When we think about improving our diet we often imagine that it’s going to be all about deprivation and eating boring, bland food.
However, what if I told you that it really is possible to have your cake and eat it too? Sound interesting? Then read on for 5 ways to eat more healthily while still enjoying your food.
Eat a Better Breakfast
It’s tempting to skip breakfast, maybe because you are short on time or because you think you are saving on calories. However, it’s then more difficult to avoid that mid-morning energy crash, when you are so hungry you literally reach for the nearest snack available, which is usually something less than healthy.
Instead, opt for a breakfast which is going to sustain your energy across the morning, making it easier to concentrate and leaving you less tired. The easiest way to do this is to add protein. So this could mean scrambling a couple of eggs, eating Greek yoghurt mixed with fruit or if you are in a real rush adding some nut butter, such as almond or cashew, to a sliced apple. There really is no excuse not to start your day right.
Change The Way You Cook
Sometimes being smart about what you eat, means changing the way you cook your food. Fancy something fried, but worried about the amount of fattening oil you are consuming? The perfect solution is to switch your deep fat fryer for an air fryer. These use 80% less fat, so you can munch guilt-free on the perfect crispy chips.
Also think about what you are cooking in your fryer. While potatoes are nice most of the time, try switching them out for sweet potatoes occasionally. These are rich in potassium and vitamin A and a great addition to your diet. All kinds of vegetables can be fried and if you have a child who is hesitant to eat their greens this can be an easy way to introduce more variety.
Consume More Vegetables
You might have heard about people on gluten-free diets using spiralizers to create pasta free spaghetti. However, there’s nothing to stop the rest of us increasing our intake of fresh vegetables in this easy and delicious way. Sometimes it’s even a good idea for everyone, to not completely remove gluten from their diet, but to cut back a bit when they can, especially if you are watching your weight.
Courgettes, carrots and apples are great choices for spiralizing and again upping these increases your intake of vitamins and minerals which can boost your immune system and keep you healthy, particularly during the Winter months. You can either eat your created veggie noodles raw or lightly steam them or add to a stir-fry for variety.
A super easy way to improve your health is to re-think what you are drinking. Cans of soda can quickly add up in terms of calories, plus they are devoid of nutrients and packed with sugar, so not good for your health, waistline or teeth. Think you are safe with diet soda? Think again, there are big question marks over the safety of many artificial sweeteners and the jury is still out on how they are affecting our long term health.
The best choice is to opt for water where possible, filtered preferably so you aren’t playing a part in increasing the mountain of bottled drinking water bottles which are discarded every year. If you find the taste bland you can always infuse some mint or cucumber in the water to jazz it up a little.
Alcohol also plays a part in drinking empty calories, so watch the units you consume and as recommended by the British Liver Trust, make sure you have at least 48 hours alcohol-free every week, preferably more. This ensures you don’t fall into the pattern of drinking every day and gives your liver time to repair any damage.
Also, when you are drinking, alternate an alcoholic drink with a non-alcoholic drink so the effects on your body are less severe. After all, we all know that when we wake up with a hangover, a healthy day’s eating is unlikely to follow as we reach for heavy carbs and quick sugar-fixes to get us through the day.
Switch to Real Food
One of the best things you can start doing for your health is to stop eating food out of a packet, food which is often packed with additives and unnecessary chemicals, and start eating more real food.
Just by switching to cooking from scratch you are going to improve your diet and in the process consume less salt; eat more healthy fats; and get more vital vitamins and minerals. As you cook more you will also learn about using spices and herbs more and salt less. Not only do ingredients such as turmeric, saffron, parsley, sage and rosemary add a great taste to your food, they are also extremely good for you. Turmeric for example, contains curcumin which is a strong antioxidant and has an anti-inflammatory effect.
Eating real food is where that lovely cake comes in I mentioned at the start. If you start baking at home, not only will you know exactly what ingredients are in everything, but you can purposefully add more of the good stuff. So make sure you top your cupcakes with delicious and fresh fruits of all varieties. No naturally occurring food is bad for you, unless of course you have an allergy, it’s just that we usually eat too much or reach for ready-meals because we are short on time or energy.
By switching to a more natural diet you will experience less dips in energy and more enthusiasm to prepare healthy meals for yourself and your family. The tips highlighted today will get you off to a great start.