Diet. It’s that one word many people from all around the world are all too familiar with. You may have either partaken in a diet, (often many times over) know someone who has “tried and failed”, or are exploring options for it. Most of us acknowledge that looking good is a sure way to boost confidence; however, when considering a diet, feeling good is the most essential aspect you should be looking for. This is why a long-term and nutritious diet is the best choice. So what is the most nutritious diet plan? We explore some of the schools of thought and look at what you can do to find a nutrition plan that will not only help you look good in time, but also feel better too.
Recognising a good diet
With so many diets to choose from, it can be hard to identify one that fits in with your lifestyle, is easy to follow, and can be maintained. Endocrinologist at The University of Adelaide, Professor Gary Wittert says that focusing on healthy habits is most important.
“People should not focus on weight, people should focus on health. Then you don’t engage in these diets where you restrict your nutrients, and where people get depressed because they regain weight, which is almost an inevitability,” he told ABC news.
A non-diet approach
When asking a Dietitian or Nutritionist what the best way to approach dieting it is, most will agree that the vast majority of diets do not lead to a high result of long-term and sustained weight loss. The reason is that diets are viewed as “fads” and the best methodology for prolonged success is by viewing your diet as a lifestyle change. Once someone adapts their attitude positively towards food and exercise, a non-diet approach will always appear to be most effective.
Some key methods of a non-diet approach may include (but not limited to):
- Nourish your body with as many organic and whole foods as possible (the closer to the earth food comes from, the better it is for you)
- “Love the skin you’re in” – your body shape is something you can’t change (nor are your genes) so embrace the body you have
- Do not deprive yourself of food that you enjoy. Be mindful that everything should be consumed in moderation and monitor your portion sizes as to not overindulge
- Trust your body signals when it comes to thirst, hunger and fullness
- Incorporate exercise that is enjoyable and invigorating into your weekly routine
- Always set realistic goals when it comes to health and fitness by taking into account your lifestyle and time constraints
- Plan, plan, plan. Preparation can save you not only time but money as well
- Celebrate your successes, no matter how small
Inclusive plan for the whole family
An article in the 2014 April edition of “Today’s Dietician”, suggests that “evidence shows long-term, healthy behaviour changes are most successful when the entire family is involved”. Most people when they think back to a time when they have tried to make a positive change in their life could most likely attest to this statement. After all, there is strength in numbers.
Some of the considerations when trying to incorporate a new diet into a family household could be:
- Accounting for, and customising a plan based on everyone’s varied tastes and (where applicable) allergies
- Ensuring enough time for planning and preparation (let’s face it, we live in a fast-paced world where time is of the essence)
- Tailoring a plan to the household budget. Researching where to find the freshest yet still affordable produce is a great idea
- Keeping each other accountable and motivated/excited about the shared journey
- Setting realistic goals about what you all want to achieve and supporting each other to achieve these as a team. It is all about setting yourself and your family up for success
So what is the most nutritious diet plan that is easy to follow?
When asking what is the most nutritious diet plan, a large body of evidence shows that the Mediterranean diet is a good choice. There have been many studies since the 1970’s on its benefits. It focuses on seasonality, local produce and meals that can be enjoyed by the whole family. It is highly beneficial for nutrition and long-term health. Researchers have concluded that the Mediterranean Diet can aid in weight loss and assist in the prevention of heart attacks, reverse the effects of type two diabetes, strokes and metabolic syndrome.
A US News & World Report recently ranked The Mediterranean Diet as #1 Best Diet Overall (a tie with the DASH Diet out of 35 measured diets). This way of eating could be a winner in your household, especially if health reasons are motivating you to give “dieting” a try.
The Mediterranean Food Pyramid
Signature foods in the Mediterranean Diet include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and olive oil. Moderate consumption of fish, poultry and red wine are also included. Red meat, sugar and salt intake are reduced.
The Mediterranean Food Pyramid is supported by entities such as The International Union of Nutritional Sciences. It is also supported by the International Commission on the Anthropology of Food, and Nutrition and The Hebrew University (to name a few). This is an easy-to-read Pyramid. It is designed to assist busy families to understand which foods to include in the diet, as well as a guideline for physical activity.
The Mediterranean way of eating is not ‘prescriptive’ in nature and allows for flexibility suited to your family’s needs. It encourages enjoyment of food and good company. What’s not to love about that? It is this flexibility that makes it one of the best ‘diets’ that you can maintain long-term. It provides you with nutritious options and gives you the energy you need each day.
Understand more about the Mediterranean Diet
If you are interested in more vibrant health for yourself and your family, then we can help here at Tree of Life Nutrition! We are Mediterranean Diet specialists, and would love to introduce you to healthy and enjoyable eating, the Mediterranean way. We are always available to chat with you about how to implement Mediterranean eating into your life. Why not book a one on one consult to see how we can help?