatoes, bread and rice and lots of water. Animal foods such as meat, fish and dairy products also need them – especially when they are growing. But it is not necessary that they make up the bulk of the diet. The herbal products make up the majority of every plate and meal in a healthy diet for children. Also the snacks at school you can make it healthy and still tasty: for example, top the bread with cheese and also a leaf of lettuce, tomato and cucumber. If you then put a tangerine or a few radishes in the lunch box, your child has already managed 1 serving of vegetables and 1 serving of fruit for that day.
Healthy eating in the workplace
But don’t just think about your children, even as an adult you can have a healthy diet despite all the stress of everyday life and work. A healthy diet in the workplace is one thing above all else: It is quick and easy to eat. You can do that if you choose snacks that are low in fat and provide you with long-term energy: A light tomato sauce with whole wheat pasta, a bulgur salad with fresh tomatoes, spring onions and peppers, for example, are delicious meals that do not burden your body. Even during working hours, you can include a serving of fruit or vegetables for each meal, so that you get the recommended 5 servings of fruit and vegetables a day.
Healthy eating during pregnancy
For many women, pregnancy is the impetus to rethink their diet and to eat more healthily for the sake of themselves and the child. A healthy diet during pregnancy hardly differs from that of other women. Pregnant women also need whole grain products, fruit, vegetables and plenty of fluids. Fish, especially fatty sea fish, is also particularly good for you and your child. Pregnant women do not need to eat more than before. Only from the fourth month of pregnancy does the energy requirement increase, but only by around 250 kilocalories – that is roughly equivalent to a slice of bread with cheese. However, for the sake of their child, pregnant women should be more careful with raw animal foods such as raw milk (cheese), sushi, ice cream, carpaccio. In addition, fruits and vegetables should always be thoroughly washed or even peeled under running water.
Healthy nutrition for athletes
The same rules for a healthy diet apply to athletes who do sports in their free time. If you eat enough grain products and plan five servings of fruit and vegetables a day, your body will be well taken care of and also well equipped for recreational sports. To meet your protein requirements, it is sufficient to eat meat, fish or eggs two to three times a week and consume three servings of milk (products) a day. Before exercising, a light meal, which tends to be more carbohydrate and low in fat, is particularly good.