Energise your meal times with these healthy eating strategies from around the world

By March 26, 2020 Health & Nutrition

Source with thanks from consumerreports.org

Bored with the range of meals that you have routinely. Looking for something new and different? There are other countries and cultures that could inspire you with their healthy eating habits. From where you could borrow and incorporate into your meal plan. The author, in the article below, has collated some of the best health eating strategies from around the world. Team RetyrSmart

Energise your meal times with these healthy eating strategies from around the world

Vietnam: Start with Soup

Pho, a broth soup that contains rice noodles, vegetables, and sometimes meat, is a breakfast staple in Vietnam.

Why it’s healthy: A bowl of hot soup is a very satisfying way to start the day—and it can be an easy way to sneak a serving or two of vegetables into a meal that often contains none. And, unlike many traditional breakfasts, most soups are low in sugars and saturated fats. A bowl of soup usually provides a high volume of food for a low number of calories.

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India: Add Plant Protein

In India, the word “dal” can mean lentils or the traditional thick stew or soup made from them. Dal is a staple of Indian cuisine, and there are good reasons to make it one of yours as well.

Why it’s healthy: Lentils and other pulses (a category that includes chickpeas, dried peas, and beans) are high in protein, fibre, potassium, and folate. They’re also low in calories and have virtually no fat. Diets rich in lentils and other legumes are linked to lower rates of diabetes and cardiovascular disease

Greece: Eat Healthy Fats

To the inhabitants of Greece, the Mediterranean diet isn’t so much a diet as a way of life. And that’s easy to do in Greece, where the most important components of the diet are plentiful. One of the cornerstones of the Mediterranean diet is a focus on healthy fats—such as olive oil, avocados, fatty fish, and nuts.

Why it’s healthy: In a 2018 study, people ages 65 and older who ate a Mediterranean diet had a 25 percent lower risk of dying from any cause during the study period. Rather than avoiding foods that are high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, you should embrace them—as long as you’re eating them instead of unhealthier saturated fats.

But even healthy fats are high in calories, so it’s important to eat them in place of—rather than in addition to—something else. For example, snack on a handful of nuts instead of a handful of potato chips.

Brazil: Stick to Whole Foods

When the most recent dietary guidelines were issued by the Brazilian government in 2014, they were lauded by many nutrition pros as forward-thinking. Instead of aiming for specific amounts of nutrients, they emphasize eating more whole foods and avoiding ultra-processed ones. In other words, they recommend eating the way Brazilians—and the rest of us—used to eat before fast-food restaurants and pre-packaged meals dominated our diets.

Why it’s healthy: Adopt this back-to-­basics way of eating and you will automatically reduce calories, because processed foods pack a lot of calories into a small amount of food. You’ll also up your fibre intake, because you’ll be eating more whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. And you’ll limit the amount of sodium, sugars, and unhealthy saturated fats you eat.

Mexico: Have a Bigger Lunch

In traditional Mexican (and many South American) cultures, the midday meal is the large one, and what we think of as dinner is more of an evening snack.

Why it’s healthy: Eating a large lunch and a small dinner seems to be metabolically healthy

Research has shown that eating a bigger meal late in the day leads to higher overall cholesterol, higher LDL cholesterol, and higher triglycerides. Studies have also found a connection between later eating and higher body weight. A large meal too close to bedtime can also trigger heartburn and affect your sleep because your body is busy working on digestion instead of focusing on falling asleep

Italy: Slow Your Pace

When Italians gather around the dining table, they’re in no hurry to get up. Meals aren’t just an opportunity to eat food, they’re a reason to relax and connect with friends and family.

Why it’s healthy: When you slow down your meal, you’re taking the time to enjoy interacting with company. The social aspect becomes more of a priority rather than just eating all that you possibly can as fast as you can.

Research has also shown that it can take about 20 minutes for the release of satiety hormones that signal to your brain that you’re full. If you eat too fast, that mechanism hasn’t kicked in yet. So you override your natural satiety triggers and overeat

Japan: Go for 80 Percent Full

The residents of Okinawa, a chain of islands off the coast of Japan, boast some of the longest life spans in the world. One of the reasons may be their practice of hara hachi bu, which translates to “eat until you’re 80 percent full.”

Why it’s healthy: This is another way to look at portion control. It’s about paying more attention to what you’re eating, how much you’re eating, and recognizing your internal hunger and fullness cues.”

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