Health » To Get Slim Fit and Healthy You Need To Transform Your Eating Habits

To Get Slim Fit and Healthy You Need To Transform Your Eating Habits

Alva2 gifAlready you may be thinking, “Oh no, is Alva going to suggest we eat boring tasteless food?”   Not at all.  If you can find the right recipes you do not need to compromise on flavour or go hungry. We all know where eating too much factory processed food will lead. 


In the past we may have been able to eat big meals but in the modern world of less activity we all need to change the way we eat.

This is the new challenge: to eat healthy 90% of the time. In this article I will sum up the key to healthy eating.


Dealing With the Time Factor 

Most single people work very long hours as the pressure is on young people to build a career. Mums are busy and many work also. We can see the results of unhealthy eating all around us. It is called the spare tire. The solution is to produce quick healthy meals that taste delicious and are filling.


Portion Control

Portion sizes have grown and grown, both at home and in the restaurant industry. Portion control is the backbone of keeping your weight down.  A healthy portion size that should be consumed at any one meal is no more food than you can hold in your two cupped hands. Put your food on your plate and then say, no thank you, to second helpings. You goal is to have a balanced plate of colourful food with the right balance of carbohydrates, protein and vegetables for your main meal. If you eat too much you will feel full and sleepy.   

Check your plate of food; half the food on your plate should be vegetables and a quarter carbohydrates and a quarter proteins. This is the science simplified but if you try this you will feel healthy and energetic.


Keep your plate colourful 

The wonderful colours of fruit and vegetables are there to be attractive to advertise their goodness. You should always eat a rainbow.  Half your plate should always be salad or vegetables. Fruit should be eaten daily. Fruit and vegetables protect you from illness and aging. Always offer fruit after a meal.


Understanding Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates give you energy. Carbohydrates come from plants and are broken down in the body to produce energy. There are two kinds of carbohydrates, complex and simple. 

Complex carbohydrates are the ones we want in our daily diet. These give us good, long term energy. They are found in whole grains such as oats, bran, barley, brown rice, rye, spelt and potatoes with their skins; and vegetables such as beans and lentils 


Simple carbohydrates are the ones we need to only eat occasionally, not as the basis of our meals. These include white bread, white rice and sugar. The reason we want to avoid these are because they have been processed to make them white and much of the goodness has been taken away. For example, we do not want wheat for our bread that has been de-husked and bleached white, and stripped of nutrients and fibre that our bodies need for good digestion. Simple carbohydrates such white bread, biscuits and cakes give us spikes of energy.  They can be quickly digested. They can be quickly converted into glucose and this is released into the blood steam quickly. This creates a peak of energy followed by a drop in energy which makes us feel like eating more food to regain the feeling of energy. 


Complex carbohydrates in their natural form are healthy, fill you up more and slowly release energy over time.   Complex carbohydrates deliver energy just as nature intended. Try and persuade your family to try brown rice; it has a lovely nutty flavour and makes everyone feel full and satisfied longer. Carbohydrates should fill a quarter of your plate. 


We Need To Eat Lean Protein to Repair and Build Organs

Protein should be included in your main meal of the day and should cover a quarter of your plate. It is vital for good health and wellbeing.  Good protein sources include lean meat and fish, and chickpeas, beans and lentils, tofu, nuts and seeds. 


Fat is Essential 

Many people try and banish fats to lose weight but some fats are essential for cell reproduction; so banishing all fat would endanger your health. Essential fats cannot be produced by our bodies and are key to good health. You need at least a tablespoon per day of essential fats such as fatty acids found in vegetable oils, eggs, avocados, nuts and meat.

Omega-3 fatty acids are found only in oily fish, soy, beans, nuts and seeds. Walnuts are also a good source. It is a good idea to use lots of different oils in your cooking such as olive oil, ground nut oil, coconut oil and grape seed, sesame and avocado oils. This way your family receives the benefits of lots of different oils.


The unhealthiest fats are Trans fats which are made in factories by turning a liquid oil into a solid through a process called hydrogenation. These have been shown in studies to raise cholesterol. They are made because they are cheap to produce and have a long shelf life. They are used in ready-made cakes and ready-made meals. I would always prefer a little butter on my bread.


Finally, think of your plate in four quarters: two quarters should be vegetables and one quarter protein and one quarter carbohydrates. Then you have a healthy plate and you will soon feel the benefits in terms of healthy weight and good energy. 

Ask Alva

I am only 30 years old and I am worried about my hair thinning. I have 2 boys aged 4 and 2. And I am busy working too. I wonder if my hair loss is caused by tiredness and stress. Maha


Hair can fall after the birth of a child but this is hormonal hair loss and the hair will grow back. Hair needs protein to grow and a healthy diet: you can download a healthy eating plan from Stress can also cause hair loss as a lot of tension is stored in the scalp which restricts the flow of nutrients to the hair follicles. Email for a fact sheet on scalp massage. Try to avoid stress by taking time to relax and make time for exercise. Alva

“HEALTHLINES is a monthly column devoted to healthy living, diet and exercise. Reader’s questions (send them to are appreciated and a selection will be replied to in the column by Alva Carpenter, a nutrition and fitness expert with long experience of health problems associated with Gulf countries. Alva trained in optimal nutrition in London. She counselled ladies in Dubai on how to successfully manage their weight. She now has a counselling service on slimming, diet, and exercise, based in Somerset, England. Readers can visit for more information on healthy living.”


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