Reviewed by Dr Angelica L Dumapit and Physician Jolene Chong
5 Healthy Diet Tips for Health and Wellness in the New Year
Published | 6 min read
A healthy diet is key to our overall health and wellness. Following a balanced plan also allows for flexibility and fun in our diets.
Consuming a healthy diet can help you to both lose and maintain a healthy weight. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2020–2025, a healthy eating plan consists of eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins such as poultry, lean meats, fish, and legumes as well as eating foods that are low in saturated fats and added sugars.
However, there are many dieting myths and misconceptions surrounding weight loss that doesn’t even consider its impact on our health. These can include starving yourself, cutting out essential food groups, skipping meals, overexercising, and taking diet pills.
Not only are these suggestions false – they can cause both immediate and lingering health issues, too. A healthy diet is not about removing foods or dubbing them as “bad.” It is about establishing a relationship with food to nourish and support your mind and body.
5 Healthy Diet Plan Basics
We share five healthy diet tips to maintain a healthy diet – this year – and beyond.
1. Change the way you think about dieting
First, dismiss everything you think you know about dieting as a means to lose weight. You’ve probably learned that being on a diet means restricting certain foods and only eating certain types, or even only at certain times during the day.
While it is important to eat a balanced and healthy diet, deprivation can cause you to crave foods high in fat and sugar, leading you to weight gain. You might even be depriving your body of nutrients that are considered fattening, such as meat and carbs.
2. Portion size is key
The key to a healthy diet is moderation! You can focus on eating based on your age, sex, height, weight, and daily activity level. All types of foods can be part of your healthy diet when you consume them in moderate portions. You can try this simple healthy plate guide:
- Divide your plate into four parts.
- Fill the first quarter with grains (rice, noodles, bread, potatoes, etc.).
- Then, fill the second quarter with protein (meat, fish, eggs, etc.).
- Finally, the remaining half is filled with vegetables and fruits.
- Some diets also account for a small portion of dairy.
3. Try the 80/20 rule
There are so many amazing foods out there. Give yourself a break by following the 80/20 rule. This diet plan allows you to indulge – but only 20% of the time! Meaning, you will follow a well-balanced diet 80% of the time (six days a week). During that one “cheat” day, you can treat yourself to foods you like but may not be necessarily healthy – such as cookies, cakes, ice cream, or chips. This allows for balance, fun, and variety in your diet. It also encourages you to focus on the “big picture” plan of eating healthy while also offering flexibility when you need it.
4. Consume water and herbal drinks
Staying hydrated is also part of a healthy diet plan. Sometimes we have cravings when we are actually dehydrated. The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine suggests men should drink 15.5 cups of fluids a day and women should drink 11.5 cups a day.
To increase your water intake, naturally sweeten it with some lemon or orange slices. You can also add herbs to regulate physiological functions and promote metabolisms such as Chinese Angelica (radix angelicae sinensis, danggui), cnidium (rhizoma chuanxiong) and red dates (fructus jujube, hong zao). Additionally, supplemental drinks can also be great for your liquid intake and weight management.
5. Prepare and cook your own food
Taking the time to prepare and cook your food has been scientifically proven to help you lose weight. A study at Johns Hopkins University found that people who consume food at home eat healthier and consume fewer calories. This awareness even translates to eating in restaurants, where these same home cooks, eat less when they go out to eat.
A great way to understand food, cooking can be a family activity where everyone learns to pitch in and create delicious, healthy meals together. This is also beneficial for kids where they can develop healthy eating habits at a young age.
Healthy Diets According to TCM
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), our daily diet should have balanced nutrition to maintain health, prevent diseases, and promote longevity. Ancient TCM monographs like those in the Canon of Yellow Emperor, Shennong’s Classic of Materia Medica, Invaluable Prescriptions for Ready Reference, Principles of Correct Diet have discussed in detail how diet plays a significant role in human’s physiology, pathology, health maintenance, and treatment of diseases.
Pay attention to proper proportions
In TCM, grains, meat, vegetables, and fruits in proper proportions are key to ensuring that our body is functioning at optimal levels.
Balanced nutritional eating
TCM Physician Jolene Chong from Eu Yan Sang TCM Clinic offers a few nutritional tips for a balanced diet:
Consume foods that are well cooked to ensure food safety and avoid contamination from arising
- Avoid foods and drinks that are cold, raw, oily, too sweet, spicy, or deep-fried
- Choose low-fat and low-sodium foods
- Go for a light diet with more fruits and vegetables, but keep balanced nutrition in mind
- Observe the intake of rich foods such as organ meats and seafood
- Ensure regular mealtimes and drink
sufficient water(approximately 2 liters) every day
Physician Chong shares that there are also many lipid-lowering
“Apart from observing a healthy diet, smooth bowel movement also helps promote metabolism,” she says, adding that regular exercise, good sleep quality, and maintaining a happy mood are also important.
Healthy eating doesn’t have to be complicated or restrictive. Our bodies need to be nourished to function and thrive. Learning how to eat healthy, instead of avoiding food, is one of the best ways towards living a healthy and happy life.
This is an adaptation of an article, “两大要诀- 如何与你的食物和平共处？ (Two tips: how to live in peace with your food?)”, which first appeared on Health 123 website.
- Boston Medical Center. 2019. Weight Management. [Accessed on January 13, 2022]
- CDC. 2022. Healthy Eating for a Healthy Weight. [Accessed on January 13, 2022]
- MyPlate Plan. 2022. MyPlate Plan. [Accessed on January 13, 2022]
- John Hopkins Center. 2015. Study Suggests Home Cooking is a Main Ingredient in Healthier Diet. [Accessed on January 13, 2022]
- Cleveland Clinic. 2020. How Much Water Do You Need Daily?. [Accessed on January 13, 2022]
Share this article on
Was This Article Useful to You?
Want more healthy tips?
Get All Things Health in your mailbox today!