Healthy eating doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are 8 of the best shortcuts to keep your healthy habits in check!
FOCUS ON FOOD, NOT NUTRIENTS
Forget counting grams of fat or protein and fussing over carbs and sugar. Once you take the focus away from nutrients and eat a diet based primarily on real (whole) foods, you get the nutrients you need. Think fruit, veg, nuts, legumes, wholegrains and lean meat or fish.
BUILD A BETTER PLATE
The most nutritious meals have a balance of items from different food groups. Simply fill half your plate with fruit and vegetables (the more colour the better). Choose a quality carb (e.g. one to two serves sourdough wrap, muesli, brown rice, quinoa or barley, or brown rice), and one-quarter lean protein: red meat, skinless chicken, fish, legumes or tofu. Stick to this ratio and you eat a healthy, balanced meal each time.
EAT FOOD AS NATURE INTENDED
The longer the ingredient list, the more likely the food is highly processed – most often with sugar, salt, fat and artificial additives. If you can’t pronounce it, you probably shouldn’t eat it.
RE-THINK YOUR DRINK
Whether it’s a protein shake or superfood smoothie, many people don’t realise just how many calories beverages can contribute to their daily intake. Whole fruits and vegetables are much more filling than juice – and it’s likely you’ll consume fewer calories with these choices. When it comes to quenching thirst, water is your best bet.
Missing a meal not only means you’ll run out of steam, but you will likely indulge in larger portions and snack mindlessly at a later stage in the day. Planned meals are more likely to include necessary nutrients, whereas eating at sporadic times can leave you eating the first thing in sight (not necessarily the healthiest choice). Whether you eat three large or five small meals a day – find what works best for you and stick with it.
SNACK WITH PURPOSE
There’s a big difference between mindless munching and strategic snacking. Snacking with purpose means keeping blood sugar and energy levels steady and filling the nutritional gaps – not an opportunity to overeat because you’re bored or stressed.
SCHEDULE A CHEAT DAY
I can understand the ‘moderation’ message is boring. Perhaps a more appealing message is to apply the 80/20 rule, where 80 per cent of the time you eat healthy, nourishing food, and the remaining 20 per cent, you allow yourself to eat whatever you want, during which time you savour every bite and get on with your life. Remember, no food is ‘forbidden’.
While you may feel too busy to sit down and take a break, you owe it to your body to give it the time and nourishment it deserves. Each time you eat, slow down, chew thoroughly and taste the food without eating on automatic pilot. Not only will you enjoy the food more, but savouring every bite allows the brain ample time to send fullness signals.