Healthy Food Choices and Role of Advertisements

By Masoomi S.Nevgi

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                              We all want to follow a healthy lifestyle and be safe from diseases, and the situation of the pandemic makes this all the more important. But what exactly is leading a healthy lifestyle? What are the factors that influence our lifestyle and how do they influence it? 

A healthy lifestyle is one in which both mental and physical being of a person are being taken care of. It keeps you fit, energetic and immune to most diseases. Living a healthy lifestyle allows you to be happier, lead a longer life and explore many more aspects of life. But health is not all about being immune to diseases, it also comprises mental and social well- being of a person.  

A healthy and nutritious diet is a major part of a healthy lifestyle. Eating good and nutritious food not only gives you the necessary energy but also gives you the mental satisfaction of being healthy. Eating is one activity in which many of your skills are also well developed such as good table manners, speaking to waiters and cooking staff, sharing food, planning your diet etc. These skills thus, help enhance our social well-being, thereby keeping us healthy all around.  

But planning a nutrient filled yet tasty diet can be as difficult as it sounds. We have all been told to eat a nutritious diet all our lives, and it’s also easy to forget how and why we should do it, but how many of us actually pay heed to it? Basically none! So, let’s all start from the very beginning…  

First, why should we eat a well-balanced diet? 

  • your energy levels will be optimized 
  • you’ll feel healthier, stronger and happier 
  • you’ll have a tough immune system 
  • your ability to think clearly and managing stress will develop 
  • your chances of developing serious disease will decrease. 

Secondly, we should all know that it’s all about balance. 

One need not get stressed or feel guilty about eating a piece of cake or cookie occasionally, A balanced diet is all about eating mostly healthy food in regular moderation along with a few junk foods to satisfy the taste buds. No food is off- limits in any balanced diet. All that matters is how often one eats it. No one should eat only high protein filled food every day or only eat food brimming with fats and calories. It should be a diet in between, no extreme ends!! 

Third come the three important foodie facts: –  

  • Drink water. Water constitutes 70% of our body and thus, should be a hands down choice whenever one feels thirsty. Soft drinks, cokes should all be an occasional treat. 
  • Don’t fear fats. Not all fats are the same since they play an important role in the nutrition triangle. But knowing to avoid saturated and trans- fat and accepting more unsaturated fats is also necessary. 
  • Cut down on sugar. Sugar intake for an average adult is less than 10% of one’s total daily calories. Roughly one can of coke makes up for it so, one should intently keep an eye on the sweet stuff especially the sweet toothed ones. 

Fourth, how can one change his/her eating habits? It’s never easy, but with the right attitude, it can be done 

  • Don’t rush into changing your diet right away. Take it slow and steady 
  • Begin with small and achievable goals  
  • Experiment with various foods to know which ones suit you the best.  
  • Have cheat treats occasionally so that you don’t feel deprived 

Lastly, what factors influence our food choices? 

There are a number of factors that influence our food choices but advertising takes the prize. Most of us have at least once in our life eaten a product or tried it out after seeing advertisements about it. So, it’s not difficult to understand how advertising of eatables influences our food choices and food habits. Studies show that almost all the youth population of the world is most likely to eat a healthy food item only if it’s advertised in colorful banners that its healthy. Impressive, isn’t it?  

  1. Common strategies used to market foods: – 
  • Nutrient claims like Calcium can help built strong bones. 
  • Colorful and bright eye- catching pictures. 
  • Taglines, and jingles that are easy to recollect 
  • Free, discounts and sale 
  • Influential people as spokespersons 
  1. Effects of watching such advertisements 
  • Increased demands for foods shown on TV 
  • Switching over to food items eaten by influential people on TV 
  • Following celebrity diets 
  • More demand on instant energy and fast foods 
  1. What can be done? 
  • Do not blindly follow advertisements just because your favorite TV star is advertising it. Remember they are given money for their work! 
  • Verify the nutritional claims 
  • It is not necessary that what diet suits a celebrity should suit you as well. Think about your body, your energy requirement etc. 
  • If it’s difficult to plan out diets, check with a nutritionist. Your health matters first! 

 It’s very easy to follow a healthy lifestyle if one puts his/her mind to it. Moreover, one’s healthy diet doesn’t have to be another’s healthy diet too. We are all different and have different energy requirements. One thing to keep in mind is to never feel discouraged or think that just because someone else can digest all sorts of hi-fi protein, you should also be able to do it. Everyone has a different diet made up uniquely to fit his/her body. Follow it, love it but don’t stress about it!!

By Masoomi S.Nevgi

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