Healthy Living As A Lifestyle

“Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.”3 John 1:2 King James Version (KJV)

Happy New Year to you all. 2018 was a great year and we look forward to a more fulfilling and rewarding year in 2019. Welcome to a new year. Preventive health is the way to go this year. Your lifestyle could either positively or negatively affect your health. Healthy living as a lifestyle is making good food choices, adequate fluid intake, regular exercises and a stress-free life a part of your daily living. These factors have been proven to positively affect your health and make you more productive.

Good Food Choice

This plate gives you an idea of how to pack food on your plate.

Starchy Carbohydrates

As part of your carbohydrate intake, aim for more whole grain and starchy vegetables. These include millet, wild or brown rice, sorghum, oats and whole wheat. Also, plantains, cassava, sweet potatoes to mention a few. These are important sources of energy and fibre. Base your foods around these but in moderation. There is no point in putting yourself on an excessively low carb diet as this may mean limiting your fibre intake and fibre is important in ensuring gastro intestinal integrity.

Vegetables and Fruits

Include a lot of vegetables and fruits in your daily intake. Have some vegetables at least in three to four meals a day and have 2-3 fruits servings a day. Fruits and vegetables come in many different colours. There is green, blue, orange, red and so on. The colour of the fruit or vegetables indicates which antioxidant is dominant in the particular food. Vegetables and fruits are full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. These are needed in many of the body’s metabolism and aid in immune system and cell wall integrity. Aim for fruits and vegetables of different colours. Fill at least half your plates with these.

Meat and Alternatives

These include beans, nut, legumes, fish, poultry and lean meat. These are a good source of proteins and vitamin and minerals. Include these in moderation as indicated in the plate above. Plant proteins such as beans, nuts, and legumes are also a good source of fibre and can help you maintain a healthy weight.

Milk and Alternatives

These include regular milk (cow’s, goat’s or camel’s) as well as alternatives such as soy milk, almond milk, hemp milk or fortified rice milk and yoghurts. These are also good for as because they are a good source of calcium, protein and vitamins and minerals. You could purchase low fat and low sugar varieties. It is recommended that we have 2-3 servings of these in a day. If you are lactose intolerant then try some of the alternatives.

Fats and Oils

Not all oils are bad for you. Oils are a good source of energy and vitamins but we are generally eating too much of oil. It should be taken in moderation if we are managing our weight. Unsaturated fats are from plant sources and are healthier fats (oils). Taking unsaturated fats can help reduce blood cholesterol. Include healthy oils that are high in monounsaturated fats (avocadoes, olives, almonds, ground nuts) and polyunsaturated fats (oily fish, rapeseed oil, walnuts) and less o the saturated fats and trans fats (fatty meat, butter, lard, ghee, cheese). Remove the skin from chicken, reduce the intake of saturated fats. (offal, skin of poultry, animal fat, ghee, processed meat). Choose low fat spreads. Remember, all fats are high in energy and should be eaten in limited portions.


Aim to drink 6-8 glasses of fluid per day. Drink a lot of water throughout the day. Low fat milk and sugar-free drinks and soups can contribute towards your fluids for the day. Fruit juices and smoothies are a source of free sugars; limit intake to 150ml per day. Swap sugary drinks for diet, sugar-free or no added sugar varieties. ALCOHOL add to energy intake SHOULD BE LIMITED TO NO MORE THAN 14 UNITS PER WEEK.

Maintain a healthy weight:

Eat regular meals. Missing meals leads to over-eating or snacking later on in the day. Consider the amount of food you eat and the food choices you make. Plan ahead. Having healthy foods available in the kitchen mean making healthy food choices whenever you need to make a quick decision on what to eat. Drink a lot of water. Take in less energy (calories) from food and drinks, than the energy you use up in everyday activity and exercise. The key to successful weight loss is developing healthy diet and exercise habits. Diet means eating healthy, lower calorie meals. Exercise means being more physically active. Cleaning the house, making the bed, shopping, mowing and gardening are all forms of physical activity. Exercise, on the other hand, is a structured and repetitive form of physical activity that you do on a regular basis. At least 150min per week.

Eating Out

Try not to arrive too hungry at an event. This simple step helps you to make objective decisions when you out. You will be able to choose healthy food. Choose carefully. Don’t be pressured to eat all 3 courses. Stop eating when you are full. Don’t choose dessert until you have finished the main course. You may be too full after the main course but be pressured to eat some of the dessert because you already ordered it. Choose more veg, less fried foods and pastry, boiled rice not fried. Avoid creamy soups and sources. Reduce alcohol intake, choose diet drinks, fruit juice.

Healthy Cooking

Use very little oil as much as possible, boil, broil, roast or bake rather than fry. If you should fry, cut in bigger chunks. Reduce sugar intake. Avoid monosodium glutamate, use natural spices. Include a lot of vegetables. Remove skin from poultry, buy lean meat. Reduce processed meat intake. Limit red meat intake.

Way Forward

1. Swap snacks of fried plantain chips, crisps and biscuits in the morning and afternoon for fruit.

2. Cut down on high carbohydrate servings at meals and add more veg to the sauce.

3. Swap large unmeasured glass of wine for a measured 125ml glass of wine topped up with cold water.

4. Walk for 30 minutes at lunchtime rather than sitting at desk.

#health #Ghana #dietitian #nutritionist #living #lifestyle

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