These simple rules, tweaks and swaps will boost your healthy eating habits quickly, easily and without a total life overhaul…
Here are our top healthy eating habits to try:
1 ALKALISE YOUR PLATE. Alkaline eating is the celebrity trend of the moment. The theory is that an acidic body state promotes disease and that your body functions better when it’s alkaline. This means focusing meals on fruit, vegetables and certain wholegrains, and limiting animal products.
“A very simple rule is to divide your plate into four – make half of it veg, mostly green. Then fill a quarter with lean meat, fish or poultry. The other quarter should be wholegrain carbohydrates or pulses,” says nutritional therapist Nina Omotoso.
2 REVISIT YOUR VEG ENEMIES. Make a list of every vegetable you don’t like. Now, cook each of them in different ways. “It can completely change the way they taste,” says nutritionist Ian Marber.
Suggestions include grilling, roasting, poaching in stock, adding grated apple and cooking slowly in a little water, or stir-frying with additions like chilli, lemon or flaked almonds.
Broccoli cooked with almonds tastes great. Or try carrots roasted with cumin and paprika, or cabbage poached in chicken stock.
3 MIX UP YOUR MASH. Try mashing cauliflower, sweet potato, butternut squash or carrot, or a mix of two. For example, carrot, garlic and sweet potato taste really good together. “It satisfies comfort cravings just as well as traditional mashed potato,” says author and healthy food expert Jennifer Irvine.
4 USE LESS OIL WHEN STIR-FRYING. “This is an easy way to cut back on kilojoules,” says Jennifer Irvine. Use a non-stick pan, stir-fry ingredients in a teaspoon of oil, then add a good splash of water.
5 CUT DOWN ON MEAT. Eat only-veggie dishes one day a week and you could reduce your saturated fat intake by 15%. Even cutting out one serving of meat a day is thought to reduce your risk of diabetes by a fifth.
6 CUT BAKING FAT IN HALF. Experiment – replace half the butter in sweet recipes with mashed banana, puréed apple or pear.
7 THROW IN EXTRA VEGGIES by adding puréed or finely chopped vegetables to soups, stews and sauces, you can double your daily veggie intake.
8 LIKE SMOOTHIES? Blend in a handful of vegetables to increase nutrients. “Stick to the same colour family,” says Jennifer Irvine. So, if you are going to make an apple and lime smoothie, green veg, such as spinach or celery, will work. Orange or peach-based smoothies can have a carrot or roasted squash added.
Try this yummy banana and pineapple smoothie:
9 EAT CANNED SALMON INSTEAD OF TUNA, says dietician Nichola Whitehead. It’s richer in omega-3 fatty acids, plus the little edible bones help increase your calcium intake.
10 SWITCH FROM NORMAL YOGHURT TO LOW-FAT Greek kinds. They’re higher in protein, so keep you fuller for longer.
11 GET GARNISHING! It’s a great way to add a few extra nutrients. Parsley is packed with vitamin C, while nori sheets – edible seaweed that’s used in sushi, which can be crushed and sprinkled on soups, stews or salads – are rich in iodine and selenium.
12 SERVE ALCOHOL IN A STRAIGHT-SIDED GLASS, such as a tumbler. We drink from this at half the speed as a curved glass (like a wine glass), cutting kilojoules, sugar and units in your diet, according to a study by Bristol University.
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