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Eating healthy on a budget is possible with proper preparation and creativity. Healthy ways to eat is something we’ve all heard one way or the other, guess it’s now a worn out cliché, but we all know the phrase “health is wealth”, so I don’t think it will be out of place if I stress on the importance of eating fresh and healthy. The benefits of a nutritionally sound lifestyle are countless and include decreased risk for and treatment of infections and disease, improved emotional well-being, healthy weight management and lengthened longevity. To improve your overall (physical and emotional) well-being, consider a healthy dietary lifestyle, it’s very essential. Function Healthy dietary lifestyles are chosen by people for variety of reasons. Healthy diets are often inclined toward weight management, prevention or management of illness, improved energy or sleep habits or toward maintaining current levels of health. A healthy diet should support health and help prevent the development of major chronic conditions. Features A healthy diet should contain an array of nutrient-dense foods, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean protein and modest amounts of healthy fat. Ideally, a healthy dietary regime will allow for flexibility and enjoyment of food so that an individual can follow the basic guidelines, whether dining at home, at the workplace or at a restaurant, without feeling bored, frustrated or deprived Benefits Benefits of a healthy diet include a strengthened immune system, improved body weight, energy and physical strength, improved emotional health and extended life expectancy.  A healthy diet is essential to preventing cardiovascular disease. To reap most benefits, consume a variety of fresh, healthy foods regularly. 5 tips on how to eat fresh and healthy 1. Prepare ahead for the week Make a plan of what you will eat a few days ahead, you can write down recipes for at least three meals a day, for a whole week 2. Get the basics Have something from each of the major food groups:  Grains, vegetables, fruit, lean meats, fish, and dairy products. Look at a food pyramid for reference. 3. Research what is in season Knowing which products are at the peak of freshness during each season can be of great help 4. Make it a habit Eating healthy on a budget is as much a choice as it is a habit. Stick to making your own food at least five days out of the week. Considerations Though a healthy, balanced diet is recommended for everyone, the specific details may vary depending upon your own personal needs and goals. If you are at risk for heart disease, obesity or diabetes, a healthy dietary plan that emphasizes heart health and weight management is key. Those with food allergies or intolerances or who have medical conditions that affect one’s diet may have to pay special attention to nutrients or ingredients.  People require different amounts of nutrients and calories depending on age, activity level, body size and whether one is pregnant, menopausal or, in the case of children, still developing. Consume a variety of nutrient-rich foods regularly, including fruits and vegetables, grains, starchy vegetables, fish, lean poultry, legumes, nuts, seeds and unsaturated oils. Consume modest amounts of fat with each meal, while avoiding deep-fried foods, red meat, whole milk and processed foods which contain saturated fats and may increase risk for diseases.

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This article was first published on 13th July 2012 and updated on July 17th, 2012 at 9:06 am

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