Changing what you eat can be difficult, especially for those of us who never cook a meal. So, if you’re one of those people, maybe it’s time to start? Even cooking once a week will start to get you in that mindset. Learning to cook simple and nutritious meals is one of the most beneficial things for health and it’s never too late to start.
Buy a soup maker and a nutribullet if you can afford it, they will pay dividends. This can be a quick way to create a healthy meal when time is short. So many healthy foods can be added, including herbs and spices.
We should strive for a varied diet full of fresh ingredients, whole foods rather than processed foods, rich in fresh veggies, fruits and wholegrain, seeds, nuts, beans and lentils and small quantities of good quality meat and fish if you are not a vegetarian. Our plates should have plenty of colour and variety to ensure diversity of our microbiome: the healthy bacteria in our gut which is essential for good health.
Use fresh and dried herbs and spices. Herbs are an absolutely incredible way to boost the nutritional value of your food! If you are a meat eater, try some vegetarian options as well.
Most people don’t eat enough fibre, so ensure you consume plenty of fibre rich foods: fruit, veggies (skins on if possible), beans, lentils and wholegrains: brown bread, brown rice and brown pasta, and try grains like quinoa, barley and whole oats.
Consciously chew your food – taste it – you will eat less because your body produces digestive enzymes and hormones in response to the act of eating, including the satiety hormones that make you feel full and give you the message to stop eating. ‘Inhaling food’ does not leave time for that. Take your time. Learn to appreciate your food.
Avoiding sugar, seed oils and refined carbohydrates will also help. It isn’t healthy to be overweight, so why not try and cut back on items such as fizzy drinks, sweets, cakes, white rice, white bread, white pasta and cereal bars?
Easy tips can be helpful to get you ready for the dietary guidelines given below, so here are a few:
- Frozen veg. Keep them in your freezer so that you can add them to your meals. Better to eat frozen than no veggies at all.
- Spinach leaves. Keep a bag in the fridge. Add to sandwiches, pizzas, you can even finely chop them into baked beans! They are super nutritious and easy to add to pretty much anything.
- A piece of fruit a day! For starters, even just an apple a day is better than nothing. You’ll soon find you want to eat more of the good stuff.
- Add ground cloves and cinnamon to porridge and warm cereals or puddings like rice pudding. They are incredible for our health!
- Sprinkle dried oregano onto pizzas and anything else you enjoy. Try to buy organic if you can when purchasing herbs and spices but again, non-organic herbs are better than no herbs.
- When you’re eating a meal think “what can I add to make it healthier?” For example, beans on toast; swap white bread for brown. Add a pinch of turmeric to beans. Throw in a couple of spinach leaves. Sprinkle on dried oregano. You’ve upped the nutritional content of an easy snack with virtually no effort!