Healthy foods and how to identify them

Food is not good or bad. It simply provides energy to our body in the form of calories. What identifies healthy foods are the vitamins and nutrients they provide and the positive benefit it brings to your body. This is what most people would consider good food.

Some foods are not as nutritious. They do not provide as many if any, vitamins and minerals. They may also contain many things that have a negative effect on our bodies. This is what people refer to as bad food.

Unhealthy foods will give you the energy to burn in the same way healthy foods will.

Food for energy

If we consider food, just for energy – simple calories in versus calories out equation, then it does not matter what food you eat. What matters is how much you eat. Remain within your maintenance calories and you will remain a steady weight.

Good food brings nourishment

When we begin to consider food for the nutritional value it can bring, we see that some foods benefit us more than others.

Our bodies thrive on vitamins and minerals. We function better and our physical appearance improves.

If we balance our macronutrients, our body receives the building blocks it needs to repair and build. It has the energy it needs to function and the fat needed to absorb fat-soluble vitamins and create cell membranes.

If we eat food void of macronutrients and micronutrients, our body becomes deficient and we start to become malnourished.

Malnourishment occurs because our body does not have all the tools to function well, therefore, it is possible to be overweight and malnourished at the same time.

Sliding scale

Food is not good or bad. We would be better at viewing food on a scale of healthy and less healthy.

Balance is important. We can eat a higher proportion of healthy foods and a small amount of less healthy foods and still see the benefits.

If we try to only eat the most healthy foods all of the time, we find our diet restricted. This can make us miserable which is unhealthy for our mental health.

Instead, we strike a balance. We can still eat less healthy foods, just in small amounts and less often. This will balance your mental wellbeing and make you happy.

Some foods are harder to place

Try to become more aware of what our food provides. Healthy food is rich in vitamins and minerals. Things that are useful to the body. Below are some misconceptions about food:

Salmon and mackerel are unhealthy because they contain a lot of fat.

Oily fish do have a high-fat content, which is often perceived as bad. All fats are not bad. Oily fish contains omega 3’s. This is actually great for the health of your heart, so we should aim to eat 1-2 portions per week.

Avocados contain a lot of fat too.

These are the same as the fish, the fat content here is higher, however, avocados provide a range of vitamins and minerals.

Buying food that is marked low fat is better for you.

Not necessarily. This is why reading the ingredients is important. It may be low in fat, but what nutritional value does it bring. Many low-fat options are full of sugar which can be just as unhealthy.

Buying prepared meals that are low-calorie is healthy.

Again, what is inside? Remember that food that has been handled and processed loses many nutrients. What else is in that meal? Are there ingredients that provide vitamins and minerals?

Frozen vegetables are not as nutritious as fresh ones.

Simple, not true. Vegetables are often picked and frozen at the source which protects the nutrition until they are used. Fresh vegetables often have to travel a long way to reach the supermarket and the more they are handled, the more nutrients they lose. Vegetables begin losing nutrition the moment they are picked, so fresh vegetables are on a countdown timer. See more here Frozen vegetables can be better than fresh.

Microwaving your food is bad for you.

There is no evidence to suggest this. Some people do believe that it is bad to microwave food for various reasons. Until more research is available, we cannot be sure. We know that the increased cooking speed of a microwave will help retain the vitamins and minerals in your food. See more here Prepare and cook food faster for more nutrition.

Learn more about the food you eat

The best way to choose healthy foods is to inform yourself about what your food contains. Armed with knowledge, you will easily see which foods are going to benefit your body and which ones are full of marketing hype. Read labels and figure out what is in your food and even better still, cook from scratch so you have control of what goes into your body.