The old saying goes that good health starts with the mouth – which means taking care of teeth and food. And when it comes to how to eat healthy , it is common to have many doubts.

If you are aiming for a healthier diet this year that is starting and you are at this point of not knowing very well how to deal with meals and food itself, come with us! We extracted from the Ministry of Health ‘s “ Food Guide for the Brazilian Population ”, the seven best tips for being successful when eating.

Use fresh or minimally processed foods as the basis of your diet

They are those obtained directly from plants or animals without undergoing any change (in natura) or that have undergone a minimal cleaning process, removal of non-edible or undesirable parts or, still, that have been fractionated, ground, dried, fermented, pasteurized, chilled or frozen without adding salt, sugar, oils, fats or other substances (minimally processed).

Examples: vegetables, fruits, roots, rice (white, whole or parboiled), corn (in grain or on the cob), beans and other legumes, mushrooms (fresh or dried), nuts and other oilseeds (without salt and without sugar) ), spices, flour, meat (chilled or frozen), milk (liquid or powder), eggs and water.

Limit processed foods to meal supplements

They are foods modified by the industry with the addition of salt, sugar or any other substance for culinary use, usually with the aim of making them more durable or pleasant to the taste. Although the basic identity of the food is maintained, the processing causes it to lose important nutrients. Therefore, they should be used in small quantities, as supplements to the foods in the previous item.

Examples: canned foods (carrots, cucumbers, peas, hearts of palm, onions, etc.), tomato paste and sauces, syrup fruits, dried meat, canned sardines and tuna.

Avoid consumption of ultra-processed foods

To last longer, these foods are made with oxidation-resistant fats, such as saturated fats (from some vegetable oils) and hydrogenated fats (which contain trans fats). Their main problem is that, little by little, they tend to clog the arteries that carry blood through the body, reaching mainly the heart. Ultra-processed foods are also low in fiber and nutrients in general, that is, they have little or no nutritional value. The ideal is not to consume them or to consume them in very small quantities and not daily.

Examples: stuffed cookies, packaged snacks, soft drinks, instant noodles.

Prioritize water as a drink

To quench thirst throughout the day and to finish meals, the best drink for your health is water; the flavored water or flavored, “spiced” with fruit, can be a nice alternative. The idea is that you reduce the consumption of juices (which lose many of the nutrients in fruits and carry an excess of sugars – natural, but sugars) and soft drinks (which have no nutritional value, are pure sugar and sodium).

Flavored water

Observe the state of the food when you buy it

It is essential that the food is in good condition. Follow these tips when buying them at specific markets, fairs, grocery stores and stores (greengrocers, butchers and fishmongers, for example):

– Fruits, vegetables and greens – must not have damaged, crushed, moldy parts or with altered coloring or texture;

– Fresh fish – must be refrigerated and have well-adhered scales or intact leather, pink gills and shiny, transparent eyes;

– Frozen fish – must be properly packaged and kept at appropriate temperatures. If there is an accumulation of water or ice inside the packaging, do not buy it, as there is a high risk that it will be defrosted and frozen again;

– Meats – must have a bright red tone (meat of cattle) or a bright light tone (poultry), firm texture and well-adhered and clear fat. They must not be darkened or greenish in color, unpleasant smell or altered consistency

– Packaged foods – must be within the expiration date, in sealed packaging and free from dents, holes or stuffed areas. The content should not show changes in color, smell or consistency.

Conserve food properly

Non-perishable foods (such as rice, corn, beans, flours in general, oils, sugar, salt, powdered milk) should be stored in a dry and ventilated place, at room temperature and away from sunlight.

Foods that spoil more easily should be kept refrigerated (meat, eggs, milk, cheese, butter and most fruits, vegetables and legumes) or frozen (raw meats and preparations such as cooked beans).

Ready meals stored for the next meal should be kept in the refrigerator.

Pay attention to the “mood” of each meal

There are three golden keys to eating meals in a healthy environment:

– Eat regularly and attentively – the ideal is to have meals always at the same times and without “pinching” in your breaks. In addition, eating slowly, paying attention to the taste and texture of the food, without involving any other activity at this time (work, social networks on cell phones, etc.);

– Eating in appropriate environments – clean, comfortable and quiet places, without exaggerated incentives to consume large or unlimited amounts of food;

– Eating together – eating is a social act. Therefore, whenever possible, eat accompanied by family, friends, co-workers or study. This is good for mental health, which is just as important as physical health.



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