If you have tried a healthy eating plan or ‘diet’ in the past and fallen off the wagon, then you aren’t by yourself. Healthy eating is a choice but it’s also a habit and habits take time to change. It’s not necessarily about cutting an old habit because that’s expecting a lot from the brain, the easiest way to change a habit is to replace it.
That’s where these 13 tips come in. If you can reach for a healthy snack instead of junk food and get into a positive routine with healthy eating, it becomes easy rather than a chore. It’s also not about eating less food but eating foods that fill you up and leave you satisfied. Taking care of your eating can be quick and simple, that’s why we do what we do. Here is a list of things to try, change and add into your life to see immediate benefits to energy, sleep, weight loss and concentration!
Quick Ways to Kick Start Your Healthy Eating Journey
Water is perfect when starting a healthy diet. You only need to be 3% dehydrated before it starts to affect your body and brain. Drinking plenty helps you to feel fuller and supports the body in clearing toxins.
A good recommendation is to start the day with a pint of water with some lemon juice in it, a boost to hydration after not drinking all night and can be seen as having an ‘internal bath’ first thing in the morning.
The body is designed to move! Increasing your walking, even slightly, can aid your health goals and helps to lower blood pressure, relieve stress and depression as well as get your circulation moving.
10,000 steps is the recommended daily amount but it’s best to start from where you are and build up over 2-3 weeks. Make sure you have some comfy shoes to get started in.
Have you ever looked at the back of a packet of one of your favourite snacks and read the ingredients - were you able to recognise every single one? There are so many ingredients in some products it’s no wonder that we gain weight and find it difficult to get portion sizing right.
Going for options where you know all the ingredients, healthy meals made with ‘real’ food means you know what you’re putting into your body and your body will thank you for it.
Although the brain and body like routine, they also like variety - that’s why we get cravings to have a takeaway or go out for dinner, it makes a nice change from eating the same old food in the cupboards.
Instead of giving in to the cravings that lead to high-calorie low nutrition foods we can introduce variety in other ways. By having something different for dinner and lunch every day we can eat foods that are more interesting as well as being nutritious.
Some people believe that skipping breakfast is good for you because it helps you lose weight. This is in fact not true. A balanced breakfast is probably the most important meal of the day and making a good choice at breakfast can set you up well for the rest of the day.
You can read a lot of different information about fasting, high carb and low carb breakfasts but the right choice for most people is having a breakfast they can stick too, that hold of hunger for at least 3-4 hours and something you can stick to long term. By eating breakfast regularly, you will find you wake up hungry as your body gets used to being fed at a certain time and your metabolism is raring to go!
Read the Eatwell Guide
The Eatwell Guide is an important step when deciding to switch to a healthier diet. It shows you each food group you need to consume for a balanced diet and how to consume the right amount of calories too.
It’s a great starting point for starting to see where you can improve your current eating habits and see what meals you eat are including all the major nutrient groups without being all-around 1 or another.
Take more time to eat your food so that your body has more time to digest and process it. Eating more slowly allows you to pay more attention to the tastes and flavours when you are eating, helping you to feel more satisfied. Mindful eating has become more popular recently and the main principle is that you are focused on your eating and noticing what you are eating, how much you are chewing and how full you feel.
Eating in a rush or while trying to multitask is a common way for people to overeat and not feel satisfied with their food. If you have the TV on while eating or you’re eating at your desk at work, your body and brain are paying less attention to the food, so you’re more likely to get a hunger pang or desire a sweet snack halfway through the afternoon.
Most people probably know that going food shopping when hungry can be a recipe for disaster. That’s why preparing a list beforehand can save you a lot of time and bad choices when you get there.
When you’re planning your meals for the week ahead you can see what will go with what rather than just having a list of foods and coming home thinking ‘what do I make with these’. Look for inspiration online and try to pick foods that will keep you satisfied while giving you variety.
If you dislike food shopping as much as we do then consider choosing from our menu of freshly prepared meals, taking all the hassle and decision making out of shopping altogether.
Bake don’t fry
Frying has a bad reputation. Whether it using the right oil, cooking at the right temperature and choosing the right foods. Some things taste better fried but many things can be cooked just as well and taste just as good if they are baked or grilled instead.
Simple changes like how to cook and prepare your food can show on your waistline really quickly!
Nutrients over calories
Changing the way we eat and reducing junk food gives an opportunity to include a lot more vitamins and minerals into our eating. By having variety and including more fruits and vegetables, our body is going to thank us.
Natural foods that we eat like nuts, eggs and leafy green vegetables give us vitamins that help our hair and nails grow, our skin to look clear and healthy and our digestion to be working at it’s best. Next time you are tempted to snack on junk food, think about what you are adding to your health.
No one is perfect all the time. We all have moments where we want to ‘cheat’ or go out for dinner and worry about what we can eat to stay on track with our healthy lifestyle. You might have a favourite takeaway or restaurant that you and your family like to visit. Instead of avoiding restaurants completely you could look at what you have off the menu instead, there may be healthier restaurants near you that focus on healthy eating. Or you can feel confident to make different choices at your favourite place.
For example, if you usually go to your local curry house (or order in) and get samosas, onion bhajis, rice and naan, why don’t you just get one option? This means that a treat or dinner out can still be enjoyable as well as keeping you on track with healthy eating. Some restaurants and takeaways can turn 1 meal into a day’s worth of calories and it doesn’t have to be this way!
Not everyone is a fan of vegetables but there is no doubt how beneficial they are for us. There are ways to include them in your eating habits without feeling like a rabbit. By creating some variety and cooking them well (or having them cooked for you!) you can enjoy them without feeling like you’re eating grandma’s boiled sprouts every time.
If you eat them at the beginning of the meal you can get the benefits of vitamins and nutrition while still feeling hungry before you can talk yourself out of it.
Changing over to a healthier lifestyle with your eating can feel challenging until it becomes your new habit and replaces the urge to order a takeaway or pull out a packet of biscuits in front of the TV. Changing your eating lifestyle doesn’t mean restricting or eating a lot less, you may even find you need to eat more initially as you get used to it, this means using healthy snacks to fill the gaps where junk food used to be. It may feel like you are eating more often. Believe us, if they are healthy snacks and along with plenty of water, this is a good change from chocolate and crisps.
Healthy eating isn’t about cutting out all the things you enjoy or heavily restricting your diet. It’s about finding real foods you enjoy and giving your body the nutrition it needs to look and feel it’s best.
LD Nutrition - healthy meals the easy way
Not everyone can tick all 13 boxes all the time. Sometimes it’s not realistic when you read this list to be able to just flick a switch and live the perfect healthy lifestyle. Changing 1 or 2 a week will encourage you to make positive changes without your body and brain being in too much shock. Making drastic changes can often take a lot of willpower, so changing all at once is even more challenging. If you make the changes gradually you’ll find you’re body and mind adapt more easily and the changes can be stuck to over a long period.
At LD Nutrition we are all about getting healthy eating right to fuel your health goals without it feeling like a chore. Our meal prep solutions give you an option to tick several of these boxes without going to double the trouble.
You can speak to us about your healthy eating and what your current health goals are and we can share some advice that will fit you.