Healthy Eating is a meal plan for LIFE!
I really cannot stress this enough! – If you eat good stuff, then your body will do good stuff!
Forget about all the latest diet trends right now. Yes they will help you lose weight fast BUT unless it’s something you’re going to be able to continue for the rest of your life day in day out, it’s inevitable that at some point you’re going to put the weight back on again. Adopting permanent HEALTHY eating habits will not only drastically improve your health but can also help with permanent weight loss too.
Whichever diet you’re following – cutting carbs, drinking shakes, or eating in an 8 hour time slot, they all equate to exactly the same thing – CALORIE DEFICIT. Weight-loss happens when your body is in Calorie deficit – e.g. You eat less calories than you use. However, to achieve HEALTHY WEIGHT-LOSS, it’s not just the calories you have to think about. You may lose weight eating 1300 calories of chocolate a day BUT you wouldn’t get any of the health benefits and nutritional value of real wholesome food. So, if you’re counting your calories you need to educate yourself too. So read the nutritional labels and see what the calories are made up of.
Is what you’re eating actually NUTRITIOUS?
Food is fuel to your body and if you fill it with rubbish, you can’t expect it to do great things! Go for real Wholefoods that will give you the correct nutrition and nourish your body. As for meal replacements and supplements – they may contain all the vitamins, minerals and macro’s (product advertising words, not mine!) of a balanced diet, but they’ll never compare to real food. Also, there’s nothing magical about a protein shake either , it is what it is – a source of protein, just like chicken, eggs and fish etc. They’re great for convenience, but unless you plan on drinking protein shakes instead of eating a proper meal for the rest of your life, you’re never going to re-train yourself to adopt healthy eating habits by using them.
Top Tips for eating a Healthy Diet
Eat AT LEAST 5 portions of vegetables and fruit every day.
Include good fats ( although high in calories, good fats are very beneficial to health).
Include a protein source at each meal.
Plan your meals in advance.
Start the day (with a good breakfast) as you mean to go on.
Cook from scratch whenever possible – you‘ll know exactly what you’re eating.
So forget about the fad diets – it really is worth making those Healthy SUSTAINABLE changes that you‘ll keep up for life!
Un-processing your Diet
Recent studies have found that people who eat more processed food, consume about 500 more calories per day than those that eat wholefoods. Why? Because processed foods provide limited nutrients and are not as filling, so you tend to eat more to feel full and an extra 500 calories per day, can lead to quite a significant weight gain!
It’s quite a big challenge to switch to an entirely whole-foods diet overnight. But you can start to make healthier choices most of the time by making some small, sustainable changes to “unprocess” your diet.
What are Processed foods?
Most packaged foods such as crisps, sweets, chocolate bars and biscuits are considered ultra-processed along with fast food, most take-out food and packaged bakery items, refined grains such as white rice, sugary cereals and white bread also are processed. However, foods such as canned or frozen vegetables, whole-grain bread and rice, are considered less processed because they are closer to their original forms (and have more nutritional value).
Here are six practical tips to help you make nutritional improvements that will improve your energy, health and fitness, by switching from a processed to wholefood diet, increasing your fibre and protein intake and making you feel fuller without going over your calorie requirements.
1. Eat more fruits and vegetables.
When it comes to foods high in nutrients, fruits and vegetables can’t be beat. They contain fibre (which will make you feel full) and they also aid digestion.
- Batch chop and prep salad and veg so it’s ready to go.
- Add a side salad to your meal.
- Snack on raw vegetables.
2. Avoid sugary drinks.
Fizzy drinks, alcohol, smoothies and canned coffee drinks often contain a surprising amount of sugar and calories. For example, a Costa caramel latte contains a whopping 34g sugar and 331 calories!
- opt for tea or black coffee in coffee shops.
- Choose spirits rather than beer or wine.
- Read labels on smoothies/canned drinks.
3. Read labels.
In most cases food packaging does not give an accurate representation of a food’s nutritional value no matter what the claim on the front of the pack says! so it’s best to look at the nutritional label on the back of the item and check:
- Serving size.
- Amount of added sugar.
- Ingredient list (keeping in mind that ingredients are listed by quantity, with highest listed first).
4. Skip convenience foods when possible.
There are a lot of foods that although marketed as healthy (such as bars or snacks) are often full of sugar and lack fibre and protein. Carry your own snacks to avoid temptation!
- Nuts or seeds (portioned) and an apple.
- Chopped veg with hummus.
- Greek yogurt with fruit.
5. Eat mindfully at restaurants.
Eating out can feel like an occasion to indulge, but if you’re eating out regularly, learning to make healthy choices is essential.
- If eating out is an infrequent occurrence, order what you love, but stop eating when your full.
- You don’t have to go for all 3 courses!
- If eating out is a common occurrence choose a protein and vegetable meal with whole grains as often as possible. Such as:
- Sandwich on whole-grain bread with salad.
- Fish, Chicken or Steak served with veg.
- Salad (dressing on the side).
Small and sustainable changes are much easier and more beneficial in the long run when it comes to improving nutrition, rather than trying to make too many big changes all at once but to see a change you’ve got to make a change!