Eating is a need, eating healthy is a science. The Centre for Disease Control (CDC) from the United States, confirmed that the habit of healthy eating can improve your health in many ways: boost immunity, supports muscles and strengthens

bones, help the digestive system function, and maintain a healthy weight. Also, a good diet can lower the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and some types of cancer. 

As we try to eat healthily, there are four steps to achieve this goal that I want to share with you: 

1. Eat your greens. Eat as many vegetables as you can. Fruits and vegetables are the best sources of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that protect us from many health issues and prevent the worst illnesses like cancer. The recommendation is to eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day, here’s how to achieve those portions: Choose a rainbow of colors when it comes to fruits and vegetables, like mango, pineapple, banana, jackfruit, eggplant, or green vegetables like lettuce, broccoli, okra, and spinach. Add a handful of vegetables to rice dishes, soups, and stews.

2.   Choose your carbs. Usually, our diet has plenty of refined carbs that increase the risk of diabetes and hypertension. To take advantage of the benefits of carbs, choose to eat more whole grain foods. Consider eating brown rice, wild rice, basmati rice, or quinoa all of which are high in fiber and ultimately help to keep your digestive system working well. Reduce the portion size of processed carbs: chips, white bread, fries, pasta, etc.

3.  Good fats. To balance the level of sugar in our body, we should include a good source of fats. We can eat different kinds of nuts, avocado, olive oil, peanuts. These ingredients will improve the development of our mind as they provide good fats and vitamins like E that also help our skin and nails. 

4.   Eat sufficient protein. Even if you eat animal protein or a plant-based diet, it is important to include a good source of protein. It can be veggie meat, bean, lentils, chickpeas, etc.

Here are some tips that you can follow:

a. Use beans in stews to replace some (or all) of the meat (animal protein).

b. Add seeds to your stews and soups.

c. Cut off any visible excess fat and skin from meat before cooking.

d. Grill or roast your proteins instead of frying.

Finally, limit the intake of foods that are high in fat, sugar, and salt. These are linked to the increased risk of certain diseases such as diabetes, stroke, and heart disease, all of which are prevalent among the black and Caribbean communities.

To reduce consumption of these types of foods, follow the tips below:

· Use fresh herbs and spices instead of salted seasonings.

· Make your seasoning rather than using ready-made seasonings, which are usually very high in salt and Monosodium glutamate (MSG). Once you follow these four steps, you’ll have a nutritious meal that improves your health and cover all the nutrients that your body needs.

--This article was written by Mrs. Evelyn Cang-Franklyn, Nutritionist