Food marketers and fitness proponents, both are cashing in on the consumer anxiety and fetish with health. Yet, junk foods and several other foods with no nutrition are hogging shelf space in markets. From the health and environmental perspectives, there are foods that one should certainly eat, and others that one should definitely avoid. Little points of caution, like not having meals in a hurry, reading the label to look for and avoid “fruit flavours”, and even giving in to your craving for a full scoop of ice-cream sometimes can bring a quality difference in your food habits
Remember when you were a kid and eating was as simple as “Open, chew, enjoy”? You didnt count the grams of fibre and fat. You munched when you were hungry, stopped when you were full. But choosing a meal as a health-minded adult can be complicated and joyless. Here are some common-sense rules that make eating right as easy as pie.
1. If you cant grow it, dont eat it.
A potato comes from the ground, an egg from a hen. But where did packaged food come from? It is unprocessed and whole foods that give you most benefits and processing takes out nutrients such as antioxidants and fibre.
2. Read the back of the box first.
The front of packaged food is all advertising. Flip it around for the real story. The more the number of ingredients, the more likely it has visited a few processing plants where something artificial was mixed in, so give it a miss.
3. The crunchier, the better.
Snacks that offer a big, satisfying crunch when you bite into them—apples, raw salad and nuts, not chips—keep your mouth busy longer than the liquids you drink. The more you chew, the slower you eat and the more time your body has to register fullness, so you stay healthy.
4. A frozen berry beats a fresh burger.
Purchasing organic local produce is better for both the environment and your health, but when fresh produce is not available, dont default to packaged food. Frozen, canned and fresh fruit all have comparable amounts of nutrients. In India, fresh, seasonal and local food is always available.
5. Theres no fruit in “fruit flavour”.
Seeing flavour on a label is a sign the food was stripped of its real taste and a fabricated one swapped in. Natural only means the additive came from a plant or an animal, which may not be as healthy as it sounds. Scientists create flavours using bacteria and call them “natural”.
6. You cant replace real ice cream.
When youre craving real ice cream, no amount of fat-free ice treat will make up for it. Diet foods leave you feeling hungry and cheated. Splurge on one scoop of the real deal and savour it. Youll be satisfied physically and psychologically.
7. Judge food by its cover.
When you have to hack through layers of packaging and plastic to get to the food, it is likely to be unhealthy.
8. Table your meals.
As much sitting as we do, we rarely stay put during dinner. Fifty-nine percent of young people eat on the run, a study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association finds, and on-the-go eaters consume more total fat, as well as more soda and fast food. The less distracted and stressed you are when you dine, the more efficiently your body absorbs nutrients.
9. Fuel up in the morning, not at night.
A car needs gas when its hitting the road, not when its sitting in the garage—so why do we have our biggest meal when the only energy burner on the agenda is working the TV remote? Instead, aim for a 550-calorie breakfast, a 500-calorie lunch, a 450-calorie dinner and a 100-calorie snack. If you overeat at night, youre less likely to burn off the calories.
Tackle food poisoning the right way
We get food poisoning from eating food that contains harmful bacteria, viruses or poisonous substances known as toxins.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of food poisoning can vary, depending on what has caused it.
Common symptoms include nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps and diarrhoea, and sometimes fever.
The symptoms usually last for just a couple of days but, occasionally, food poisoning can be very serious and can even cause death. So make sure you avoid food poisoning with good food hygiene.
Find out how to avoid food poisoning
There are three main things to consider when you have food poisoning:
Rehydration – drink plenty of fluids and use rehydration powders, which you can get from any pharmacy
Stop the spread – wash your hands regularly, especially after going to the toilet and before preparing food. This will help stop the infection from spreading to other people. If possible, its best to avoid preparing food for anyone else. If you work with a food business, you must tell your manager if you have diarrhoea or vomiting.
Medical assistance – if you are concerned about your health or the health of someone else, contact your General Physician for advice (especially in the case of pregnant women, elderly people, children and people who are already ill)
Reporting – if you think that your illness was caused by food prepared outside the home, report the incident to your local health service. This is important so that the food-preparing conditions of the restaurant can be investigated by authorities responsible