There are a lot of different pieces of advice on how to eat healthy that it’s easy to get confused and overwhelmed, especially if you’re a foodie who often gets hungry. Unfortunately, those happy days in childhood when you could eat practically anything and not worry about are gone. Now, it’s all about finding what works best to your benefit but among all those super foods, diet fads and gourmet trends, it can get very complicated.
However, eating healthy doesn’t have to be either a bore or a chore. What’s important is that you make common-sense choices and stick to a few basic rules.
Don’t skip your breakfast
The first important step to take is not skipping breakfast and the second one is about its contents. Experts agree it should contain lots of protein, some fruit and veg. It’s the high protein intake that increases satiety and makes your mid-morning cravings less likely.
Two scrambled eggs with a handful of spinach will meet your needs, or if you’re in a hurry, Greek yoghurt and a chopped banana in your oatmeal is a great option or even a teaspoon of peanut butter and an apple will do. All of these are much better choices that a bowl of cereal, especially those compounds with hidden sugar linked to weight gain.
Read the labels more carefully
The font of the packaging is all marketing so you should focus your attention to the back and what the labels say. If you see a long list of ingredients, it’s quite likely that the product has been through longer processing and picked up a few artificial ingredients along the way. Checking out the labels is a great way to find out what is inside the packaging and if there’s anything unhealthy. For instance, a healthy loaf of bread needs no extra sugar added.
Content is particularly important in drinks. If you want to make the first big step in your diet, the easiest way is cutting calories from drinks. Typically, fizzy drinks and fruit juices contain between 35 and 60gr of sugar per can and the growing body of evidence proves the highly addictive nature of sugar.
Try swapping your sugary drinks with mineral water with a few drops or slices of lime or lemon. If you love your hot drinks, add cinnamon to your latte as it has a similar effect to sugar. All of these ingredients might help your body burn fat more easily.
Eat more whole foods
The greatest benefits come from fresh, unprocessed, whole foods. Processing food removes all the essential nutrients such as fibre and antioxidants and typically sneaks in completely unnecessary ingredients, such as sugar and sodium.
It’s fine if you occasionally indulge in a bag of potato chips or ice-cream, but if you’re on a mission of adopting a healthy eating habit, stay away from processed food and try to cook home most of the nights, rather than eating out.
Try to make a habit of cooking at home most nights, rather than eating out. It’ll be much easier on your budget and you’ll always know what exactly the contents are. Plus, homemade food lowers the risks of excess weight gain, particularly among children. All you need to make it enjoyable is some easy recipes, good-quality Scanpan cookware and optimism. Even if you don’t make it at first, practice makes perfect! Before you know it, you’ll be coking larger quantities and packing leftovers for the next day or even for your neighbours!
Make healthier fast food choices
When you don’t have time to cook, you could still resort to fast food, just try to make thoughtful choices. Many fast-food chains post nutritional guides on their websites so you can use them as common sense guides. Provided you don’t do it too often!
Firstly, control your portion size. Fast food usually comes in huge portions, much larger than a single serving. Avoid those super-sized items and go for the smallest ones. Also, stay away from fried and breaded food and order more roasted or grilled lean meats. Choose chicken breast, turkey, lean ham or roast beef.
Make an effort to read the menu descriptions. Those foods labelled as deep-fried, breaded, batter-dipped, crispy, creamy and au gratin are packed with extra calories, unhealthy fats and sodium. Many menus include healthier choices if you make a few tweaks or substitutions. For instance, ask for your sauce or salad dressing to be served on the side or replace a whet bun for your burger with a whole-grain one.
Like with every decision you make in life, it’s all about consistency. Once you make a choice to redefine your nutrition, all you need to do is stick to it, but if you occasionally crave chocolate or a slice of forno pizza, go for it. A healthy eating plan doesn’t eliminate enjoying food, it integrates it! After all, you don’t need added stress – relax and keep up the good work!