Eating healthy doesn’t have to mean endlessly planning your meals to keep track of calories. You can eat healthier by following these simple rules, tweaks and swaps. They’ll boost your health quickly, easily and without a total life overhaul. Learn how to eat healthier now…
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. Eating alkaline sees you focusing meals on fruit, vegetables and wholegrains and limiting animal products. ‘A very simple rule is to divide your plate into four – make half of it vegetables, mostly green. Then fill a quarter of it with lean meat, poultry or fish, the final quarter should be wholegrain carbohydrates or pulses,’ says Nina Omotoso, nutritional therapist at Revital London.
2. Revisit your vegetable enemies: Make a list of every vegetable you don’t think you like. Now, cook each of them at least three different ways. ‘It can completely change the way things taste,’ says nutritionist Ian Marber. Suggestions include grilling, roasting, adding apple and cooking slowly for an hour in just a little water, poaching in stock, stir frying with additions like lemon, chilli or even flaked almonds. Broccoli cooked with almonds tastes really good. Or try carrots roasted with cumin and paprika or kale poached in chicken stock.
3. Ditch spuds for low-carb veg. Try mashing cauliflower, swede, butternut squash or carrot. ‘It satisfies comfort cravings just as well as mashed potato,’ says Jennifer Irvine from healthy food delivery company The Pure Package.
4. Go meatless one day a week: If you eat solely vegetarian dishes one day a week you could reduce your saturated fat intake by 15%. Even just one serving less of meat a day has been estimated to reduce your risk of diabetes by a fifth and your risk of premature death from diseases like cancer and heart disease by 20%
5. Swap oil for water when stir frying – or even fruit juice. ‘This cuts calories but also gives a little something extra to the taste,’ says Jennifer Irvine. Use hot, non-stick pans, add your ingredients as normal, as throw in a splash of water/juice to moisten the pan as they cook
6. Think outside the bun: Having lunch? Wrapping sandwich fillings in something other than bread varies your diet, cuts your wheat intake (potentially helping beat bloat and other tummy woes) and exposes you to more antioxidants. ‘Large lettuce leaves make a great alternative,’ says nutritionist Jenny Tschiesche from www.lunchboxdoctor.com. Or try kale leaves, grilled aubergine slices or fill celery sticks or a partially hollowed out a cucumber.
7. Cut baking fat in half: There’s a very simple trick to cut fat. Replace half the butter in sweet recipes with mashed banana, pureed apple, or apple baby food.
8. Switch normal yogurt for no-fat Greek versions. It’s higher in protein so keeps you fuller longer.
9. Smuggle some veggies. Trials have showed that by adding pureed, or finely chopped vegetables to dishes like soups, stews and sauces you can double your daily vegetable intake.
10. Like smoothies? Add a handful of vegetables to them to increase nutrients and reduce sugar. ‘Stick to the same colour family,’ says Jennifer Irvine. So, if you’re making a smoothie with apple and lime, green veg like spinach or celery will work. Orange or peach based smoothies can have a carrot or some roasted squash added.
11. Swap canned tuna for canned salmon. It’s richer in omega 3 fatty acids plus, the little edible bones help increase your calcium intake.
12. Get garnishing. They’re a great way to add extra nutrients, parsley for example is packed with vitamin C. Grated lemon zest provides a cancer fighter called limone. Nori sheets, which can be crushed and sprinkled on dishes like soups, stews or salads are particularly rich in iodine and selenium.
13. Serve alcohol in a straight sided glass. We drink from these at half the speed as a curved glass cutting calories, sugar – and units in your diet, according to studies at Bristol University.