Eating healthily can often feel like a massive chore, particularly when you’re tired and stressed. But turn these 10 quick-fix tips into habits and you’ll soon being saying hello to a healthier you.
1. Replace red meat with oily fish twice a week to help lower your cholesterol levels and inject some much-needed omega-3 into your diet.
2. Always check the salt levels on food packaging. About three quarters of the salt we eat is already in the food we buy, and even healthy options like soup and cereal can contain high levels. You should be eating no more than 6g per day.
3. Drink water. You need around 1.2 litres a day to prevent dehydration, excluding the fluid you get from your food. People often confuse thirst with hunger, so next time you have a craving, drink a glass of water first to see if the feeling abates.
4. Avoid falling into eating ruts, where you’re always having the same meals. Your diet needs to be varied to guarantee that you’re getting all of the nutrients your body needs to function well.
5. Try to incorporate more fruit and vegetables into your diet by swapping your normal mid-afternoon snack for a handful of blueberries or some dried fruit. Or try adding a sliced banana to your morning cereal.
Blueberries are a great healthy snack option
6. Cut down on saturated fat. While we all need unsaturated fats, saturated ones can increase our cholesterol levels and lead to heart disease. Replace butter with vegetable oil when cooking, and remove visible fat from meat cuts whenever possible.
7. Make sure you eat within two hours of exercising to maximise your recovery. This is the one time in the day you can go for white bread and sugary foods without feeling guilty, as your post-workout body can take carbohydrates with a higher GI.
8. Have a satisfying lunch to set you up for the rest of the day and prevent late-afternoon chocolate bar cravings. You’ll need to eat a good mix of protein and fibre. Stick to wholemeal bread, and try chicken, avocado and spinach fillings.
9. Kerb your fizzy drink habit immediately. Soft drinks are bad for your teeth, have been linked to obesity and Type-2 diabetes, and can even decrease your bone density, leading to osteoporosis in later life.
10. Never skip breakfast. You might think that you’re ‘saving’ calories for later in the day but research shows that eating first thing can help people control their weight more easily. Try wholemeal cereal or porridge.
Porridge is ideal for breakfast