Simple Rules to Keep Your Nutrition in Check
The world of nutrition is beyond confusing. From fad diets and superfoods to numerous supplements. All with weird and wonderful quick fixes and promises. It is no wonder so many people have no idea where to start when it comes to eating for health.
However, good nutrition is actually very simple. We’ve pulled together our top nutrition tips to help cut through the confusion. To get you heading on the right path and show you it’s not as mind boggling as it can feel.
Prioritise your protein – protein is an essential nutrient we need to build, maintain and repair cells and tissues. It is also the nutrient that keeps us feeling fuller for longer. Add a palm sized portion of protein to every meal e.g. eggs, chicken, fish, yoghurt, tofu.
Add a veg – we all need to eat more vegetables. They are the powerhouses of vitamins and minerals. Add just one extra vegetable to your day. If you eat none - add one. If you eat six - add one. Eat it raw, cooked, add it to a smoothie, grate a carrot into a sauce - whatever takes your fancy. Fresh, frozen, or canned. All are good.
Don’t be frightened of fat – the good kind. We’re talking nuts, seeds, oily fish, olive oil. Not the deep fried, found in your pastry kind of fat. Good fats keep us feeling fuller for longer, avoiding the temptation to snack or fill up on other foods. We need them to absorb key minerals and vitamins, as some are fat soluble. Meaning they need fat to be transported into our body. Add a handful of nuts or seeds to your breakfast.
Better, not perfect – we all know complete diet over-hauls only tend to work in the short term and are incredibly hard to stick to. Don’t aim for perfect. Aim for a little bit better. Think of your diet along a continuum from where you are now to where you would like to get to. Then think how you can make one small step forward. How can you make each meal a little bit better? Can you add a piece of fruit? Or a side salad? An extra veg? Not add the extra cheese? Small incremental changes will sum to long term change over time and are far easier to stick to.
Drink water – quite often when we are feeling hungry, we are actually dehydrated. Ensuring our body is adequately hydrated is a key factor in weight loss. Next time you wander over to the fridge for a snack, have a glass of water first. Wait five minutes – you may forget about the snack altogether.
Sleep tight – get a good night’s sleep, ideally eight hours. When we are tired, we make poor food choices, we are less likely to exercise and will use food to starve off tiredness. Making sure we get a good restful night’s sleep may seem like a strange way to help our weight. Next time you get a poor night’s sleep, take note of how hungry you feel. What kind of foods you are craving the next day?
Eat your fruit, don’t drink it – a glass of apple juice has approximately the juice of eight apples in it. We wouldn’t eat eight apples in one sitting. The fibre and cellulose in the apples would fill us up. This is mother nature’s way of ensuring we don’t eat too much fructose (fruit sugar) in one go. Don’t try to outsmart her. Eat the whole orange. Get all the benefits of the fruit, not just the sweet hit.
Don’t buy it, can’t eat it – if it’s not in your house, you or someone you love cannot eat it. Keep the chips, biscuits, cakes and lollies out of the house. If you have a craving for something and you don’t have it in your house, it takes a lot more effort to go out and buy it. This means you are less likely to eat it. If it’s just right there in the cupboard, it’s all too easy to grab it.
Eat the rainbow – fruit and veg come in all sorts of colours which means they have a huge range of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Making sure you are eating all the colours of fruit and veg means you are getting a truly diverse mix of nutrients. Next time you are at the supermarket, add a vegetable or fruit you haven’t had before, or for a while to your basket.
Spice up your life – adding flavouring to your food such as spices and herbs is a great way to keep things interesting, without adding any extra calories or salt. Not only do they bring extra flavour and interest to your food, they are also packed with potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, providing numerous health benefits. It’s a win win. Add some cinnamon or ginger to your oats. A sprinkle of turmeric on your toast. Some chili flakes to your eggs. Get experimenting!