Controlling weight is a constant balancing act. The key is finding a healthy balance that includes eating enough to fuel daily activity and exercise while not taking in more calories than needed.
Some things affect your ability to feel hunger and satiety signals, including hormones, stress, lack of sleep, and certain medications like antidepressants and steroids.
Eat More Fruits and Vegetables
We all know that eating more fruits and vegetables is important to our health. These colourful foods add flavour and variety to our meals and pack a nutritional punch with vitamins, minerals and fibre.
Having a high intake of vegetables and fruit is associated with reduced risk of heart disease, stroke and some cancers. But getting enough isn’t easy for many adults.
Aim for 5 servings a day, including 1 cup of vegetables and 2 cups of fruit. If you find this challenging, try mixing things up and exploring new recipes. Try adding some of your favourite fruits to a smoothie, or putting your veggies in soups or curries. Frozen and canned vegetables are also a good option, but make sure they don’t have added sugar or syrup and avoid high-fat sauces and dressings. Aim to eat mostly whole fruits and vegetables, rather than juices or dried fruit, as these will have more fibre. Remember, a single serve of vegetables is about 75g and a serve of fruit is about 150g.
Eat More Healthy Fats
Healthy fats provide vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that are essential to good health, explains Taylor. They include olive oil, avocados, whole milk and cream, fatty fish like sardines and salmon and some nuts like walnuts. Unhealthy fats promote obesity, inflammation and a variety of negative health outcomes, including heart disease and type 2 diabetes. They include processed and fried meats, vegetable oils such as canola, cottonseed and sunflower, butter, lard and suet. Each gram of fat provides 9 calories, so be mindful of the amount you eat. A handful of walnuts, for example, contains more calories than an apple.
Limit Foods with Added Sugars
Sugars occur naturally in some foods, such as fruits and some dairy products, but they can also be added to a variety of processed foods to add flavour. Processed sugars are high in kilojoules and are often combined with unhealthy fats, which contribute to obesity and other health issues such as heart disease.
The body breaks down carbohydrates, including sugars, into glucose for energy. However, too much added sugar can make it difficult to meet nutrient needs and may increase the risk of weight gain.
Many scientific organizations, including the World Health Organization and the American Heart Association, recommend limiting added sugars to less than 10% of calories. The Nutrition Facts label on food packages can help you find lower-sugar options.