What is Healthy Eating?
The secret to good health is combining a balanced eating plan with daily physical activity. If you get the basics of healthy eating right, you’ll be on the right path.
Know your food groups
Foods are categorised into major groups based on the key nutrients they contain. These groups are:
- Bread and Cereals
- Dairy products and alternatives
- Meats and meat alternatives
Each different food group contains unique nutrients the body needs, so it’s important to choose a variety of different foods from each of these food groups.
Eating small amounts of a variety of different foods each day will help provide all the nutrients you need in the right amounts.
A healthy eating pattern also includes fluids, so make sure you drink plenty of still, sparkling or lightly flavoured waters or tea daily. If you’re watching your weight, limit your intake of sugar-sweetened beverages like soft drinks and large fruit juices, which can be an unnecessary source of kilojoules.
What is gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in certain grains including wheat, oats, rye, barley, spelt and triticale. Any foods that contain these grains or ingredients made from them will contain gluten.
Muffin Break NZ’s gluten free muffins were specially designed for people who need to avoid gluten in their diet.
Different fats in food
The body needs a small amount of fat each day for good health. But not all fats were created equal. Some fats have benefits for the body (omega-3, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats) while others are not good for the body (saturated fat and trans fat).
Eating small meals and snacks regularly throughout the day helps maintain steady blood glucose levels, which can help sustain energy levels, prevent fatigue and improve concentration.
The best snack foods are ones that help you meet your daily nutritional needs, providing carbohydrate for energy, protein for growth and important healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and fibre. These include:
- Wholegrain bread and crackers
- Fresh fruit
- Fruit scones or fruit loaf
- Low fat milk drinks, smoothies, yoghurt or custard
- Chopped vegetable sticks and healthy dips
- Nuts and dried fruit
Variety is the key when it comes to healthy snacking, so the occasional indulgence as part of a healthy balanced eating plan is fine as well. But remember that because snacks can make up a significant part of your daily food intake.
Food labels can provide useful information on the ingredients that make up your food, including the amount of nutrients the food contains. Understanding the information on a food label helps you to decide how an individual food fits into your daily eating pattern. All food labels contain the following:
- Nutritional information panel
- Ingredient list
- Allergen statement
Health Benefits of Tea and Coffee
The good news for tea and coffee lovers is that recent research shows antioxidant-rich tea and coffee have positive effects on the body.
Research shows that tea is rich in polyphenol antioxidants that may help keep you healthy for longer by promoting heart and bone health and assisting to maintain healthy teeth. Tea has also been shown to have positive effects on maintaining alertness throughout the day, while also evoking feelings of relaxation.
Green, black and oolong tea have all been shown to have positive health effects.
Our roasted coffee beans are a rich source of chlorogenic antioxidants. It is the antioxidant content of coffee that is thought to be responsible for many of its health benefits.
Coffee has been shown to reduce the risk of many chronic diseases and help maintain blood glucose levels and a healthy weight.
It also contains caffeine, a substance that stimulates the central nervous system and which may in turn be responsible for enhancing learning, memory, performance and coordination.
To help maintain a healthy digestive system, a diet rich in dietary fibre is essential. Fibre-rich foods include vegetables, fruits, wholegrain breads and cereal products, nuts and legumes.
There are three main types of fibre found in foods, all of which have different functions in the body. For the best effects on digestive health, all of these are essential to a healthy diet:
- Insoluble fibre
- Soluble fibre
- Resistant starch
Fibre-rich foods can also help keep you feeling fuller for longer, meaning you don’t get hungry as often. For the best digestive functioning, it is recommended that people eat at least 30 grams of fibre each day.
It is important to be active in as many ways as you can throughout the day to maintain a healthy weight. Along with daily activity, aim to include 30-60 minutes of moderate intensity exercise several days of the week to boost your physical fitness.
Low Fat muffin varieties are the perfect choice for anyone watching their kilojoule intake, containing less than 18% of your daily kilojoule needs per muffin.
Looking after your heart is essential for long-term health and wellbeing. For optimal heart health include a variety of different foods to make sure you get enough fibre, omega-3 fats and antioxidants. Heart healthy foods to enjoy regularly include:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Nuts and seeds
- Soy products
- Vegetable oils
These foods contain a variety of unique substances that protect the heart and help maintain blood cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
Maintaining blood glucose levels
The body works more efficiently when it has a regular supply of fuel from foods and drinks, to keep blood glucose levels steady throughout the day.
Both the amount and types of food that are eaten can impact on blood glucose levels, so that’s why small meals and snacks are recommended rather than eating large quantities of food all at once.
Foods that are digested slower by the body, such as high protein or high fibre foods, can also improve blood glucose control. Another aspect of a food that slows the rate of digestion is its glycemic index (GI) value.
Including some lower GI choices at each meal of the day, like grainy breads, oats, dairy products, some fruits, sweet potato, corn and pasta, can help keep your body functioning at its best.
For the highest fibre muffins in the Muffin Break NZ range, try our Soy & Linseed and Bran muffin varieties. They’re delicious to eat and contain over one third of your daily fibre needs in each muffin.