When we think about eating more healthily, there’s a tendency these days to pick a trending diet and follow that. For instance, we might read up on the benefits of cutting out carbs and radically reduce our carbohydrate intake. Or we might have read about the virtues of eating raw foods and be tempted to switch to that. The trouble with these kinds of diets is that they are often hard to stick to. There’ll be certain dishes you miss eating and while you might keep up the new regime for a while, it’s hard to keep it going longer-term.
Instead of committing to one particular dieting trend, seek inspiration from different healthy cuisines around the world. That way, you can pick and mix some interesting dishes from different countries, alongside exercising moderation and portion control of your traditional mealtime favorites.
The Spanish have always enjoyed a good reputation when it comes to healthy food. Much of the Spanish diet is high in fiber and low in fat. Pulses, fresh vegetables, oily fish, seafood and olive oil feature heavily in the national diet, while portion control is a habit that has been cultivated thanks to the Spanish love of tapas – a range of savory dishes consumed in one sitting, but in small portions. Unlike the all-you-can-eat buffet approach, tapas bars encourage customers to order a few dishes at a time to share. The flavors of dishes result in a taste extravaganza and taking a pause before ordering further dishes allows you to realise you might not need the extra portions.
In Japan, the emphasis is on moderation, balance and variety and the diet has a lot of cancer-fighting fruit and veg in it. Staples include soy-based foods, yams and mushrooms, green tea and seaweed. Many of these are high in anti-oxidants and minerals such as calcium, zinc and copper. Japanese food is also often cooked by healthy methods, by quick-frying or steaming dishes. A philosophy that many Japanese follow is “hara hachi bu” – eating until you feel 80% full. Thanks to the many Japanese takeaway possibilities in almost every city on the planet today, there’s no need to learn how to cook the speciality dishes yourself, though this can be quite fun if you like experimenting in the kitchen.
Thai cooking features ingredients that are linked to better digestion and boosting the immune system. Many dishes contain ginger, lemongrass and turmeric, each with its own health benefits. The antioxidants from shrimp, coriander and the spices mentioned above can all help to reduce cancer risk. The Thai diet has a lot of fresh green vegetables and seafood in it too and, in addition to the plethora of tasty dishes, it makes for great comfort food. If you’re feeling under the weather with a cough or cold, there’s nothing like a Tom Yum soup to clear out your sinuses and soothe a sore throat.
Source: Thaija vu via Facebook
Next time you’re tempted to throw in your lot with the latest dieting craze, take a moment to consider whether a less extreme path might be better and simply adopt some healthy eating practices from around the world instead.