12 Apr 2017
Healthy Eating Blog
Maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle can all too often feel like an uphill battle which we often convince ourselves is impossible to win let alone face. This feeling can perpetuate a negative mentality and from here it is even harder to get motivated to move, to eat right and look after ourselves.
is the best way to improve our health and yet often the hardest to set in motion. Following a simple diet plan, where the focus is what can be eaten rather than what we cannot is guaranteed to help the change feel like less of a fad diet and more of a lifestyle. Everything in moderation or, little and often are good mantras to follow. If you love cake, crisps or cans of fizzy drink then there is no point in cutting this all out and going cold turkey as more often than not we will fall at the first hurdle. Try instead the introduction of smaller portions of our favourite treats. For example, a packet of crisps at the weekend or a few times a week rather than every day, a can of sugar free fizzy drink and if you feel your cake consumption needs cutting down, then start making it – or rather make overnight oats and add a spoonful of honey – the best breakfast with a touch of indulgence.
Everyone is aware of the 5 a day, the amount of fruit and vegetables we should all be eating a day or aiming to at least. In actual fact it should be a lot more a day than this; with an emphasis on vegetables more than fruit. Raw vegetables particularly are a great way to increase your consumption of vitamins and fibre. However, it all counts, dried fruit as well as fresh, fruit smoothies and fruit juice, frozen vegetables and fresh. Meals such as stir fry’s, curries and even spaghetti Bolognese are easy ways to up the quantities of vegetables and even using courgetti (courgette spaghetti made with a spiralizer) or butternut squash noodles instead of the pasta can help even more!
is also an essential for a good, balanced diet. Protein with every meal will dissipate hunger, improve satisfaction and help build muscle. Protein is in meat; but more than that; nuts contain protein, pulses such as beans, lentils and peas contain protein and are all low-fat and low cost! Quorn and eggs are further great protein sources for vegetarians looking to diet.
Eggs, oats, protein on toast, a few pieces of fruit and a handful of nuts (equally good as a snack) One of the best breakfasts contains eggs, (and/or) ham, cherry tomatoes with some carbohydrate – a slice of toast. It is important to aim for the balance that is in this meal in every meal to keep you going all morning.
It is better to splurge on calories at breakfast or at lunchtime rather than at dinner time. So an open sandwich (one slice of bread) with salad and lean protein such as ham, chicken or even a cheese such as mozzarella or haloumi is a good choice. Hot meals such as jacket potatoes with a tin of tuna or try a healthier twist by having the potato with ratatouille. Leftovers for lunch are always a good idea –so a chicken breast from a previous night’s dinner with rice or a small portion of potatoes with salad or vegetables helps keep the dinner portions smaller also.
This does not need to be limited to just chicken and salad. There are a whole host of cuisines to discover inspiring dinner dishes from. Italian pasta dishes can be made healthier with higher vegetable content as mentioned earlier and also use wholemeal pasta. Sushi is quite low in fat – just keep an eye on how much of the Soy sauce you use. Stir fry’s and noodle dishes are fast, fresh and filling. Any favourite meal can be made healthier. Steak and chips and burgers are fine – as long as you cook them yourselves ideally, use sweet potato fries instead of chips. Serve the burger open – with no bun and lots of salad. There is even a pizza alternative. Using a warmed tortilla wrap, passata and healthy toppings you can make a mini pizzette at home!
So many of us have a sweet tooth and this can be hard to combat. There are several ways to help you beat this. If you crave sugar after a meal or in hot drinks then try having a piece or two of dark chocolate after eating or switch to sweeteners in your beverages. Rice cakes especially flavoured ones on their own or plain with a spread of good quality peanut butter, honey or cottage cheese. A packet of popcorn is a tasty treat, try popcorn with only a few ingredients and with low calorie content. Crudité with hummus is a great snack and will help you reach or even exceed the required vegetable intake for the day.
A Food Diary
Keeping one is a great way to keep track of your calories but also eating habits. Use a diet app to keep an eye on your consumption, it will store your calories and you can often search items where you are unsure of the calorific value. Everyone is prone to making bad choices occasionally but it’s how you monitor this that matters most. Overall, the best advice on dieting is do not treat it as something that will last for a few weeks – treat it as a way of life where treats are welcome (in moderation). In short; if you imagine your body is a car which needs fuel to run, if you put the wrong fuel in or not enough it will not perform well. Therefore what you put in your engine (your body) you will get out and if you have a bad weekend then try and start afresh on Monday morning.
Also, try not to forget to consume your 5 pieces of fruit and vegetables a day. Read our article about what counts and what doesn't here