Posted on 30 July 2017
I often get asked where should we start when entering the journey to improve their nutrition… Whether you need a complete diet overhaul or just minor adjustments, you can positively impact health with just a few simple changes to your eating habits.
Watch your total daily calories:
For most people, this means reducing daily calories by a couple of hundred calories to sustain weight loss. Although this sounds like a daunting task, just one or two small changes will do the trick if they are maintained over time. Here are a few examples of what I have done and how you can do the same:
- Instead of drinking fruit juices or sugary fizzy drinks, drink water – if you crave something with more taste add sugar free squash!
- Beware the coffee-based drinks that are made with whole milk, sweetened with syrup and topped with whipped cream. Ask for your coffee with skimmed milk and “no cream” to cut easy calories.
- Revamp your snacks. I love baking healthier goodies to eat as alternatives! Rather than snacking on crisps, biscuits or chocolate, which are high in fat, trans fat and calories, swap it for a piece of fresh fruit, baby carrots, or a cup of 0% Fat Greek yogurt.
Not only do added fat and sugar pile on those unwanted calories, but consuming too much can they contribute to weight gain and chronic diseases such as diabetes. In some people, too much sodium leads to high blood pressure. To tackle these problems, you can:
- Limit your intake of processed foods. Although these are quick, easy and taste good, they are also laden with fat, sugar and sodium.
- Limit your intake of processed meats such as ham, bacon, and sausage and also cheese and pizza, as they are also high in saturated fat and sodium. Instead, prepare lean cuts of fresh meat and choose low-fat cheese.
- Use less salt at the table and during cooking. In place of salt, enhance the flavor of your food with added herbs and spices. I never put any extra salt in ANY of my food.
- Sodium, sugar and trans fat often hide in unsuspected foods. For example, canned soups can be surprisingly high in sodium, and sugar is often added to pasta sauce - Always read food labels and try to avoid products that have added sugar.
These types of foods contain so many vitamins, minerals and other micro nutrients like fibre and antioxidants. To do this I suggest:
- Eat more fruits and vegetables at both main meals and snacks. Fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of vitamins, minerals and dietary fibre.
- Choose brown rice and whole wheat pasta. Experiment with quick-cooking grains like quinoa (my new fav at the moment).
- Choose fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt and cottage cheese as a high-protein snack that is also packed with calcium and vitamin D. A
- At least two times per week, choose fish rather than meat to increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids. For example I try to eat salmon twice a week!
- Ask for salad dressing, butter and other sauces on the side, so you can control how much is added.
- Avoid dishes that are prepared with cream or served with a cream sauce.
- Select foods that have been steamed, broiled or baked, rather than fried.
- Restaurants are notorious for serving excessively large portions. Don’t hesitate to ask to take the rest home (I love a doggy bag!)
- For dessert, try sharing one with a friend!
These simple steps can make a big difference over a period of a few months! Do you have any other ideas? I would love to hear them…