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10 Food Facts You Need In Your Life To Beat The Bulge
We all know the basic ‘eat well’ rules, right? Try and avoid too many red traffic light foods, cut back on fat, sugar and salt and move more. Those are the cardinal rules. But what about the pitfalls? Here are our top tips to help you avoid food faux pas and keep your healthy eating plan on track…
New year, new you is such a cliché, but that won’t stop us from making steps to improve our diets in 2016.
It’s easy to just start slashing – cutting bread, dairy, fat, sugar and salt from your diet until you’re completely miserable. No one wants that!
But real nutrition is all about balance; with fats, sugars and a whole host of food groups playing an active role in keeping you healthy. If you want to shape up the healthy way, here are some top tips to help you nail nutrition…
Don’t believe the hype
If that food doing the rounds on the Internet looks weird (but everyone’s swearing it’s soooo good for you), you don’t have to eat it! Just because avocados are suddenly on-trend doesn’t mean you have to like them. The first rule of healthy living is ignoring the hype. Forcing yourself to find the only specialist food retailer that stocks a certain type of seaweed, or scoffing something that makes you gag really isn’t worth it. Find what you like instead.
Fats are essential
After years of being told that fat is unhealthy and contributes to weight gain, we now know that lipids (the molecules that make up fat) are actually good for us. They are proven to absorb vitamins and minerals in other food, including fruit. Of course, we don’t mean cake, chocolate and crisps, but healthy fats like nuts, seeds, avocado, coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil are crucial. Try adding one of these fat sources to your morning smoothie for an absorption boost.
Sweeteners aren’t all bad
Adding too much sugar to your tea and coffee is a sure fire way to up your intake – something which we all know to avoid. However, there are some great natural alternatives, including the likes of Stevia. Drawn from a South American plant, Stevia has virtually no calories and is hundreds of times sweeter than sugar. Plus, it has ben shown to lower blood sugar levels and even have a small impact on high blood pressure. Little changes, like switching to Stevia, could make all the difference to your healthy diet plan.
Stock up on fibre
One of the first things you’ll hear is ‘carbs are bad for you’, but that is just NOT the case. Yes, processed white bread and pasta isn’t a good choice, but brown rice, whole wheat brown bread and grains are all great ways to improve your digestion and stay fuller for longer. Plus, fruit and vegetables contain lots of fibre too – a bean chilli, veg-packed pasta sauce or a vegetarian lasagna is a great way to up the ante.
Never skip meals
Purposefully skipping meals is a form of cheating – yes, you’ll reduce your calorie intake but your body will suffer in the process. Regular meals and snacks will keep you energized and help you lose weight in the long term.
Control those portions
Congratulations, you’re eating more fruit, veg and whole grains! But wait, you’re not losing much weight? Why? If this sounds suspiciously like your situation then you may be eating too much. If you’ve ever watched Jamie Oliver and thought ‘how is that chicken going to feed eight!’ then be warned, because he’s sticking to the recommended daily intake. The good news is you can buy portion control kitchen tools, like scoops for cereal and guides for pasta to help you out!
Look out for salt
It is literally in everything! Use the traffic light system on food packaging to control your intake and, if you can, stop putting excess salt on your chips. This rule should also help you cut back on processed food, which is one of the biggest culprits. Your body will thank you for it!
Let’s talk about sugar
Sugar – it is the thing we know we need to cut out but it’s just SO. Damn. Hard. Cake, biscuits, fizzy pop, sweets, jam, cereals – they’re all packed! The thing is sugar contains almost no nutritional value so it’s pointless for your body. Natural sugars, like those found in berries, are a much better alternative. And whatever you do, from this point on, stop drinking fizzy drinks…unless you want your teeth to rot that is?!
Always eat breakfast
Breakfast IS the most important meal of the day. Full stop. End of. It kick starts your metabolism and helps you get through to lunch without turning to the office biscuit tin. But it is important to make the right choice – a bacon and egg butty isn’t good for you just because you eat it at 8am! Porridge, fresh fruit, yoghurt, scrambled egg on wholemeal toast are all much better choices.
Get sleep, move more and avoid stress
It doesn’t matter how well you eat, if you’re stressed, lazy or knackered your body is going to release a whole load of chemicals that knock you off you’re a-game. It sounds simple, but looking after yourself is about more than just good food – make some great lifestyle choices and you’ll feel better in no time!
Remember fad diets don't work! Now's the time to take charge and change your ways for good :)
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