10 Tips for Eating Healthy as an Expat

by | Feb 15, 2022 | Global | 1 comment

You have arrived in your new city, in your new host country. An opportunity to establish new friends, a comfortable living space, and healthy lifestyle behaviors. So let’s talk about tips for eating healthy as you create this next chapter of life. A few minor changes in your food choices can minimize high caloric intake, decrease body fat, and provide the nutrients needed for optimal health.

My Personal Top 10 Recommendations for Healthy Eating for Wherever You Are

#1 Minimize processed foods

Processed food includes any food that was cooked, canned, frozen, or packaged in a way that changes the nutritional composition and contains artificial ingredients such as synthetic dyes and artificial sweeteners, refined sweeteners, corn syrup, brown rice syrup, cane juice, high fructose corn syrup, refined grains, enriched wheat flour, white rice, cornmeal.

These are Ingredients you would not cook with at home or can not pronounce, pre-flavored products, imitation foods, processed cheese products, imitation crabmeat, pancake syrup, or low fat and fat-free products where fat has been reduced and replaced with sugar or sugar substitutes.

# 2 Decrease Your Sugar Intake

Just say no by Rod Long
Just say no by Rod Long

Read labels for added sugars (corn sweeteners, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, fruit juice concentrates, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, invert sugar, lactose, maltose, malt syrup, raw sugar, sucrose, sugar syrup, cane crystals, cane sugar, crystalline fructose, evaporated cane juice, corn syrup solids, malt syrup).

Minimize baked goods, ice cream, candy, sweetened yogurts, salad dressing, granola bars, flavored coffees, and most breakfast cereals. Look for products with less than 12 grams of sugar per serving (12 grams is 3 teaspoons of sugar).

# 3 Eliminate Soft Drinks, Sports Drinks, Processed Juices, and Juice Drinks

These are basically high sugar, high-calorie beverages with no nutrient value. They add significant calories, promote weight gain and obesity, increase the risk for heart disease and metabolic syndrome and facilitate tooth decay.

#4 Decrease Trans Fats and Saturated Fats

Foods that contain trans or saturated fats include cakes, pies, cookies, biscuits, margarine, crackers, microwave popcorn, and doughnuts. These types of fats increase your risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

# 5 Watch Out for Low-Nutrient Foods

These are foods that are high calorie with little nutrient value and include white rice, french fries, white bread, processed cheeses, and deli meats.

# 6 Eat more plant-based foods

This includes fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, herbs, and spices. Ideally, your goal should be to eat 8-10 servings a day of plant-based foods.

# 7 Select Nutrient-Dense Foods

These are foods that are low in calories and high in nutrients. They include dark leafy greens, almonds, avocados, quinoa, cruciferous vegetables, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, red, yellow, green and orange bell, peppers, sea vegetables, tomatoes, and berries.

# 8 Get Adequate Fiber

Healthy food on the run by Gwen Hyatt
Healthy food on the run by Gwen Hyatt

Fiber aids in elimination, optimal bowel health, helps lower cholesterol and maintains safe glucose levels.

Foods high in fiber include beans, legumes, spinach, broccoli, oatmeal, flaxseeds, and carrots.


# 9 Maintain Necessary Protein

Protein is important for the repair and recovery of cells and to maintain lean body mass (muscle). Go for lean protein including salmon, seafood, chicken, turkey, and beef. Non-meat protein sources include chia and hemp seeds, soybeans and soy products, quinoa, amaranth, hummus, eggs, beans, lentils, spinach, and peanut butter.

# 10 Easy on the Alcohol

Alcohol is made from starch and sugar and contains 7 calories per gram of empty calories. Those calories can add up quickly and promote weight gain. Try replacing sparkling water with a slice of fresh lemon or lime during happy hour.

It’s easy and fun to buy locally grown foods from an assortment of vendors in your new country.  Buen provecho and let us know what you’re doing to eat healthy in your new home.

by: Gwen Hyatt