Whole food eating for beginners
Whole foods are rich in vital nutrients. Consuming these nutrients every day not only reduces your risk of heart disease, cancer and other diseases, but it powers you to reach your full potential.
When you’re healthy and feeling energized your mental health benefits too so you really can live your best life.
Do you want to eat more whole foods but don’t know where to start? Here’s our guide to whole food eating for beginners.
What are whole foods?
Whole foods or ‘real foods’ are foods that haven’t been processed or have been processed very little. This food is in its natural state and hasn’t had any artificial ingredients added to it.
Some people who follow a whole foods diet choose to stick to plant-based foods such as fruit, vegetables, seeds, nuts, beans, oats and legumes. But a healthy whole food diet can include animal products such as eggs, cheese, milk, fish, and some unprocessed, lean meat.
Why eat whole foods?
A whole food diet is much better for you than eating processed foods which are usually high in sugar and saturated fat and low in nutritional value. Whole foods are naturally rich in vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre, unsaturated fats, protein and antioxidants.
Plus, if your diet is mainly plant-based, it’s better for the planet. Less water and land are needed for growing plants than rearing meat and pollution is reduced.
What food do I need to keep healthy?
A healthy diet means you need a balance of all the nutrients your body needs. To achieve this, you could plan your diet to include:
- 5 portions of fruit and vegetables each day. They’re an excellent source of all the nutrients your body needs, especially if you eat a wide variety.
- High fibre whole foods like avocado, raspberries, chickpeas, kale, lentils and kidney beans.
- Dairy products. There’s debate about whether dairy products are healthy or not but they are a good source of calcium and contain other nutrients essential for bone health, like vitamin D and phosphorus. This is especially important if osteoporosis runs in your family.
- Protein rich foods like oats, beans, peas, lentils, seeds, fish and lean cuts of meat.
How can I make time to eat well?
These days most of us are time poor, so the answer here is to be realistic and start small.
You could begin by introducing healthy snacks into your diet:
- Fruit and vegetables. For example, pineapple, melon, tomatoes and radishes.
- Protein-rich snacks like different types of nuts and seeds, hardboiled eggs and cheese.
- Dried fruit such as apricots, saltanas, prunes and dates.
- Humus dip with dippers like celery, cucumber or peppers, for example.
Start by making one whole food meal a week rather than trying to do it every day. Have a look at these whole food recipes from BBC GoodFood.
A quick and easy breakfast idea is to make a bowl of porridge and then top it with any nuts, fruits or seeds you choose (for example, toasted pecan nuts, dried cranberries, blackberries, grated apple or raspberries). Another day you could replace porridge with plain yoghurt and add a variety of toppings.
Oats are high in fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, so porridge is a healthy and easy start to the day. Likewise, plain yoghurt is a very healthy choice because it’s a rich source of vitamins B2 and B12, calcium, protein and zinc. It’s also important for gut health and supports your immune system.
Below we talk about buying frozen and dried foods to save money on shopping. Buying frozen and dried food also saves you time because you don’t have to go shopping as often.
How can I reduce my food bill?
Everybody is worried about the skyrocketing cost of food. The good news is that eating a healthy whole food diet, especially if it’s plant-based, can be a cost-effective choice. Consider opting for frozen whole foods which are usually cheaper than fresh, plus there’s no waste.
If you’re worried about the nutritional content of frozen food, don’t be. Eating frozen, doesn’t mean you compromise on nutrition. In fact, frozen food generally retains all its vitamins and minerals. That’s because frozen food is frozen straightaway, whereas fresh food is transported and sits on shop shelves. The nutritional value of fresh food depletes over time.
Most dehydrated or dried food also retains its nutritional value and it’s a cost-effective option.
Get the nutrients you need to flourish
The best way to get all the nutrients your body needs is through a healthy, whole food diet. We hope our guide to whole food eating for beginners has helped you to get started!
However, we understand that when you lead a busy life it’s not easy to eat well every day. So, if you’re worried you aren’t getting the vitamins and minerals you need, our food supplements can help.
Immunity contains 24 vital vitamins and minerals that not only strengthen your immune system but promote your overall wellness. This includes all the vitamin B12 you need each day to boost your energy levels, so you feel at your best, enjoy your life and thrive!